Who is Monique Oliver?
I am a self-taught professional artist and qualified/experienced educator based in the Forest of Dean.
What do you do?
I discovered paint pouring 5 years ago after several years of ill-health.
All of my work is poured directly onto canvas from cups, jugs and bowls and I rarely use a brush except for my signature – which is usually on the reverse of all my pieces.
Today, paint pouring is extremely popular, but back when I started 5 years ago hardly anyone knew what it was and to my knowledge I was one of the first people in the UK to adopt the techniques.
There were no Youtube videos or Facebook groups at the time so I had no option but to spend countless hours in the studio researching and experimenting.
Fast forward to 2020 and things are very different. I have a loyal following and have recently started up my own Facebook paint pouring group to help other people who are interested in learning the techniques I use. During my last farOpen studio event I welcomed 240 visitors through the doors of my Drybrook studio and made record sales.
My days are hugely varied as I divide my time between my own practise, running private painting classes and coaching other artists and makers around promoting themselves and selling their own work. I’m often working late into the evenings and weekends. I don’t get a lot of time off – but I LOVE what I do, so it rarely feels like “work”. I’ve even grown to like the admin side of things because I can be dealing with enquiries to teach overseas workshops or talking to interior designers in Marbella about pieces for their showrooms which adds some spice to my inbox!
Why fluid art?
Besides health concerns, I was particularly attracted to paint pouring because of the spontaneity of the techniques. While I can plan the overall look of any particular piece I also have to react quickly to what the paint is doing on the canvas.
I’m obsessed with paint behaviour and this style of working really keeps me on my toes! My latest work is heavily influenced by Santiago Ramon y Cajal. Generally regarded as the father of modern day neuro-science he was also an artist and his drawings of the central nervous system are truly awe-inspiring.
The blooms I’m presently pouring, I feel, beautifully convey the relationship between our physical, emotional and spiritual bodies as an holistic whole. There’s been an overwhelming response to the work, both on social media and in terms of sales.
I believe people instinctively respond to colour and pattern, my work is all about that and clients tell me they are the factors they most resonate with.
Why collaborate with Float in the Forest?
My biggest challenge is always time. I don’t get to pour anywhere near as much as I’d like and when I do I’m regularly product testing and taking photos and notes around the results.
Sometimes it’s difficult to “get in the zone” when I’m juggling a lot of different tasks. “Floating” helps me with that. As a creative person, I often have difficulty “switching off” – but I never seem to have problems with that when I’m at “Float” because it’s an incredible oasis of calm and relaxation.
I’ve had work on display at “Float in the Forest” since Will and Shari opened the centre. We all felt my work complemented the surroundings beautifully and I try to get there myself for a float and “me” time as often as I can.