Inspired by Nature: Celia Lewis

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Until 24 February 2019
Watts Contemporary Gallery

Saturday 12 January – Sunday 24 February 2019
Watts Contemporary Gallery
Free admission

Inspired by Nature: Celia Lewis will present for the first time over 100 artworks, many new and previously unseen, by Surrey-based artist Celia Lewis in a sweeping solo exhibition at Watts Contemporary Gallery. Visitors to the exhibition, opening 12 January, will be able to see and buy original art by this acclaimed Surrey artist. All works are for sale and support Watts Gallery Trust's Art for All learning and outreach programmes.

Celia Lewis takes inspiration from her surroundings – whether it's the tranquil beauty of the Surrey Hills, a chance arrangement of fruit in a supermarket, or her own garden where she's kept chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl and the occasional Gloucester Old Spot pig – Lewis creates work infused with the colour and vitality of the natural world. By juxtaposing abstract motifs and figurative characters, Lewis's expressive depictions of birds, insects, farm animals and flora are enriched by the interplay of pattern and design, the real and the fictive. Each artwork acts as a window to Lewis's intriguing perspective.

This playful depiction of nature is mirrored in Lewis's unusual combination of media, mixing watercolour, linocut, gold leaf and gouache to capture in vibrant motion a flock of chickens or an elegant still life. Seen together, Lewis's artworks will give visitors a sense for what she calls 'the total absorption of painting', a part of her artistic process made evident in the richness and variation of her work – something for which she has earned critical acclaim as well as a base of loyal followers.

Inspired by Nature: Celia Lewis continues the Watts Contemporary Gallery exhibition programme, which provides a unique opportunity for visitors to discover and buy affordable contemporary art that resonates with the Arts and Crafts heritage of Watts Gallery – Artists' Village. The programme promotes local artists, recalling the opportunities created by G F and Mary Watts for local artists and artisans through the Compton Pottery. Proceeds from the sale of work directly benefit Watts Gallery Trust's learning and outreach programme, which has over 29,000 participations each year. Prices start at £50 unframed.

'I've painted or created things with my hands as long as I can remember. Even at school my week revolved around double art on Friday afternoons'

Celia Lewis Lewis studied life and portrait charcoal drawing in Florence at the age of 16 and continues to study, recently completing a diploma in Botanical Art. She was awarded the 2005 Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour (RI) medal and the Windsor & Newton Prize at the RWS Open Exhibition 2010. Lewis is a member of several local art societies; in 2018, she was awarded the Guildford Art Society Alliott Award.

Celia Lewis has published six books with Bloomsbury Publishing, including The Illustrated Guide to Chickens (2010) (with a foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales), An Illustrated Country Year (2013) and An Illustrated Coastal Year (2015). All Lewis's Illustrated Guides cover endangered breeds, whose plight she hopes to bring to greater attention by painting and writing about them.


You can now also browse a selection of works for sale at our online shop.

Event Details

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Day Course: Lino Printing

Friday 15 February, 2 - 5pm
£45 | Friends £40.50
Pre-booking required
Led by Celia Lewis

Design, carve, ink and print an original artwork for framing, inspired by Lewis's linocuts of fruit bowls.

Book tickets

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