Chantelle Watson

I was born in Cape Town to my mother, the daughter of a sheep farmer, and my father, an English chef. I grew up in the shadow of the majestic Table Mountain and remember letting my imagination run wild as I conjured up faces and shapes within its contours.

Since I was a child, I’ve always felt a strong connection to nature, be it with the sea or exploring the mountains in Southern Africa. I always felt I saw more than others with shapes, angles, colours…

In 1999 I was accepted into an advertising and graphic design college. It turned out 

I had very strong conceptual design and thinking skills. I won various bursaries and was the top student throughout college. 

Creativity has always been like a best friend to me and a saving grace during difficult times in my life. I’ve had a wide range of experience in the creative industry, and I’ve dabbled in photography, above and below-the-line advertising, design, conceptualisation, illustration, and packaging… but something was missing. 

In 2017 I had a go at my first painting of trees on a large canvass for my husband as a Christmas gift. I had never touched a canvas before and I had next to no experience of acrylic paint, other than finger painting as a child! It was an amazing experience, and something happened that inspired me.

Since then, I’ve found a place in painting where my spirit feels at home. I visit the Lakes and the coast with my husband and 2 sons many times a year, where I feel myself melt into the landscapes and its surroundings. I photograph the beauty I see and feel, absorb the energy from mountains, gasp at the colours, wildness, and power of the natural world I stand within at that moment. These are times when I feel all my senses are at their peak. 

When I return to our beautiful home in the Surrey Hills, I paint not only what I saw, but I’m inspired by what and how I felt too. I become the mountains, the sky, the clouds, the movement in the water and grass. How they are so different but joined to form a landscape. I feel a freedom and a connection to these elements through the paint and how I put it onto the canvas. It’s not just a painting, it’s a part of me and I love it.

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