Beth Rodway

ELEANOR 
WATSON

'Between Six and Seven' a new series of Watercolour Monotypes works launching  April 2021

30% of sales will be donated to Eleanor's nominated charity, The Brain Tumour Charity

New works on paper launching  March 2021

30% of sales will be donated to Beth's nominated charity, Cancer Research

Wilder Gallery is pleased to introduce a new feature to our online exhibition programme. Each fortnight we focus on an individual artist and release a curated selection of new works directly from the artist's studio. Our new feature will run concurrently with and compliment our physical exhibition program, providing collectors with further insight into the artist's practice and giving first access to exciting new exclusive works. For the second instalment of our Artist Focus we bring you new works by the talented Eleanor Watson, with 30% of sales will be donated to Eleanor's nominated charity, The Brain Tumour Charity.

‘Between Six and Seven’ is a series of new watercolour monotypes.  The watercolour monotypes are created by a process by which the artist cover a surface of plastic or metal with washes, wipes and daubs of watercolour and allow it them to dry. As the plate passes through the press the dampened paper lifts the pigment and creates the print. There is a very special kind of luminosity as the paper shines through the layers of pigment.  Taking its title from a passage in ‘Mrs Dalloway’, Eleanor's new works evoke the atmosphere and evocation of colours becoming luminous in twilight:

“and it was the moment between six and seven when every flower - roses, carnations, irises, lilac - glows; white, violet, red, deep orange; every flower seems to burn by itself, softly purely in the misty beds; and how she loved the grey-white moths spinning in and out, over the cherry pie, over the evening primroses!”

Details from Blue and Pearl IV, Blue and Pearl III and Blue and Pearl I

On Eleanor choosing the Brain Tumour Society:

"Sadly, the Brain Tumour Charity is a cause very close to my heart. Brain tumours have impacted directly two people I love very much as well as other friends and loved ones of friends. In fact they affect most people I know in some way. I have chosen this particular charity because of the incredible work of my close friend Harriet Downing and her family, who have been fundraising with incredible energy since her diagnosis at the age of 27. It is a massively underfunded area of medical research. Survival rates are just 11% and treatments haven't changed much in 40 years. Which means living with a brain tumour is painful and scary as there just isn’t nearly enough reliable information. The Brain Tumour Charity aims to double survival by 2025 and halve the harm brain tumours have on life."

You can read more about Harriet and her incredible family on her fundraising page ‘The Harriet Downing Fund’.

WG: Please describe for us your process? 

EW:I work across three of four plates at once. Stopping to allow passages of watercolour to dry before returning to them. I am looking to find a more intuitive push and pull between mark-making and colour, figuration and abstraction and all the spaces between. I have found that monoprinting helps me to dwell in the process of painting more. I wait for a feeling of impatience to print the plate.

 

There is a very tender feeling of anticipation as I prepare the print bed, registering the plate, blotting the paper, sandwiching it with tissue paper, and laying the blankets. Working the press also adds a moment of relatively high energy just before the reveal. It’s intimate, like making visible a daydream. The most successful prints are always the most surprising - especially as the

images are becoming more abstract; the forms dissolving between colour and gesture. I find it entirely absorbing.

WG: How has the last year been for you living and working within the context of the

Pandemic. How has this affected or influenced your practice if at all?

EW: I feel incredibly fortunate in lots of ways in light of the past year. Firstly, I have not been directly impacted by the loss of any loved ones. It has also been time of positive change - I have moved with my brilliant partner to one of the most beautiful

situations I could imagine: a cottage at the end of a track on a farm. Which was only made possible by working remotely. With regards to my work - with the inevitable feelings of isolation and retrospection my work has also become much more introspective. Less about an awareness of being looked at, and more about looking within. I have been working with new processes and materials to find a more intuitive practice.

WG: Can you please tell us about your new works? 

EW:During the many lockdowns I had been thinking a lot about my compulsion to dress a table, to be surrounded by beautiful things, to hold trinkets and objects in my mind. I find solace and space to daydream in these images and even more so in making the prints. I began this series by looking at the surface of decorative things and finding ways to describe that experience. But as they have developed they have become much more about an internalised domesticity. I think they deal with desire and longing in a way that I haven’t been as aware of before. I think this is tied to making monoprints: a process of delayed gratification. Furthermore, the mirrored image seems to also reflect something of the unconscious self. Making somehow visible what we cannot see.

WG: What is your studio like? What do you listen to when you work? Do you work on one piece at a time, simultaneously on a few works or are you working towards a body of work at a given time?

 

EW: I created this body of work at Slaughterhaus Print Studio: an artist-led print space in a beautiful sun trap of a mews called Vincent’s Yard in Stockwell. It’s a completely enchanted place to make work. The studio itself is a sheltered space with a slightly ramshackle feel. There is a special intensity to a working day there: it feels as though the accumulative time spent quietly printmaking is stored in the fabric of the space. Similar to that of reading in a library. My day starts with a calming list of reassuring tasks: tearing down paper, wetting it with an old sea sponge and then wrapping it in plastic before weighting it. I test the pressure of the press. Prepare the blotting paper. Make a cup of tea. Tune in. I tend to listen to radio 4 interspersed with audiobooks, podcasts, and radio 6 towards the evening. I can be barely listening, and can’t recall much of what I have heard, but somehow it keeps me in a space of concentration.

Eleanor Watson is a visual artist working primarily in paint and print. Her most recent works frame moments of light; passing across objects within the home or captured in photographs of landscape. Melancholic images are washed in colour and come in and out of focus; creating quiet moments in which to contemplate memory, and longing in image-making. Eleanor recently received an MA from City and Guilds of London Art School (2019). Previously completing The Drawing Year at The Royal Drawing School (2016) and receiving a BA at Wimbledon College of Art (2012). She was winner of the prestigious Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award 2017, the ACS CIty and Guilds Studio Prize and the Slaughterhaus Print Prize 2019. Eleanor lives and works in South East London.

 

Eleanor's work is included in the University of the Arts London, Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award and Dumfries House Collections.

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