Fiona Willis

19th October 2022 – 15 February 2023

I grew up on the South Devon coast where I spent hours looking under stones for little crabs or treasures on the tideline. We had a big garden and I loved to hide in my den or climb trees, I collected snails and germinated seeds. I now realise that these activities have greatly influenced my drawings.”

Fiona Willis is a Bristol-based artist who trained as a paediatric nurse. The subject matter of her drawings is our natural world. This is strongly inspired by her childhood and ongoing connection to the sea and love of her garden. She has always doodled, and as her drawings became less abstract, these illustrated plants, animals and sea imagery came to life.

Images and patterns from nature are reproduced as simple forms, lines and spirals in the columns and borders of her work. Text is also woven into the pictures, offering information or forming patterns – often she finds it hard to stop filling the space! The colourful and bold designs of her work reveal lots of intricate detail as you look more closely.

“In the 60s and 70s my mother was a draughtswoman and used technical pens to draw the fine detail. They often clogged and flooded and I was given the ones that were particularly troublesome. I use those pens now and they enable me to get the fine detail on my pictures. They’re still troublesome and I still have to spend a long time cleaning them and shaking the ink down to the nib.”

These artworks start their life as original works in pen, ink, crayon, collage and linocut which are then scanned and reproduced as giclée prints.