Liz Hough takes inspiration from the rugged Cornish landscape, especially that which surrounds her home in St Ives. St Ives has a celebrated history of drawing artists who work to abstract the Cornish landscape and Liz Hough is very much continuing this Modern British tradition. Liz is drawn to the contrast offered up by Cornwall, ‘it’s so beautiful but there is a harshness that intertwines with it. Not only the capricious light and weather, but the poverty and the scars left by the mining industry,’ says Liz.
Her work investigates the architecture of the landscape in an almost geological manner. She is inspired by ‘the bones of the landscape,’ the great blocks of granite left in a long-forgotten quarry, the decaying tin mines, the erosion which bites into the edges of the coast. She sees these elements as indicators of story, the process of painting becoming a form of re-telling. Liz is interested in the way the landscape seems to reclaim these man-made interruptions, re-wilding them, interpolating them back into the earth.
The construction of her paintings mirrors the geological architecture of the landscape which inspires them. She begins by allowing the colours of the landscape wash over her on her regular walks, carrying these impressions back to her studio. She will then disgorge them on bits of paper, mixing a palette which describes the specific feeling of place she has just experienced. It might be the turquoises and greens of a midsummer day, or the burnt oranges and umbers of Autumn. ‘Working up to this show, I’ve been waking up and smelling autumn. The blackberries are out, the leaves are just about to turn, and this just instinctively comes out on the palette.’
These separate-coloured sheets are then collected, ripped, spliced, and arranged on a wooden board. She will continue to experiment at this stage, overlapping, removing, turning each piece right up until she applies her final layer of paint. These collaged sections become the foundation of the painting. Liz will then apply acrylic, continuing to experiment with movement and cropping’s, before sticking the pieces of collage down, and applying more marks in oil paint.
This latest series of paintings have been inspired from the view from Trevalgan Hill in St Ives. From this vantage point, Liz is presented with a wonderful 360 degree panoramic view over St Ives, Camborne, and Padstow, which has often been the route of her longer paintings. The hills seen from Trevalgan Hill crop up often in her work, ‘I have got to know those hills rather intimately,’ she says ‘to me they look more like people now than anything else.’
Liz Hough was born in 1966. Studied Fine Art at Manchester, then completed her Post Graduate studies at the RA Schools in 1991. Her achievements include Leverhulme Trust and Landseer Scholarships, Daler Rowney Prize at the RA Summer Exhibition and Creswick Prize for Landscape Painting at the Royal Academy Premiums Exhibition.