With a unique eye for colour and distinct, expressive style, Camilla Perkins is an artist and illustrator reinventing landscape paintings. Using mainly oil pastels and oil paints, Camilla creates dreamlike garden paintings, filled with vibrant botanicals, women in beautiful printed dresses and playful brush strokes. Her surreal use of colour is completely inspiring to witness. Alongside creating solo pieces, Camilla has recently branched out into homeware, working alongside her husband Jack to create heirloom pieces to be treasured for life. We were lucky enough to spend a morning in her dreamy studio, surrounded by colour, joy and creativity.
I have always absolutely loved colour so putting interesting combinations together is something that comes quite instinctively to me. I love looking at textiles and mid-century illustrations for inspiration, I’m obviously drawn to anything bright and botanical! I also always start with my colour palette and then build everything up based around that rather than what I can see in real life, I like my landscapes to have a more surreal feeling.
I mainly either work with oil pastels on paper or oil paints for larger pieces, I really enjoy both but I particularly love the texture of the oil pastels I use; they’re like drawing with lipstick! I also like how as they’re all one size it forces you to be braver with mark making, creating a much looser and expressionist effect. I’ve been making a lot of large scale oil paintings recently in my studio which has been a fairly new process for me, working at this scale really feels as though you could walk right into the painting!
I really love painting gardens but I can’t always find one that has the perfect composition that I’m looking for, so I often go out and take loads of photos of elements that I like and then chop them up and put them into a collage of the dream garden to work from. My work also often features a figurative element., I have two daughters so I’ve found myself painting lots of sisters, mothers, and daughters. These are often based on my family and friends, I like them to feel quite romantic and whimsical.
To be honest I’m just proud whenever I manage to get all of my work done to the deadline I’ve been set, trying to work with two young children can be chaos at the best of times! This has probably been the year that I’ve made the work that I’m the most proud of. I particularly liked working on my biggest painting so far for a show with Amelia Maxwell Art Advisory. That really was a very special piece to me and I’m so glad that other people seemed to like it too!
People often think that me and Jack are absolutely mad to live with each other and also share a studio, but we actually work (mostly!) really well together! We mainly collaborate on our step stools which Jack designs and makes by hand for me to then paint with custom designs. I love the idea that they can be passed down as heirlooms in a family. Jack also does all of my framing, so I really enjoy the process of choosing custom colours to compliment my work and finding different kinds of interesting solid woods for tray frames to finish off my paintings perfectly.
I love clothes and am naturally attracted to pattern and colour so I wouldn’t exactly say that “chic” or “classic” were words that would describe my personal style! I’m drawn to anything with embroidery and beautiful textiles, I’m definitely more of a summery vibe so dresses and blouses are my go to!
How can I choose?! I can honestly say that I’ve worn the embroidered Goa dress every day since I got it. It's so pretty! I also love the Jaipur Daisy Abigail dress for the evening, the bow at the back is gorgeous!