FIONA WATSON is a Glasgow based artist. She creates delicate prints of flora and fauna, birds and confectionary, pebbles and portraits which are full of colour and character. Born in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada (1952), Fiona moved to London as a child. She trained as a biologist and worked as a medical journalist until 1996. Studying Biological Sciences at Leicester University taught her to focus and explore possibilities - gave her a view into an unseen world.
Fiona studied printmaking at the Glasgow Print Studio, which she describes as being similar to a lab environment. At GPS Watson was able to learn etching onto copper and steel plates with acids, which finally created the perfect environment to combine her artistic nature with science. Working in this open access studio with other artists including many visiting international artists has provided her with a constant source of opportunities and inspiration. Digital photography and printing opened up a new way of working with images which she now incorporates into etching and digital work. Watson recognises studying biology as the main visual influence on her work, describing it as 'an invaluable system of observation and interpretation'. Today she works full time as a printmaker; working in small scale, her style is delicate and her everyday subject matter meticulously rendered.
Her hand-made prints are inspired by Eastern mysticism and symbolism. She often uses organic and mineral forms such as flowers and pebbles to suggest spiritual thoughts and feelings. The essence of the work is the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi - the beauty of simple things - the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. Using a small digital camera Fiona collects images of everyday things that are normally overlooked, discarded or barely noticed. These images are arranged, rearranged, altered, coloured and used as brushes in Adobe Photoshop until an image slowly emerges. Many of the original layers disappear in the process. Watson's digital prints are composed of several hundred images and layers including hand drawn and painted elements, photographs and scanned objects.
Her main fascination is "the patterns, rhythms, forms and colours of nature in a microscopic and macroscopic sense," which she expresses through a number of media including etching, screen printing, digital printing, photography and painting. Many of her etchings are influenced by a minimalist Zen approach. Other sources of inspiration include ephemera, bookshops, travel and music. Titles of prints are an important part of the print and these are often found in overheard conversations, things misheard or misread, random quotes from media, etc.
Among the awards Fiona has received are the Wrexham Print International Cuthbert Mill Prize, the University of Strathclyde Prize for Printmaking and the Miniare biennale Internationale d'estampes miniatures de Montreal, Canada. She has been artist-in-residence at Kranska Gora, Slovenia, World Festival Art on Paper.
Fiona has exhibited extensively both at home and abroad. She is also a regular exhibitor in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London. Her work is held in a number of collections worldwide including New Hall College Women's Art Collection, Cambridge, Heathrow Airport, Strathclyde University, Napier University Edinburgh, Inland Revenue, Purdue University, Illinois, USA and International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.