Good on Paper: Sophie Harding

Good on Paper: Sophie Harding

Sophie Harding painting of two green pairs of a pink background

I must confess to having a thing about paintings of pears, especially those by Sophie Harding - I can rarely resist a new one. But the first Sophie Harding painting I really fell in love with was on Tresco, on the Isles of Scilly, a beautifully captured white beach and turquoise sea which, not surprisingly had a red sticker next to it, I was too late.

I'd admired Sophie's work before then but was a bit too awestruck by her creative poise to approach her as a potential gallery artist, so when she got in touch with me not long after my Tresco trip, I sped west to Penzance to meet her.  Since 2019 she's been a firm gallery favourite with her colourful and stylish mix of beach scenes, garden studies and elegant still lives (pears are not the only fruit!)

Sophie has used the opportunity of Good on Paper to do some experimenting, she tells us here how she got on.

artist Sophie Harding in her studio in front of a selection of her colourful still life paintings

Your work for this show is a mix of painting and collage, is that something you’ve done before?
I’ve worked with collage on and off for very many years. I tend to do it if I’m having a creative block as it’s a great way to free up and experiment and just see what happens. Plus I love cutting things up! 


Sophie Harding collage and acrylic painting of red and green apples on a red and white striped tablecloth

We’ve had several of your lovely monotypes in the gallery before which are on paper but how did creating these works differ? 

These ones were different to my monotypes as I had to think about the colour palette and I could play around with the placement of the subject which I can’t do with my monotypes as they are very immediate, once the mark is made it can’t be removed.

Picasso bird in white on pink and red by artist Sophie Harding

Were there some compositions that you felt were easier to capture in this technique compared to print or painting?

I used previous paintings as ideas for the collages as I wanted them to tie in with my work. So they were easier in a way as I already had a starting point. I really enjoyed painting A3 sheets of paper, which was very therapeutic and then cutting them up was such a joy

painting of white bowl on black background with red and green apples by artist Sophie Harding

Did you use different paints on this collection? 

I used acrylic for them all.

Did working on paper give you more freedom or did you feel it created any limitations?

In a way there’s less freedom with them, when I’m painting on canvas I layer colours up if they’re not working and often my paintings have multiple layers. With the collages once they’re stuck down that’s it. I wouldn’t keep working over them and making adjustments as that would detract from the freshness.

lemons on a stripy tablecloth by artist Sophie Harding

Would you use these techniques again?
Yes I would ! I absolutely loved creating them.
You normally frame your work on canvas or panel very beautifully, have you had any thoughts about how these works could be framed?

I would go for a simple black frame with a white mount like this below.

All Sophie's new work on paper with paint and collage are available from 17th November. 

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