The words of Chris McEwan, an artist, who in June and July took part of the “Ways of Seeing” exhibition at The Grange Art Gallery.
He paints with watercolours, pastels and acrylics and takes inspiration from the South Downs’ landscape. “It is a spiritual thing, quite mystical. Downland and farmland are pure abstract…I am mesmerised in a country where time has stood still.”
At the age of eleven, Chris went to Brighton College of Art for Saturday morning lectures; and eventually studied there full time. Later he taught there for eighteen years, and ended his career as senior lecturer at Kingston University, teaching illustration and graphic design.
Today, he lives in Lewes with his wife, Carol Lawson, an artist whose work is also motivated by the downs and local history. But Chris has roots in Rottingdean. His great-grandparents once owned a hotel on the site of what is now The White Horse. Before that, they were involved in horse racing, had a hotel at Newmarket, and worked there for King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
Chris says he has already filled a sketchbook with drawings of the house and gardens of Nymans, where he and his wife will have an exhibition in 2017.
Meanwhile, students still come back to see him and he says it is a privilege being with the young. “It still never ceases to amaze me that they still wish to be in the company of a very old man!”