We are so pleased to introduce you to the lovely Tracey Johnston of Claremont Studio as August’s MMSMP Featured Artisan!
Claremont Studio is an independent contemporary fine art and design studio in Aberdeen, Scotland. From this location, Tracey offers art workshops and provides interior design advice, exhibition curation and bespoke art and collectables sourcing. She also retails Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint Products from her studio and online shop. If you’re local to Aberdeen, you can join her for MMSMP certified workshops for complete beginners to the accomplished artist and bespoke professional furniture painting. Tracy also teaches adult and children’s art classes, mentors artists and takes part in local events with her pop-up shop.
Needless to say, she is one busy woman!
Tracey’s career in art began when she attended the Gray’s School of Art at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. She studied Fine Art and specialized in printmaking and painting. Over the years as she continued to paint and exhibit her work, she also taught art to adults and children and worked as an archaeological illustrator.
Tracey’s interest in interiors really started when she was an art student and moved into a student flat where most of the furniture came from second hand shops and was upcycled and given a new life. We think many of you can attest to this avenue as well! Tracey loves to collect and paint furniture and over the years, she has developed a calm, eclectic style to fit her personality and lifestyle.
Tracey feels that homes should be filled with the things you love and her family has collected interesting artifacts, antiques and art from the places they have been lucky enough to visit. Tracey opened her own art gallery in 2010 and very much enjoyed five successful years of trading. When her children came along, it was time to move on to new adventures, focus on family time and re-connect with her own art work.
We asked Tracey what her favorite MMSMP colors are and she said she really loves them all! In the northern hemisphere she has a particular light and she feels the MMS Milk Paint range of colors really compliment that. They hit the spot and simply “feel right”. At the moment she’s very drawn to the soft cool colors like Grain Sack, Mora and Eulalie’s Sky but she absolutely adores Arabesque. In fact, she just finished a small side table using Eulalie’s Sky and painted an old wardrobe in Arabesque.
What first drew our eye to Claremont Studio was a painting of two swallows that was captioned, “Follow Me Home”.
We were curious about the process Tracey went through to create this particular piece of art, and she was happy to share! “Follow Me Home” is an illustration on paper. It was prepared by painting MMS Milk Paint directly on paper. Once the MMSMP dried, Tracey gave it a light sand. Then, she applied a wash of Japanese watercolor and added the pen and ink drawing on top.
This piece was part of a larger project. Tracey was awarded a Seventeen Commission by Aberdeen City Council to produce large scale illustrations exploring cultural aspects unique and particular to her home town of Aberdeen and develop these images through the design process to produce textile pieces – silk and chiffon scarves.
Part of the exhibition of this work was to show the design process from the first drawings to the finished piece and also to interact with members of the public to share their cultural reminiscences of the city. Tracey asked the public a series of questions including, “Why Aberdeen? What Makes You Stay? What Makes You Leave? What Makes You Come Home?”
All of the answers were posted on a Memory Wall. The illustrations Tracey made from these responses were inspired by family connections to the sea and were her attempt at creating a more lyrical, poetic and romantic view of the city. Her illustrations referenced maritime navigation, the stars, the sky, watching the weather and the idea of going and returning and ‘finding’ your way home.
Swallows mate for life and meet at the same nest each year, returning. They represent love, care and affection towards family and friends, showing the loyalty of the person always returning to them. The bird also represents freedom and hope. It is also said that if a sailor drowns, the swallows will carry their soul to heaven.
Source: Claremont Studio Instagram
We asked Tracey if she had any advice to offer our readers regarding decorating and curating a space they love. Here’s what she wrote:
“As William Morris once said, ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ I’m a firm believer [in this saying] so pack up everything else, de-clutter, give away/or sell and only be surrounded by the things you really love. My second piece of advice is to make the best use of the space you have. Think carefully about what its used for, what mood are you trying to create? If you’re not sure [where to begin], start looking for inspiration, create a board on Pinterest and start pinning away images of interiors/colors/furniture/furnishings you like.
“I also strongly believe that before deciding on interior colors it’s very important that you live with that color and really see how it works at every time of day. I often have about a dozen color swatches on the walls of rooms I’m about to decorate so that I can really see what it will look like at different times of day before I decide. This really goes for painting furniture too. I always tell my students to paint a small piece of skirting board with the MMS Milk Paint color they are thinking of using on their piece of furniture and place it in the room the furniture is going into. You will be amazed how different color looks according to what is around it.”
Miss Mustard Seed wrote a book titled “The Home Design Doodle Book” that may help you with this process.
Miss Mustard Seed designed this book to be a place to journal, dream, doodle, and plan. It’s a notebook to store ideas, lists, and goals. More importantly, it’s a conversation between you and Miss Mustard Seed to help you organize your thoughts and hopes for your home.
But enough about the Doodle Book! Let’s get back to Tracey and Claremont Studio! Tracey decided to carry Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in her community of Aberdeen because she’s been painting furniture for a very long time and probably worked with every type of paint on the market, but was never really happy. She was looking for a paint range to retail from her gallery that would complement her artwork and painted furniture.
She tested the MMS Milk Paint range and knew that she had found what she was looking for. As an artist, Tracey is interested in natural pigment and the MMS Milk Paint ticked a lot of boxes for her. It’s natural, contains no “nasties”, has a wonderful choice of authentic colors, goes on smoothly and is easy to use. Tracey loves the ceremony of mixing the paint and the fact you can mix a small or large amount depending on the size of your project.
Tracey also loves the versatility of MMS Milk Paint. It can be used to stain natural wood, create a contemporary smooth and sleek look or re-create an authentic crackled ‘chippy’ look to make you believe that the furniture has history. She loves the choice of finishes too! Antiquing, white-washing or clear wax can be used and the accompanying products are lovely and creamy. A little goes a long way. All in all, she’s a huge fan and really thinks that MMSMP is the only paint on the market that can do everything she mentioned above. Tracey has used the word ‘authentic’ a lot but she truly feels Milk Paint really is authentic!
If you want to learn more about Tracey’s artwork and Claremont Studio, you can follow her on social media and shop her online store via the links below:
- Tweet Tracey @ClaremontG
- Like Tracey on Facebook/ClaremontG
- See her on Instagram/claremontstudio
- Follow her on Pinterest/claremontstudio
- Email [email protected]
- Website/Blog www.claremont-interiors.com
- Shop www.claremontstudio.bigcartel.com
You can also see Tracey’s work in person at any of these upcoming events if you’re in the Aberdeen area!
- Tracey’s paintings can be seen at The Royal Scottish Academy, The Mound, Edinburgh, Scotland at the RSA Open Exhibition of Art 2017 from July 22 – October 1. Opening Times: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 12pm – 5pm. RSA Lower Galleries. Free Entry.
- ‘Botanica’ Pop-up Shop, 8 Chattan Place, Aberdeen, Scotland. 3 – 14 August 2017. A collection of Tracey’s Illustrations, Prints, Handmade Books, Scented Candles and Bath Products will be for sale.
- Art & Apothecary – A Collection of Tracey’s Paintings and Scented Candles will be stocked and for sale from August at Hammerton Store, 336 Great Western Road, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB10 6LX Tel 01224 324449 [email protected] Opening Times, Mon to Fri 8am – 6pm, Sat 8.30am – 5pm, Sun Closed.