“I was so fortunate that my two year elective at ECA provided me with the opportunity to spend time with Elizabeth Blackadder who passed on her great love of watercolour.” artist Jenny Matthews
Friday afternoons spent in the company of Dame Elizabeth Blackadder in Edinburgh’s Botanic Garden have profoundly influenced the work of artist Jenny Matthews whose new exhibition runs from 2 May until 2 June at Edinburgh’s Union Gallery.
That the medium of watercolour is now central to Jenny’s work stems from her art student days when she was taught by and observed the superb watercolourist and flower painter at work. While Jenny already shared Dame Elizabeth’s great affection for plants and flowers, she had yet to learn the technique of watercolour.
As Dame Elizabeth recalls: “I first met Jenny in 1983 when she was a second year Drawing and Painting student at Edinburgh College of Art when I taught the Botanical Illustration elective at the Royal Botanic Garden. Jenny already had an interest in plants and flowers and under my tutelage she rapidly became a lover of watercolour.
“Jenny has continued to use predominantly watercolour since graduating in 1986, and her name is now associated with her watercolours of botanical subjects. This exhibition is the latest of numerous group and solo shows which Jenny has been involved in over the last 26 years, and demonstrates her continuing exploration of the medium of watercolour.”
Kartu Telapon (50×50) by Jenny Matthews
Highly collected and admired, Jenny has produced an exquisite collection of new work for this her third exhibition for the Union Gallery. Her paintings are finely observed, in contrast to the surrounding areas which are more intuitive and atmospheric, and are often inspired by colour combinations noticed while out painting.
Jenny always paints from life and the myriad of flowers and plants, not to mention the ever-changing landscape and weather conditions, allow her to constantly find new inspiration and ideas, whether it be in the garden or further afield.
“My inspiration is from nature and the landscape,” says Jenny whose love of the subject began on Scottish Highland holidays as a child. “Since then it has been a passion to seek out flowers and plants wherever I go, be they cultivated or wild.
“The colour and form of flowers are what attracts me to them, and botany as a theme is one I have been able to pursue whilst living abroad in France and Indonesia. I want to convey the joy of my discoveries to others through my paintings such as the delight of noticing a butterfly, examining a flower or the colours in the garden or in the hills.
“I like the idea of making people happy by highlighting all the beautiful things there are around us. I am not interested in creating art which emphasises the negatives.” (It is interesting to note that Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin who tends to focus on dark material, is an admirer and collector of Jenny’s work!)
“I was so fortunate that my two year elective at ECA provided me with the opportunity to spend time with Elizabeth Blackadder who passed on her great love of watercolour. The texture of the support, the pigment, the water and the effects these can produce in combination, are inspiration in themselves.”
Jenny Matthews: Water and Colour An exhibition of new work by Scotland’s foremost painter of flowers Union Gallery 2 May to 2 June 2014
UNION GALLERY 45 Broughton Street EH1 3JU
Monday – Saturday 10.30 to 18.00
Sunday 12.00 to 18.00
Rosie in Jenny’s Edinburgh studio
Jenny Matthews Hedgerow Garden