Artist Q&A with Peter Godwin
by Dr Claudia Milburn
Q. I’m interested in what gave you the impetus to show your work after many years being reluctant to do so?
A. I was being patient, waiting for a sense of stability.
Q. Having taught extensively in your career, can you tell me what has been the significance of teaching to you?
A. Great satisfaction in maintaining a particular artistic lineage, e.g. Ingres> Degas> Bromberg>Auerbach. I experienced a lineage in Australia while delaying the stabilisation of my own work.
Q. The project called ‘The Painters Journey’ took you to Hong Kong and Guilin with painter Euan Macleod. Can you tell me about this project and the impact of your experiences?
A. Having spent minimal time in China, I’m still reflecting on that experience in my work a decade on.
Q. Can you talk about the Chinese landscape subject matter of these works and, more broadly, the significance of landscape as subject?
A. The landscape being a different physical experience and trying to rework a cliché. Landscape is not a subject as such, it is an experience.
Q. How have different environments inspired your practice?
A. The word inspiration has always bemused me, I prefer ‘felt’.
Q. You have mentioned that your venture into printmaking was particularly inspired by seeing a series of large-scale prints by Howard Hodgkin. Can you talk about the impression these works had on you?
A. Howard’s work is by a painter through and through, never shallow even when minimal. His work breathes similarly to Turner’s watercolours, rare I feel for an English painter and the works demanding scale.
Q. How do the processes of printmaking and painting relate to each other in your work?
A. The carborundum process is very painterly as sugar lift is in intaglio etching.
Q. These prints have the restraint of single focused colour, or two colours accompanied by white – can you talk about this restraint of colour palette?
A. I wanted the drawing to be paramount not the subject or sense of depiction.
Q. Many of these prints are of vast immersive scale. What is the significance of working at this scale to you?
A. Because I could, the mountains were towers, again they were ’felt’.
Q. Who or what has been your greatest influence as an artist? Which artists have most inspired your practice, both in painting and in printmaking?
A. My major artistic influence as a student was a Scottish born painter, Ian Fairweather, I was not alone in responding to his work. Also the work of Australian painter, (English born), Tony Tuckson. It’s interesting that the two painters broke free of their formal culture and landscape when experiencing Australia’s informal cultures and landscape, read indigenous. – I might acknowledge painters I respect and admire but they have never inspired me, I would also mention poets in the same vein.
Q. What for you are the desired essential qualities of image-making?
A. Self-belief mixed with anxiety.
Q. What are the latest developments in your work?
A. My last painting and the unknown.