The landscape to which Sturgis has returned is the Kentmere valley in the Lake District. It is still a remote place, of dry-stone walls, of rugged fells, of working hill-farmers and white-washed farmhouses. It is a landscape which Sturgis has known, and been part of, all her life.
’This is the place where I first experienced the numinous beauty of the world and recognised that this beauty comes to us as much through the crackling roughness of the lichen on a stone, the damp smell of a wooden gate or the mournful sound of the ewes bleating for their lambs at dusk, as from the golden light and the majestic fells.’
Sturgis, in her deep engagement with the land and its life, combined her art-studies with learning how to tend the sheep that - over the centuries - have done so much to create and mould this landscape. She learnt the skills of shepherding here; and went on to work as a shepherd in Iceland, Scotland, and west Cumbria.
Sturgis’s art is imbued with this deep sense of connection. Her paintings evolve from small plein-air sketches that are then built up into richly layered compositions. Surface colour is informed by contrasted underpainting. They are not topographical records of place but the distillations of experience.
Louise Sturgis trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, and the Royal Academy Schools in London, where she won a Silver Medal for painting. She was a recipient of a Norwegian Government scholarship which allowed her to work for a year in Oslo. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, and the National Portrait Gallery, London. She has had one-person exhibitions in London, Oxford, Oslo and Bergen, She lives and works in Kentmere where she has recently established a teaching-studio.
Louise Sturgis: Be still and know that I am here press release