Ellen Watson is one of Cornwall’s leading seascape artists. She takes her inspiration from walks along the rugged Cornish coastline and from regular visits to the Isles of Scilly. Her atmospheric paintings are layered with subtle, earthy colours. She paints with oils, rubbing away and adding texture again and again, leaving parts, washing away others, building her scenes with beautiful tones. The finished work is rich and beguiling. Each viewing offers new insights and rewards.
“Every day usually starts with a walk, either to, near or next to the sea. The hound needs an outing and now I can’t work until I’ve had an airing. Inevitably any group of paintings I do will include a bit of sea, a suggestion of it, or a prelude to going out there.
“I’m tidying up, which means scrubbing bits of paint off the walls and carpet. I paint in a room at the back of our home, because of its small size I move the paintings, still wet, around the house, different walls, different light, so I can live with them.
“It’s tricky at this stage. Is the painting of any interest, which part needs to go? What works? We sprinkle our own perceptions onto whatever we look at or think about, or so I’ve read. That’s quite a challenge, all those personal takes. It’s why I’m keen to hear what others think. For most of my painting time I’m putting in disciplined attention spliced with wafty fancying… areas are rubbed, splodged, scrapped off, stirred, sanded away, dribbled and plastered. The end moment is not set in stone and neither is the seeing…” – Ellen Watson, September 2021
Ellen Watson graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art in 1992. She lives and works in Cornwall.