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Behind the Brand with Sophie Harden

Meet artist Sophie Harden, a new and exclusive supplier to The Wedding Present Co. Below, Sophie shares her journey to becoming a professional artist, her inspirations and techniques and her favourite presents from her own wedding list with The Wedding Present Company.

My artistic journey started in 2016 when a move from corporate life turned me back to my school-found passion for painting. I started off cautiously, producing the odd commission for friends and family until demand snowballed and Sophie Harden Art became a fulltime commitment. Over time, is was clear that the appetite was for bespoke and unique gifts, and high on the list were wedding presents. Painting commissions for couples is such fun - when I paint I envisage where the final piece will be hung in the newlywed’s home, their reaction when they open it and the lifelong pleasure they will get out of it. There have been many entertaining requests for paintings, with subjects ranging from prized Devonshire cattle to portraits of loved one’s dogs/horses and even a marlin caught on one couple’s honeymoon!

Based on a stud in the heart Oxfordshire, the inspiration for my work comes from the subjects that I love and surround me. My contemporary style uses textures and colours to suit both modern and traditional interiors alike, and sit well in either a country cottage or a modern London flat. The fluid technique I use allows movement to flood the painting, from the explosive energy and grace of horses to the small details that capture a moment in time. I use a contrast of white oil on bright background colours to accentuate the adaptation of light, making the viewer perceive a 3D object from often just small marks and brushstrokes. Working primarily with a monotone palette my paintings tend to help with the common headache of– “will this work with my interior.” However, with only using one or sometimes two colours in my paintings it makes complimenting a room a hell of a lot easier.

I have designed a new collection of limited edition prints available to add to your lists at The Wedding Present Co. There are genres for the rural hearted, the exotic traveller and some brilliantly rustic vegetable prints that sit perfectly in any kitchen. One of most popular pieces is ‘Paradise’, a magical scene of intense pink flamingos sat upon Lake Nakuru, it is a true statement piece reaching 115cm width when framed and brings a flash of colour/Africa to a space. My prints are all giclée which is derived from the French verb gicler meaning “to squirt or spray”. Giclée, is a fine art digital printing process which marks every tiny brushstroke and details from the original, whilst using a pigment based of range of 8 different colours (rather than your standard four Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) makes for a true colour match. I keep to small limits of 50 prints so that your painting won’t be ubiquitous, all are numbered and hand-signed for proof of origination.

2018 is bringing with it exciting new ventures. Just to start with - in March a trip to Kenya to inspire a new African series of work and in April a solo show at The Osbourne Studio Gallery, Belgravia – so watch this space. Follow me if you want regular updates on my work, travels and progress online on via Instagram @sophiehardenart Facebook @sophiehardenart and twitter @sctharden and see my collection of prints available to add to your wedding list here. I hope to see some of my art grace many of your newlywed walls soon.

A fellow WPC bride herself, here are some of Sophie's favourite presents from her list. 

Sophie's Top 10 Presents from WPC