Carmen, have you always wanted to be an artist?

Definitely. I remember myself drawing since an early age, before I started writing and reading.

You specialise in figurative and nude paintings, has this always been your style of choice and if so why?

I am interested in people and I like their company and to observe them.

During my art education in school and Fine Art Academy, my favourite subject was always Figurative:  Life Drawing from life models, Compositions with groups of people, Portraits and Self-Portraits. The human body with its beauty and complexity has always been a challenge to me. I try to create expressive, sensual and powerful nude postures. “Lovers” is an emotional collection of couple in love connected through powerful feelings of love and passion. “Portrait” collection is a series of face features and emotions.

My style of work is energetic and spontaneous and could be more or less simplified, depending on how I feel about the subject. I like to create texture and movement using different media and techniques. Usually, I alternate the media and the subject creating a series at the time.


Carmen Tyrrell's studio
Carmen Tyrrell’s studio

How would you describe your creative process?

 My creative process starts of course with the idea or inspiration along with a tremendous excitement and impatience.

When I enter my studio, I review the sketches or the visual references I might use and I prepare the surface I choose for my drawing or painting.  I draw mainly using charcoal and I paint with acrylics. I like to work on large surfaces fixed on my easel.  After the surface is ready for work, I draw a cross-section over it and I organize my subject free hand following the reference image. I work quickly and loosely, creating movement and texture, I step back and forth in front of the easel checking the proportions.  If during the process of work unexpected accidents happen, like paint smudges or so, I take it as a challenge and opportunities for changes.  I never know how my finished product is going to look like. This is the joy of the creative process.

I mainly use one day only to finish an artwork I reserve a few days after for checking.  My aim is to show my art fresh and spontaneous and not too tired and overworked.


 Where do you seek inspiration?

 For many years now I have been working mainly from my imagination only occasionally I use supportive material which I may need for certain subjects. Sometimes, I am inspired by some images which I happen to see and I record them in my mind or on spare pieces of paper. I am interested in contemporary art and artists and I look for online galleries and I visit street art galleries whenever is possible.


Carmen Tyrrell, "Night of Passion" series
Carmen Tyrrell, “Night of Passion” series

What does a typical day look like for you?

 I get into my studio daily, regardless if I work or not. Simply being there makes me feel good.  Sometimes I just tidy up or check on my artworks. When I work, I review the subject, I prepare the chosen surface for my work and the materials I need, I pick up and play the music which inspires me, then I start. I work fast and “a la prima” meaning that I would like to finish in one day if the surface is not very large.

After about 5-6 hours, I get out of my studio. I am ten returning later or the day after so I can see better if I need to make any changes.


Which artists, living or deceased most inspire/influence your work?

I am not aware of any particular artist that has inspired me. All I know is that I was always interested in visual art and loved to visit art museums and galleries. I used to study books about famous artists and the History of Art and I used to make sketches after their artworks, such as Altdorfer, Durer, Rembrandt, Gauguin, Picasso and many others.

The artists I greatly admire are Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Picasso, Egon Schiele,

Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Kathe Kollowitz and Paula Rego.


Do you like to listen to music when you create, if so what sort of music do you listen to?

 I like listening to music, usually music that goes well with my subjects like passionate Flamenco or jazz.


Art2Arts Artist Carmen Tyrrell
Art2Arts Artist Carmen Tyrrell

If you had one piece of advice for someone seeking a career in art what would it be?

Be honest, passionate, confident and persistent. Believe in you and do not give up. Keep going, success does not come easy.


If you had a dinner party and could invite 3 guests, living or deceased who would they be and why?

I have many artist friends, some of them living far away from me. Would be great to have a party and conversation about our favourite artists.


 What does the future look like for you?

Sometimes, I would like to know what future brings, but not knowing could be also exciting. Who knows, I might be a famous artist one day (just joking 😊). I am hooked on MY ART and this keeps me going, because I cannot live without it.

View Carmen’s full gallery.