at Markets, Galleries and Online, Gold Coast, 4224
Hi, my name is Fiona Watson and I am a printmaker. I have always been a creative person, even from a very young age, and my parents and family always supported this talent as I grew. I loved drawing, and big sets of Derwent pencils were a treasured gift. I studied visual art through secondary school and then University, graduating in 1991 as a Secondary Art Teacher, a career I love to this day. In 2010 I decided to start creating work to sell at local markets, and my arts practice has grown from there. I recently had a solo show at D’bar Gallery at Coolangatta where my prints have been sold for a number of years and I also sell online and at selected local markets. I am always finding inspiration in the area I live, and I could not imagine a day going by where I am not planning or making my next linocut. My preferred method of printmaking is a relief printmaking process called lino printing. It involves drawing a design onto a specially made surface then removing the areas I do not wish to print using small wood carving tools, leaving a raised area to receive the ink. I need to work with the image in reverse, and as I often include street signage in my work (I love little details like that!) I need to ensure the writing is reversed also. Depending on the size and complexity of my lino designs, some blocks can take over 20 hours just to cut. This carved block is then inked up using a soft rubber roller, then a print is taken by rubbing the back of the printing paper with a tool called a ‘baren’. An edition of around 20 prints can take 3 to 4 hours to print by hand, with all of my work being printed in my home (on the dining table!) by hand, by myself. I do not have a printing press. The aesthetic or style of my work is very much informed by the nostalgia of the older Gold Coast lifestyle and the holidays people enjoyed here. I document, preserve and reflect upon these older homes and holiday flats in my work and I find the classic architecture comforting. These fibro and blonde brick beach houses dot the Gold Coast in all their kitsch quirkiness and the retro nostalgia and memories attached to these often humble dwellings and holidays shacks are an integral layer in the storytelling of earlier times. My immediate neighbourhood on the southern Gold Coast still holds some hidden gems, though with the continuing development these are often dwarfed by new buildings. Viewing them I wonder who has stayed here over the years and what stories those walls could tell. The best moments are when I discover homes obviously still occupied by their original owners, complete with early model cars, Hills Hoists, patio furniture and concrete pots. Like a little time capsule, their fading beauty is still charming. My media of choice, linoprinting, evokes some of that ‘worn around the edges’ charm of those homes. Other artists I am inspired by include Reg Mombassa, Bruce Gould and Susan Schmidt. My regular customers and the main audience of my work are people with a love of nostalgia and retro architecture and those keen on preserving and celebrating the local history of the Gold Coast. People connect with my work as they remember their own holidays or family homes, and those memories are powerful. They purchase my work as a little piece of their own history to reminisce about. Reflecting on what I love most about what I do, it is the connections I make with people as I discuss my work and they tell me their own stories. In a literal sense I love the carving of the lino block the most….repetitive and like a meditation…I can get lost for hours! It’s my ‘happy place’.
"The Sentimentalist" is my range of artworks featuring scenes inspired by another time. Thanks for visiting!
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