Louise Scammell

About the artist

I spent my childhood on the English south coast. My parents loved sailing and this gave me early opportunities to develop a fascination for life in the sea with much time spent rock-pooling and learning to fish. One of my earliest memories is of prawning with my mother—I was much more interested in the fish and creatures mum caught and released than the prawns!

Connections to the sea have continued throughout my life. I regularly dive and snorkel along the south Devon coast, taking a drawing pad with me to sketch life under the water’s surface. My partner is a line fisherman and I take every opportunity to go out with him by boat and dive whilst he fishes.

 

I studied printmaking at Dartington Printmakers in south Devon and then became a full-time printmaker and taught there for 15 years. I now teach printmaking at Art House, south Brent.

 

My first solo show was held at the National Marine Aquarium Plymouth in 2001; a series of etchings entitled ‘From surface to abyss—a journey from the surface of the sea to the abyssal plains of the ocean’. I continue to show my work in exhibitions both locally and internationally.

 

Encouraged by a fellow artist in 2015, my work was accepted by the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) for their annual exhibition, The Natural Eye, at the Mall Galleries, London. During the show I saw that one of the members of the SWLA had been working underwater on a diving bursary project.

I went home encouraged and excited by what I had seen and decided that I would try to draw underwater rather than simply rely on photographing what I had experienced—a chance to sketch in the field, or rather in the water! My work from these sketches developed further in 2017 after attending a residency in Spain to learn the mokulito printmaking technique (wood lithography) with Ewa Budka, a leading expert in this field. Underwater sketches could be translated more fluidly using this technique and it encouraged me to develop my practice in a

more playful and explorative manner.

I became an Associate SWLA Member in 2019 and during September 2021 attended my first field trip with some of the group. I travelled to Scotland with other members of the SWLA to work underwater on the project, ‘Argyll Coast and Islands, Hope Spot’. I became a full member of the SWLA in late 2021.

 

I continue to dive on the south Devon coast and explore this environment which is invisible to many. I hope to make people more aware of the extraordinary beauty and rich diversity of marine life that exists there—I have a lifetime of work ahead of me!