My Personal History - Stella Hidden
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Stella Hidden, artist, sketch of cello
An early sketch I did whilst studying

Stella Hidden, artist, plein air sketch
An early Plein Air (open air) sketch

Stella Hidden's 3D work
Some of my 3D work.

I was born in the London Borough of Harrow in England and, though not very academic (much later discovering that I am dyslexic), I was always content as long as I had a pencil in my hand and was drawing. The 1950s were a time of removing boundaries in education, and students were sent to schools specialising in their areas of talent. I was lucky enough to be sent to a school in Pinner specialising in art, music and sport. The training included ‘art appreciation’ visits most weeks to the National Gallery, Tate Britain, the V&A and Kenwood House, as well as a week away at Flatford Mill where we actually stayed in Willy Lott’s Cottage.

Music and dance have always inspired me; I play the clarinet and piano and have danced all my life. I usually listen to music whilst painting ... or the sounds of silence, animals and birds around my studio.

After ‘O’ Levels, I was accepted into Harrow Art School, but as I had two younger brothers who needed educating, I had to leave school and work instead. I went into a Technical Drawing Office and worked on detailed engineering drawings for British Rail. My drawing became very accurate and very tight, and I mention this because it was a very important part of what I do now (although this is not necessarily obvious to everyone). Whilst outwardly completely different from my current art, this training gave me a very good foundation – detail, perspective and working out angles.

I have always drawn and painted, but it was not until after having a family and seeing them off to University and College, that I was finally able to start studying art myself. At Hereford College of Art I studied ‘Fine Art, Textiles and Art History’. These comprehensive courses gave me a fantastic grounding in techniques, and opened my eyes to many and varied schools of art. I was in my element and loved the challenges of studying every aspect of painting, drawing and image-making. This was where I had my first introduction to acrylic paints, which opened up a whole new world to me.

I also took a very detailed Open University course in the History of Art from 1860-1960 to discover why some artists and movements became important and were successful. I studied the connection between music and painting, and how Klee and Kandinsky in particular used that connection in different ways and in a quite methodical manner.

When I finished college, I was faced (as we all are) with the challenge of finding my own personal voice, and experimented with 2D, 3D and relief work, using different materials and techniques.

Initially, I was particularly fascinated by 3D (three-dimensional) work and reliefs, and my main tutor at college discovered that I actually think in 3D. I enjoyed building sculptures and marquettes out of many materials, but it was not always practical when working in a very limited home environment. When it became necessary to learn welding in order to progress, I decided a change of direction was required!

I decided to focus on 2D (two-dimensional) work using acrylics on bare (untreated) birch boards, which have a lovely texture and a grain that shows through to the finished painting. I want to bring the feel of 3D into my work, and use layers and textures to create this effect, and obtain the richness of colour that eventually becomes the finished painting.

There has been a long personal transition between depicting representational elements of landscape and the human figure, to employing pure abstraction where movement of suspended colour is of prime importance.

Around 2000 my life went through a number of changes which have allowed me the time and space to work as a painter. I retired from my old job, and I now have a studio, as opposed to a bit of spare table or the corner of a room. I am loving every minute of it, as it gives me great satisfaction and joy to produce the paintings that I have always wanted to paint, and these are often influenced and inspired by the music and dance that are still an important part of my life.

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To find more, go to:
My Statement of Aims
My Influences

Stella Hidden loves to dance - jive
I love to dance!

Stella Hidden's early work
A painting from 2004, showing the progression of my work

All images are copyright © Stella Hidden