From Experience to Art

A while ago (May 2015) I posted some of the watercolours that I made in Greece in spring this year. I’d intended to leave some ‘digesting’ time before I tried to work from the ideas that emerged from that trip. There was so much that it was quite overwhelming – which is probably why I’ve left it so long before getting focused.


This is the first painting I made, working from the small watercolours of this profile of the acropolis in Athens, but bringing in some of the imagery and ideas associated with it. I wanted to somehow refer to the turmoil and assaults that it so often suffered, but also to the theatre that flourished so long ago and has survived for us. I also wanted to include the haunting caryatids of the Erechtheum whose serene images still gaze over millions of visitors (OK, I know there’s one in the British Museum and the others there are copies now).

This began as a transparent watercolour (about 16 x 18 ins) with the caryatids drawn out in resist on a grey background before the gold sky was painted – I wanted them to float and seem timeless. The bright colours of the slopes come from theatre. The little red warriors climbing the hill are painted in acrylic and the visiting crowd of modern people is a relief print that I’ve used many times before to represent ourselves. I like this connection between new work and previous ideas. This painting is finished now, but I’m thinking about making a woodcut or etching to use as a monoprint plate to make a variable series.

I will be showing this painting as part of our Open Studios event on December 5/6th – see for details.


About vivmartin1

Viv is an artist and educator based on the south coast of England.
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