LOUISE MILLAR WATT

Louise reached for pencils, paint, ink, carving knives, collage, plasticine, clay, very early in life. When the time came however, she chose to study languages and business, and not Art.

She reconnected with the discipline of drawing in her 30s, attending evening classes at the Cass department of Art at London Metropolitan University. Further evening classes followed when she took up a Visual Arts degree at Chelsea College of Art & Design.

Louise’s Grandfather, John Millar Watt (1895-1975) was her tutor until her twelfth year. She recalls fluid reincarnations of his famous comic strip character POP when teaching her to think about the importance, and most of all economy of Line. The family house was regularly endowed with cats and the flora and fauna that her aunt, Mary Millar Watt drew upon in her own artwork, including illustrating for Kew Gardens.

Louise spent her early years “literally shadowing” both her aunt and especially, her Grandfather in his active retirement as an illustrator; “To get me out of the way so that he might work, he would set me up with exercises in drawing and painting. He would wave a pencil at a piece of paper and make a gestural drawing appear to move before my eyes. He told me to simply “Look!” (before making a mark); I sensed even at six or eight years old that he was unequivocal in what he meant by that word and I suppose I’m still Looking in whatever I do."

From her history of representational painting and illustrating (and Life), Louise’s work is evolving in new directions. Her appreciation of gardens and plants has long been demonstrated in her artwork and of late, has spilled out in the form of designing outside spaces for people other than herself. The principles at bay here; ie her fascination with the collision of colour and form in Nature are as relevant to her strict botanical studies as the new abstract work that has begun to emerge.

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