Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Three Scottish artists: Helen Stevenson's postcard from Arran

I know this is a rather duff image of Helen Stevenson's woodcut 'Goatfell' but it is the best I can do right now. It is also a bit larger than actual size which makes it remarkable for a British colour woodcut and shows exactly how well Stevenson could handle scale. The only other contemporary artist I can think of who made successful small colour prints was Sylvan Boxsius. More typical of Stevenson is the fine handling of colour and the consummate way she prints on japan. Perhaps less well known is how closely Stevenson followed the contours of the landscape she described. She took liberties, sometimes by foreshortening, but that only went to show what an informed eye she had in the first place. She knew a good view when she saw one but almost always organised the image in a superior way to photographers who show the same view.

Stevenson is less hard to come by than many of her contemporaries, especially the Scottish ones and I suppose I was lucky with this one. This is why two more women artists will be following on in this short series. Their work is almost impossible to find even in reproduction.

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