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Quick-draw Lois to showcase her speed-painting skills to shoppers

20th January 2020

An Ipswich artist just might be the quickest draw in the east and she’ll be demonstrating her skill – and recording it on real-time video – at a busy shopping centre in the town this week.

Lois Cordelia specialises in speed painting, capturing a subject in double-quick time and she’ll be bringing her talents to Sailmakers Shopping Centre as part of the mall’s latest three-day craft fair which starts on Thursday (January 23).

The event is being staged by local group Home of Suffolk Arts and Crafts and Lois, 37, has now added a new tool to her quick draw skills, a Go-Pro camera strapped to her chest.

It captures not just the painting but also the artist’s interaction with her subject and the audience with Lois definitely not a fan of the alone in a garret style of working.

The addition of the Go-Pro, which she’ll be wearing at Sailmakers this week, is a new innovation after she was presented with it by partner Jason Curtis for Christmas and she said: “I do various forms of art from paper-cutting using a surgical scalpel to mixed-media sculpture and video as well as painting but I’m doing more and more speed-paining now and using the Go-Pro gives me a way to record the process.

“I started painting ‘live’ about ten years ago and enjoy working in public and like to engage with people and chat to them about what I’m doing – I find it very stimulating and I definitely don’t want them to be quiet just because I’m at work.

“I see myself as a community artist and feel like I’m giving something to people when they see me working there because it’s not something they often see ‘live’.”

Sailmakers Shopping Centre Manager Mike Sorhaindo said: “We’ve formed a really good relationship with the craft group and Lois certainly brings something new and exciting to our events at the Centre.

“She’s a very talented professional artist and it’s fascinating to see her at work and to be able to ask her questions about what she’s doing and maybe even be the subject of one of her quick-fire paintings as well.”

Lois’s artistic talents were apparent at an early age and she was producing recognisable portraits by the age of seven before developing her skills at Northgate High School in Ipswich where she was inspired by art teacher Dan Emery who told her: “Lois, you need to do something more sophisticated and use more colour.”

She actually studied Arabic at Edinburgh University, inspired by the beauty of the script, but has been a professional artist since graduating and has worked across East Anglia including on major works of public art like the Elmer Trail sculptures for Ipswich’s St Elizabeth Hospice.

Elsewhere her public art has been displayed from Edinburgh to Jersey and she has also worked part-time for 20 years as an assistant in the London studio of children’s author-illustrator Jan Pienkowski including contributing illustrations to his best-selling Meg and Mog books.

She joined HOSAAC recently and as well as taking part in their events she works with them as an administrator and has particularly enjoyed reaching out to the public at Sailmakers.

She said: “I love to share my art with them and they tell me anecdotes while I’m painting and I enjoy working from life at the shopping centre and am always keen to have volunteers sit for me there.

“It’s brilliant that Sailmakers can showcase the work of the members of HOSAAC. There’s brilliant camaraderie between us and the staff there and manager Mike Sorhaindo have been very supportive.

“The actual space we occupy is so lovely because it’s so well lit and I can display my paintings so that shoppers can see them as they go and down the escalators.”

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