Updated: Aug 22, 2019
Four of our artists explain, in their own words, how the Watts Gallery - Artists' Village and its Surrey setting inspired them to make new prints for the Greenwich Printmakers at 40 exhibition.
Diana Croft – "Hills and Hollows"
My reduction linocut "Hills and Hollows" was made especially for the Watts Contemporary exhibition and is a stylised interpretation of the Surrey countryside around Compton.
It is a continuation of my work exploring the local environment and reacting to it with my own individual style – exaggerating the patterns in the landscape, both natural and man-made, and using colour as an expressive tool rather than in a totally realistic way.
Peter Luty - "Claws and Faces"
As an architectural printmaker and painter, I’m interested in the formal geometry of architectural elevations, in spaces, shapes and forms, in the textures of building materials, and the effects of light and colour. I’m also fascinated by how buildings change over their lifetime and in how they relate to their surroundings through reflection, shadow and pattern.
In the work "Claws and Faces", I’ve taken some of the Pre-Raphaelite details from the Watts Chapel to make small lino blocks which I have stamped repeatedly onto a semi-abstract watercolour landscape representing the countryside immediately surrounding the chapel. The repeating patterns of the faces and claws suggest the repeating terracotta panels covering the chapel while the subtle variations of colour seen on the façade of the chapel as a result of differences in firing and subsequent weathering are represented by the variations in colour of the stamps.
Elaine Marshall - "Gently Down the Stream"
My latest linocut is of a couple in a rowing boat – an imaginary, very English river scene inspired perhaps by the Surrey landscape. When I was making the linocut, the words of the nursery rhyme kept coming into my head – “Row row row your boat, gently down the stream" – so the title I’ve given the print is “Gently down the Stream”. I’ve printed the linocut with a 'split roll', where three shades of green-blue-green, yellow-green and ochre-green merge together.
Christina France – Terra Luna
The work I developed for the Watts Contemporary Gallery exhibition owes its provenance to both the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and the Watts Gallery’s Moonscape exhibition. The way in which artists were captivated by the painterly challenge of depicting nocturnal landscapes, and saw the moon as a symbol of nature's enormity resonated with me.
My own challenge is one of lyrical abstraction, my journey to the ‘firmament’ began with research into my father’s wartime pilot’s log book, exploring notions of repetition, sequence and chance within the narrative of D Day and the Liberation. Underlying imagery was from arial photographs of airfields unnoticeable at ground level. Moving forward from this I discovered the extent to which his short training was complex; the part that interested me most when looking at his Log Book was the physical nature of the skies, meteorology and the significant part conditions beyond the control of the sophisticated machinery played in the outcomes of many of the events recorded in the sparse, sometimes poetic lines written in his controlled, considered handwriting. This shifted slightly towards our planet and a series of work reflecting on its fragility. My work is non-scientific, hopefully poetic, possibly akin to a musical interpretation of something that can't be captured physically.
"Greenwich Printmakers at 40" is a celebration of Greenwich Printmakers' 40th anniversary and runs at Watts Contemporary Gallery in Compton, Surrey, until September 1. For more information, visit https://www.wattsgallery.org.uk/whats-on/greenwich-printmakers-40/.