"The drama of cloudscapes, mixed with the subtlety of the morning light or the glory of a sunset, have become the essence of my compositions."
In 2003, Henrietta Stuart immersed herself in an extended stay in the south of France. Her French residence was nestled in the elevated circulade (village) of St Pons de Mauchiens in the Herault, dominated by its 'garrigues'. A landscape of limestone uplands, many crowned by vineyards, seemingly planted in fragmented rock. Proximity to the coast inspired her to paint the littoral around the nearby port of Sète and the enclosed waters of the Bassin de Thau-Bouzigues, featuring mussel-beds and distinctive boats, the waters serene and reflective, particularly in the early morning.
In 2005, Henrietta relocated to a new studio in Neffies, where the surrounding countryside exerted a fresh influence on her Autumn collection that year.
The warmth of the Adriatic beckoned Henrietta in 2007 and 2009, leading her to the Greek island of Ithaca in the Ionian Sea. Four months were spent walking, sketching, and painting on the island. Upon returning to France and her studio, she discerned the influences from Ithaca permeating and enhancing her compositions. Ithaca's unique Ionian softness and tranquility stood out against the lively atmosphere of ports with fishing boats and flotillas, panoramic views from hilltop villages, or sea mists concealing all but occasional silhouettes. The vibrancy, sounds, and whirl of the Panighiria festivals contrasted with the serenity of early morning seas adorned with a carpet of spring colours.
In 2010, Henrietta's artistic journey took her to Australia, exposing her to landscapes ablaze with rich reds, yellows, and blues. Her return to the UK in 2011 prompted a search for a new studio, culminating in her move to Wimbledon Art Studios. Once again, her paintings drew inspiration from the local landscape but now bathed in a new light influenced by the preceding eight years. Recent inspiration has been drawn from excursions to the west coast of Scotland and weekly visits to the coast of West Sussex. Exploring more of the British coastline, Henrietta finds herself increasingly captivated by the enchanting play of British light.
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