Josie Appleby is a talented young London-based artist. She was educated at Watford Grammar School for Girls, then attended the London branch of the prestigious private Italian school of fashion and design Instituto Marangoni, one of the most credible of its kind in Europe. After only her first year of a graduate
degree Josie was offered an internship at British luxury Fashion House, Alexander McQueen.
Her considerable flair for design is apparent in the paintings she now spends her days creating, recognisable as they are for their expressionistic style with a largely equestrian influence.
Her atmospheric compositions are created with bold use of paint, pouring and layering swooshes and swipes of colour, coupled with more precise strokes to hint at the details or movement within a piece. Her abstraction of her subjects serves to represent their sometimes indefinable qualities and fleeting moments in time.
Josie's latest limited edition prints Yearlings and Flying Blue are two such noteworthy examples, with their deeply textured dark blue-green backgrounds, punctuated with swathes of cornflower, white and russet tones alluding to the equine figures at the centre of her depictions.
She says of her subjects:
“Horses have not only inspired me but have taught me so many lessons that cross over into my art. The sensitivity, confidence, skill, patience and passion are all things that I have learnt from the horses and in turn are reflected into my art. Whilst studying for my equine sports science degree I had to dissect, draw
and learn about every part of these amazing animals. So when the emotional and scientific lessons I had learnt merged, horses naturally became effortless to paint. I also paint different subjects many of which I see in my everyday life whilst looking after the horses. Spending time at the stables and seeing a variety of different animals in their natural environment will always inspire me.”
Josie’s deep understanding and knowledge of the subject and her profound passion and flair for art and design is clear to see in her wonderfully atmospheric paintings, which are layered with beautiful sentimentality, and capture her adoration for the subject in a contrast of vulnerability and strength.
Growing up, she found solace in the care and company of horses, and in refining her craft creating portraits and commissions, which were greatly received by the equestrian community.
We first introduced Josie to the Collier & Dobson portfolio back in 2016 and she has since gone on to catch the eye of many an art collector and enthusiast, has been featured in several publications, including Hertfordshire Life magazine, and is widely sought-after for her limited edition prints, oil
paintings and commissions.
From her passionate portrayals of bounding hares in Run Free, contemplative compositions of deer in Curious Gaze, to her bright and blithe Finches in Cherry Blossom, beautifully painted in a combination of heavily textured paint strokes and delicate pastel colours, her fondness for flora and fauna shines through her work, and compels the observer.
However, it is not only the animal world which drives Josie to paint. In 2017 she was commissioned to paint an action piece of British professional boxer Anthony Joshua's competition with Klitschko in Wembley. The stunning oil painting was even signed by AJ himself and is now available to buy from Officially Signed, a company specialising in sourcing rare and collectable items and artwork. Her understanding of the biomechanics of movement in animals and vivacity of all living things was transposed onto this breakout subject: “When I painted Anthony Joshua I found similar elements I could portray in capturing his epic bout with Wladimir Klitschko.”
Of her artistic influence she cites the impressionist painters as her biggest influence, predominantly Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Van Gogh and the teachings of Harold speed. She says: “I am inspired by their original techniques and philosophies about expression. I try in my paintings to capture movement as they did with bold marks using thick paint to create different depths of texture with multiple layers. By keeping my colours as vibrant as possible like many of the impressionists I lay each colour as a separate shape next to each other or on top of each other. The merging of traditional art and contemporary art is a balance I dance between in every painting.”
Josie reflects that her creative journey has brought her closer to understanding the Gerhard Richter quote “art is the highest form of hope”. She says that her approach and philosophy has evolved over the years and that her art has been shaped by the experiences, people and animals in her life: “I paint for so
many reasons that are close to my heart. Like many artists before me, my life experiences have created the person I am, which undoubtedly has had a huge effect on my art. My style has changed and developed in order for me to express myself more freely. In moments of despair, love, frustration and happiness there is always lurking somewhere a glimpse of hope. This is what I try to convey into my paintings, something unexplainable that inspires your imagination. For me this is captured in moments of inspiration when your conscious and sub conscious work in perfect harmony. Art to me is a permanent reminder of hope.”
In 2020 Josie was overjoyed to welcome her firstborn to the world, and in true creative form, she painted the piece 'Finding Your Way' for her new family while she was still pregnant, stating “I wanted to make something for/with him”.
Head over to Josie's collection page on our website to browse and buy from her breathtaking collection of limited edition prints and original paintings.