Jennifer Waterhouse

Jennifer Waterhouse was born in Ripon, Yorkshire, and studied painting at Leeds College of Art and at the Royal College of Art, London.

She has taught painting at Rochdale College of Art and Sir John Cass College, London, and has exhibited in London, Málaga, Estepona, Sotogrande and Gibraltar.

She has lived in Spain for over twenty years, first in Madrid, then in Málaga, and now in Gaucín.

Her work is inspired by the countryside around Gaucín.

“The question I am most often asked about my painting is “Why don’t you use photographs?” Many Artists do use photographs in a variety of ways and in fact al fresco landscape painting is now considered to be an early 20th century throwback, a method of work not used by any serious artist since Van Gogh. It would be more convenient to paint in the studio, no risk of the wind blowing the easel over, mosquitoes biting, sudden showers and other hazards of painting outside, but photos don’t inspire me, so I always start on the spot then later work in the studio.

A photograph freezes a moment in time, whereas looking at a landscape or person one is faced with a moving target. The light and angle of the sun are constantly changing, causing variations in colour and tone, the wind moves the trees and the clouds, and in the case of a person, their posture and expression change. To me, a live, animated object is more stimulating and challenging.

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I have done a number of paintings and drawings of a goatherd and his goats which graze the area around my finca and for me, they are ideal models. None of them keep still to pose, least of all the goatherd, who talks and who looks around to see where the goats have got to. On occasions, I have done a drawing of him in several different places, because the goats were frisky and kept moving, so I had to pick up my sketchbook and continue again wherever they stopped. Working in this way, it is impossible to measure the face with any accuracy, one is forced to base the drawing on a global impression of the proportions, character and expression of the person.

One of my main interests in painting is the study of movement and rhythm in natural forms, whether they be plants, trees, rocks or clouds. Each one has its own characteristic structure or way of growing. Last year a visitor to my studio was looking at one of my paintings of dried grasses and flowers at the end of the spring. He remarked: “It looks like dance”, which pleased me greatly, because that was exactly how I saw it.

I am also interested in the effects of light, whether it is the luminosity of the evening sky, or light falling through vine leaves onto a patio. I see light as a unifying force and am also fascinated by the changes it can effect on forms, dissolving them, or throwing them into sharp relief. Anyone with experience of painting outside knows how light effects can totally change the landscape.

Finally, I think that feeling is important in painting. If I am painting a person, I want the painting to say something about how that person feels, or possibly how I feel about them. The same can be true of places, particularly intimate spaces such as rooms or patios. Each has its own particular feeling or atmosphere expressed through the relationships of people, objects and plants.

The way I paint depends quite a lot on what I am painting. If it is a view of the Straits, I am thinking about space and light, if it is a tree, I am thinking about the characteristic form of that tree. My approach depends on what I am looking for in the subject.”

Studio visits welcome by appointment

Address: Calle Toledillo 42
29480 Gaucín (Málaga)
Tel: +34 952 151 149 (Landline)