Art and the Airwaves Artist and newsreader arlene fleming tells trish lee how her two passions often overlap

Arlene Fleming's working life is split between two studios - the art studio at the bottom of the garden and the voice studio at BBC R4 in London, where she is a newsreader and announcer.

Both are equally important to her and often overlap.

Arlene Fleming in the radio studio

Arlene has worked across the board in national television and radio stations and also in the arts as an art teacher in FE, secondary and primary schools in Hampshire. She has also held two artist’s residencies – Cheam School and BCoT. In the community, she was an art tutor for LifewithArt and Artspiration.

”I have a keen interest in mindfulness and meditation which feature frequently in my art," she explains. "I have spent this time in lockdown trying to be productive, working on my social media – creating art for sale on my website and on Etsy.”

Arlene says she feels very fortunate to do two things that she love. She is both a local artist – who exhibits in Open Studios in Kingsclere – and also a broadcaster working for BBC Radio 4 in London.

“My art is varied and inspired by my work and my home life.

“At home I’m influenced by the amazing countryside around me, on the long walks with my dog Dylan – the animals on the downs, the amazing kites and birds in the air.

“I also spend a lot of time in mindfulness and meditation. A good many of my pictures are based on these meditations, thoughts and imagery that appear in the stillness.

“I aim to bring a sense of calm, focus and awareness to my art.”

At work at BBC Radio 4 in London, Arlene can often be heard reading the news or The Shipping Forecast. It has a magical and lyrical quality that serves to protect the sailors and soothe the hearts of the listeners.

“My visual interpretation of how it feels to read this in the studio can be seen in my lino print called, appropriately enough, The Shipping Forecast (pastel version also).

“I love being able to communicate with others both through the airwaves and visually through my art, especially during the Covid-19 crisis where the radio has been a friend in the corner of the room for many.

“My heart goes out to the lonely people who have lost loved ones or been denied access to their loved ones in this crisis and I would like to extend what little comfort I can by offering a free signed postcard print of The Shipping Forecast (lino print) from my website."

The Shipping Forecast
Untitled work
Red kite in flight
Luna - Mystical moon