Sam Boughton | Capturing The Drama

Carol Burns, Devon Life, February 1, 2021

Post-modernist art has come and gone, but capturing the landscape continues to entice artists and viewers – and where better than Devon to draw inspiration?


The dramatic landscapes of Sam Boughton intrigued Brownston Gallery’s owners who have chosen the Teignmouthbased artist for their new show. Boughton’s work begins with sketching outside and painting inside her studio in Teignmouth. During lockdown she returned to the same areas to capture the changing landscapes as they responded to the seasons, the weather and the light. “I am an expressive painter who creates semi-abstract landscape paintings inspired by my surroundings here in the South West,” she says. “I am fascinated by the way light, weather and seasons constantly change our environment. When I feel a strong connection with a particular place, I make regular visits to experience it at different times. The more I studied the same place, the more I became compelled to draw and make marks in different ways. This collection of work is a response to those restrictions and the result of being pushed to see with fresh eyes a place that is so familiar.” Her process begins outside in the landscape with sketch books, using inks and pastels to capture the movement and energy of each moment and her response to it.


She will collect objects and make notes to take back to her studio to inspire her palette. In the studio she will work on the floor adding layers in acrylic, emulsions and pastels to reproduce the landscape as she remembers and felt it. “I physically pour, drip and splash paint.” she says. The intention is to create expressive marks which bring contrast, energy and depth. She will work in abstract collage to large scale paintings and silk screen prints to reflect her intentions.


Now based in Teignmouth, Sam has travelled extensively but admits she has always felt the pull of Devon. “The location is perfect for my work as I am right by the River Teign, five minutes from the coast path and also very close to Ideford Common and Haldon. So there’s a fantastic mix on environments right here on my doorstep.”


Sam studied illustration in Bristol and moved on to a Masters degree. She went on to work as a book illustrator for Tate, Oxford University Press and Penguin Random House, among others, but admits landscape drawing is her true passion. “There is an intense satisfaction I experience when I draw on location. This deep inner need to respond visually to my environment never fades,” she says.


You will often find Sam out walking Monty, her Hungarian Viszla, contemplating the landscape and its inhabitants. “Once a place excites me, I’ll stop and start to draw/paint.” Her work is inspired by British artist John Piper: “His marks were so loose and expressive and I am constantly inspired by his ability to change direction and medium.”


Her paintings were selected for the South West Academy Reflections exhibition from which she won the Brownston Gallery Award to exhibit in 2021 for her work Midnight on the Water. “Sam’s work is full of movement and energy,” says gallery owner Catherine Gillen, “In Midnight on the Water her strong marks and confident use of colour create a suggested landscape that shimmers in the moonlight.”


Sam Boughton’s work will feature in the 2021 South West Academy exhibition and her show will run at the Brownston Gallery in Modbury March 19 – April 17, 2021.