Let the colours work their own magic

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Brian Viner meets an artist who uses tissue and paint to make us see buildings with fresh eyes

Juli-Anne Coward grew up in one of the loveliest parts of Britain, in the village of Staveley between Kendal and Windermere, an area which for centuries has inspired artists to commit hills and lakes, sheep and trees, to canvas. So what did Coward, now aged 42, do with such an abundance of glorious countryside? She started painting buildings.

A shimmering tarn or dingly dell is not her cup of tea at all, not when there’s a house or church or even a factory to paint, and her distinctively bold style is rapidly acquiring a wide following.

She dates her passion for the perpendicular back to a homework project at the age of seven. Eschewing all the natural beauty of the Lake District, she chose to paint the rooftops visible from her parents’ bedroom window. "It was the lines that attracted me," she says now, and lines have been attracting her ever since, although her paintings owe as much to the imagination as to photographic precision. Her trademark, apart from her subject matter, is her dramatic use of colour. A building that appears overwhelmingly brown to the rest of us, is in Coward’s eyes full of reds, blues, pinks, purples. Her skies are never blue, or grey, but kaleidoscopic, to striking effect. "I let the colours bleed into one another," she explains. "I let them work their own magic."

2Last year, her painting of Bristol Cathedral was used to illustrate the cathedral’s official Christmas card, and new commissions fill her diary. Is there any kind of building that she refuses to paint, either because she cannot or will not? "I haven't yet been asked to do a nuclear power station," she says. "And if I were I’d probably say no."

She lives now in Herefordshire, another county full of natural beauty, yet in artistic terms she only has eyes for the man-made. Even when she starts out trying to paint something else, the lines tend to lead her back to her first love. "I recently tried to paint some antique furniture," she says, "but it ended up as a medieval Spanish tenement."

Juli-Anne Coward can be contacted on juli-annecoward@sky.com. Commissions start from around £300

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower