This month we celebrate Howard Phipps, an artist who has lived in the Ebble Valley since the 1990s and whose work is based on the downland landscapes of Wiltshire and Dorset. Like so many of our favourite artists, Hambledon Hill, which overlooks our office is featured strongly in his upcoming exhibition taking place at the Art Stable from the 5th September. His chosen medium is wood engravings that have been carved on a block of very hard Boxwood.
Howard has lived in the Ebble Valley near Salisbury since the mid 1990’s and much of his art is based on his observations of the downland landscape of Wiltshire and Dorset. Although technically across the border, a lot of his work covers our local area. Timeless places and striking hill forms draw his eye, and for this his third exhibition at The Art Stable
he has revisited the hill forts of Eggardon and Hambledon Hill, and has also developed work based on the ramparts at Bulbarrow Hill in Dorset. He likes to observe these ancient places when the sun is low, and the light reveals the underlying sculpture of the land.
Likewise, he uses light to effect on the forms of trees, another theme which frequently concerns him. As a wood-engraver he might be described as an artist who draws with light since each incision made with his tools on the pre-blackened Boxwood gradually reveals the design through lines and textures. It is a reversal of the pencil drawing or watercolour study where the tones are built upon a white paper. When a drawing is transposed to the woodblock medium the light and tonal impact of the image is frequently intensified within only a few square inches.
Howard will be exhibiting a number of his watercolours and preliminary drawings in this exhibition alongside the wood engravings, such as that of an oak on the water meadows near his studio and the romantically situated Wardour Castle. Howard has also made further work based upon the Dorset Coastline with recent engravings of subjects at Portland Bill and Chapman’s Pool.
Howard Phipps has established himself as one of England’s foremost wood engravers. His work has been acquired by several National and International institutions including The British Museum who hold thirteen works, and most recently the Yale Centre for British Art in the USA, and the Heilongjiang Museum of Art in China. As a painter as well as printmaker, his work has been exhibited in a number of galleries across the Country, including solo shows at The Victoria Art Gallery, Bath and the Dorset County Museum. He has been a frequent exhibitor at Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions since 1985, and is a Royal West of England Academician and member of the Society of Wood engravers.
Thank you as always to Kelly from the Art Stable for her words, pictures and of course the introduction to the artist. We very much look forward to visiting the exhibition in Child Okeford soon.