Henrietta Stuart

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Henrietta StuartHenrietta Stuart

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Statement

Statement

I paint abstracts in oil on canvas, based on 'things seen': formerly still life, now mostly landscape, in which I aim to evoke time and place, using colour and light. I paint in thin layers, laying paint over paint to exploit its transparency, a technique of which Turner and Titian were both masters.

My formative influences included Georgio Morandi, Paul Cézanne, Georges Braque, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, and Clyfford Still. Morandi is remembered for pointing out that "There is nothing more abstract than the visible world". I in my own way set out to make abstract compositions out of things I have seen, and been moved by: "A world observed and translated - a world created from the natural and the man-made: 'still life' a still life both drawn and felt, as one would admire and caress a well-loved jug, or wonder at the light on the water of the Thames on a calm spring morning" - was how I put it myself some years ago, and it still holds true.

The process

My paintings have developed over the years from abstracts based on still life to compositions woven from images taken from the natural world. My inspiration as always is from places and images that I have seen. The compositions are worked up from extensive drawing, both of the landscape and of still life groups set up in the studio. The finished pieces range from almost totally abstract compositions evoking a sense of place to more easily recognisable landscape images: natural world modulated by time and season, disclosed by visual texture and colour.

Colour and light play the most important parts in my work. Colour is used to evoke emotion, and gives a sense of time and place; light is used to create space and to mask and hide objects, creating a sense of mystery.

Places

Usually there is a recognisable 'formative influence', thus: my work in 2002 and '03 was influenced by months spent in Southern India and Sri Lanka - Keralan coastal ports with their fishing villages and vibrant markets, light over the waters of the Arabian Sea and the inland waterways, the dry and barren inlands of Tamil Nadu and the hills and mountains of the Nilgaris and the Western Ghats. Over the same period I managed some time painting in Britain, in the South Downs near Seaford, and in the open chalk-down countryside around Winchester - yet more influences.

In 2003 I spent an extended period of time in the south of France. My french home in 2004 was in the raised circulade (village) of St Pons de Mauchiens in the Herault, dominated by its 'garrigues' - a landscape of limestone uplands, many surmounted by vineyards, planted in what looks like just shattered rock. We were also near the coast, and I have painted the littoral around the nearby port of Sète, and the enclosed waters of the Bassin de Thau-Bouzigues, with its mussel-beds and characteristic boats, the waters calm and reflective especially early in the morning. In 2005 I moved to a new studio in Neffies, where the surrounding countryside provided a new influence on the 2005 Autumn collection.

In 2007 & 2009, I travelled to the Greek island of Ithaca, in the Ionian Sea. I spent four months on the island walking, sketching and painting. It was on returning to France and being back in my studio that I started to see the influences coming through and enriching the compositions. Ithaca has shown unique Ionian softness and calm juxtaposed against the bustle of the ports with their fishing boats and flotillas, the panoramic views from the hilltop villages, or sea mists obscuring all but the occasional silhouette. The warmth, noise and whirl of the Panighiria festivals set against the quiet of the early morning seas seen over a carpet of spring colour.

In 2010 I visited Australia which again exposed me to new landscapes with rich reds yellows and blues.

I returned to the UK in 2011  and have spent some time finding a new studio. I have now moved into Wimbledon Art Studios, with my painting being inspired once again by the local landscape, but in a new light influenced by the last 8 years.

 

Biography

Born 1965 (London), schooled Orleans, Twickenham and Marlborough College
1984-88 University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1988-92 lived and worked in Marseilles, associating with French artists
1993 returned to London, setting up studio in Chiswick
1997 moved to Chertsey near the Artists Studios, where I painted, at last full time
2003 moved with my husband near to Beziers in the south of France.


Qualifications and awards

BA Hons (first class) in Fine Art, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1984 - John Christie Prize for Art
1988 - John Christie Prize for Painting
2001 - National Physical Laboratory painting competition, second prize.

Exhibition History

2012 NovemberOpen Studios Wimbledon Art Studios
2012 NovemberAffordable Art Fair Hampstead
2012 OctoberAffordable Art Fair Battersea
2012 JulyNot the Royall Academy Alexander
2012 JuneChelsea Art Society 65th Annual Exhibition
2012 MayOpen Studios Wimbledon Art Studios
2011 NovemberOPen Studios Wimbledon Art Studios
2011 OctoberAffordable Art Fair BAttersea with Nick Bowlby
2010 NovemberWindsor Art Fair
2010 OctoberAffordable Art Fair BAttersea with Nicholas Bowlby Gallery
August 2010Languedoc Light - Agence Galerie Clermont l"Herault
August 2009Parisot INternational Art Fair