Victoria crowe obe frse rsa
Victoria Crowe has been described as a poet-painter, but whatever tag you should choose to attach to her, or her work, she is undoubtedly a rare and talented individual. Her interest in music, poetry, plants, philosophy, religion and ideologies and symbolism; all seem to have equal weight in her paintings.
Victoria Crowe was born on V.E. Day ,and for those too young to remember that was 8th May 1945, so I guess she had to be christened Victoria Elizabeth. She grew up in West London attending the Kingston College of Art and then the Royal College of Art for 3 more years with John Bellany being just one of her contemporaries there. It was Sir Robin Philipson who recruited her to a position at the Edinburgh College of Art in 1968 where she joined the likes of Elizabeth Blackadder and John Houston. Having moved to Scotland she , together with her husband , moved to the Carlops area to the east of the Pentland Hills and she has remained in that area ever since. Much has been written about her time with the Shepherdess Jenny Armstrong and these paintings are truly wonderful. But one of her most poignant works is a portrait of her son Ben at the age of 19. Two years after this was painted, he was diagnosed with a rare form of mouth cancer. He died less than a year later, in 1995. Her husband now runs the Ben Walton Trust, to raise awareness and funds to tackle oral cancers in young people.
Victoria Crowe has previously said how she poured her feelings into her paintings: first her hopes for his recovery, then the rawness of her grief when he died. "In a way, if I hadn't been a painter, I don't know how I would have dealt with that and made sense of it. Because of all the things that I was doing with Jenny, it had become part of my vocabulary to be able, in paintings, to talk about time passing, to contrast very transitory things like a figure in the landscape with the permanence of a rock.Paintings make sense for me of my life and where I am. We've just got a little granddaughter – my daughter's first child – she is bound to be in something one of these days."Crowe's most recent work is imbued more richly than ever with the influence of Italy. She travelled there for the first time in 1992, and now maintains a studio in Venice where she spends time every spring and autumn. (Victoria Crowe - Duncan Macmillan)
Another interesting period in her career was when in the 1990's there became an increasing importance of flowers and plants to her. She became involved with Artists for Nature Foundation, a conservation group with whom she visited and painted for them in Poland , Spain and India recording detailed paintings of threatened plants. At the same time she was involved in a series of television programmes making studies of flowers in the Spring. Indeed so talented in her drawings she ,on Elizabeth Blackadder's retirement, took over her botanical class at the College of Art. Flowers and plants are to this day a recurring and important element of her work.