We are fortunate to have Louise MacIntosh-Watson as one of our artists in the window this month of May, if you are visiting us this Derbyshire Open Arts weekend you will be able to see her colourful work alongside Susan Hill and don't forget we have our guest artist Louise Rawlings wonderful paintings on display inside the gallery.
Artists taking part in Derbyshire Open Arts are:
Mandy jayne Alhfors
To find out more about our artists read the three previous blogs, meanwhile we asked Louise what inspires her to produce such fantastic vibrant work:
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Louise MacIntosh-Watson and I am fortunate and privileged to be a full time artist. I use the batik technique of layering hot wax and coloured dyes on paper or fabric to create vibrant, eye-catching pieces. I also love to paint with bold flat colour, usually acrylic on canvas.
What’s your background?
I was born in Liverpool in the 1970s. I have lived in a variety of areas since then, including Middlesbrough and Wakefield, before settling in Derby ten years ago. Following my Interior Architecture degree I spent 17 years as a high school art teacher. There were aspects of teaching that I loved but I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated in wanting to develop my own artwork and not having the time to do it. I was known around school as ‘Miss Mac’ and decided to use this name when I officially started my company ‘missmacdesigns’ in 2012.
What inspires you?
Having worked with the national curriculum for so many years I got into an excellent habit of researching a wide variety of artists, both traditional and contemporary, to create inspirational starting points for my students. As a working artist this practice is invaluable. I am constantly inspired by the art around me and the wealth of emerging artists to be found online. I am currently developing a body of work inspired by one of my all-time favourite artists Niki de Saint Phalle and a more recent discovery, Brazilian pop artist Romero Britto. Both of these artists have a dynamic relationship with colour and have not been afraid to use heavy black outlines to unite the colours.
How do you work?
I primarily work in batik. This is a traditional Indonesian technique of adding decorative images to cloth using wax and natural dyes. I use the technique in a more contemporary way by layering wax and colourful inks on to paper as well as fabric. The wax works as a resist to the inks, creating a barrier against further colour. I use brushes or specialist tools known as tjantings to apply the wax. It can be a tricky technique to work with but once you have mastered the process, it is hugely addictive.
While batik is a thriving industry in its homeland, it is dying out in the UK with less and less people taking up this amazingly addictive art form. Parallel to exhibiting my batiks, I have recently begun to offer workshops to hopefully ignite this flame in others.
I also love to paint. I paint with a fairly graphic style using bold, strong flat colours with sharp, neat outlines. My recent series of paintings focusses on fantasy gardens with big red and white polka dot lollipop toadstools, giant daisies and simple circular flowers. I add to the fantasy feeling with highlights of sparkly glitter textured paints which catch the light beautifully.
What themes do you pursue?
Being only two years in to my new career, my style is still developing and the content of my artwork
tends to flit around a bit. I am drawn to the simplicity of heart and flower shapes but also like to
experiment with abstract mark making. The theme that is always constant is colour. The most
consistent remark from customers and gallery owners is that my work is very bright and cheerful. I
have been interested in Johannes Itten and his colour theories for over 20 years. The relationships
between colours and how they can look different according to the spatial ratio and placement next
to other colours is mind boggling – sorry, my colour geekiness is threatening to take over!
What do you dislike about the art world?
There is so much to love about my new found place within the art world – the sheer liberation of
painting all day long, and bringing genuine joy to people when you deliver a commission, when you
have realised their vision in your own unique style, being just two of them.
The thing I hate most about the art world would have to be the evolving definition and
interpretation of art itself. If I go to an art exhibition I want to learn from it, to be awestruck by the
skill level on show or the quirky, clever idea realised with great technical ability. Instead, I frequently
find myself dumbstruck by a pile of clothes folded in a corner of a room (Tate Liverpool) or a
darkened room lined with black fur (Goldsmiths Degree Show). I don’t appreciate having my time
wasted by such novelty art, a talking point maybe, but a learning point, never.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My long term goal is to become a world renowned Batik artist! (No point in dreaming small now is
there?!) I am a member of the Batik Guild – an organisation which promotes and celebrates the
work of batik artists in the UK and across the globe. I am currently producing large scale batiks on
fabric for an exhibition with them later in the year. Following this exhibition I will be pursuing further
gallery representation here and overseas.