Historical watercolour techniques have informed Philippa’s work which she has interpreted in a completely new way. This places her work in the enduring but progressive craft tradition. She uses papers which are handmade, cuts quills for her drawings and paints with handmade sable brushes or large, decorators’ brushes, depending on the scale of the work. For her large-scale murals (one over 4m x 17m), she uses lime wash paint which is absorbed into the green plaster wall surface giving the paint a fresco-like effect.
She grew to appreciate the details of perfection when learning etching techniques from Norman Ackroyd RA at Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design and Peter Freeth, RA at Colchester Art School. Her appreciation of and skill in calligraphy was honed by
instruction from John Woodcock, Gaynor Goffe and Ewan Clayton.
A recent development in her work has been the invention of ‘word
painting’, working with poets to create unique, expressive responses to their poems with paintings and lettering. These poems are as diverse as Shakespeare’s sonnets and Edward Thomas’ works, together with those of living poets, so the pieces become modern or historic evocations of the words.
Examples of her paintings can be seen in Church Street Tavern,
Colchester; Gun Hill House, Dedham, Essex (by appointment – tel. 01206 322800) or at the New Hall Art Collection, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. Other public examples abound – the Tower Steps Name List in Dedham Church, Essex, and the 800th Anniversary Colchester Charter in Colchester Town Hall, for example. Other works are in private collections in the UK and abroad.
Philippa’s studio sits beside a plant filled conservatory at her home in the Stour Valley, Essex. “Inevitably, I walk in the footsteps of John
Constable, taking his lessons of spontaneity and drawing en plein air very much to heart.”