Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Artwork of Nicholas Watts

Exploring auto racing from different angles and perspectives

by Jacques Vaucher

Over the last century, not only has England been a nucleus of automobile racing but it also seems that some of the best automobile artists also come out of the UK. With names like Bryan De Grineau, Fredrick Gordon Crosby, Michael Turner, Dexter Brown, Peter Hearsey and Barry Rowe, whose artwork we featured a few weeks ago, just to name a few.

Raging Bulls giclée by Nicholas Watts

Today we are showing the work of Nicholas Watts, who for the last few decades has been using his brushes and pencils to capture some of the most important moments and scenes in the history of motor racing. 

Grand Prix of Japan 1976 acrylic painting by Nicholas Watts
Preserving a fleeting moment in time is something that historians and romantics alike often wish they could do. The paintings of automotive artist Nicholas Watts are dedicated to doing just that. He has mastered the art of capturing a brief second in time, not only through the event and local environment, but the emotional aspect as well.

Born in Tunbridge, England in 1947, Watts is a virtually self-taught artist. From an early age he was fascinated with the automobile, including its structure, form and function. Each painting of his is a celebration of that fascination, and is painstakingly researched and detailed.

Working usually with gouache-on-board and later in acrylic on canvas, Watts’ work is always exploring auto racing from different angles and perspectives. This is clearly evident in his recent work, which not only opens up new views to historical moments in the sport, but also explores new techniques of capturing speed and action on board and canvas.

Fangio - The Maestro print by Nicholas Watts
By stopping time just seconds before the most fateful event of the race, Watts has managed to hold on to the feeling of that specific moment. Even people who didn’t witness the race, or don’t know of its outcome can sense the tension in the air.

“I want to put more of myself into my paintings,” explains Watts. “I can do this through my use of color and brush strokes, without losing the exact shape of the vehicle. I doubt my style will ever become completely impressionistic, but I have moved away from the photo-realism I began with.”

He continually offers us new approaches and perspectives of the motor races, keeping his work fresh and new, and in high demand. If the past 40+ years have been any indication of his growth and potential, we expect Nicholas Watts to remain at the forefront of automotive art for years to come. In his own words, “I only hope I have enough time to create all of the ideas I have in my head.” 

The Final Targa print by Nicholas Watts
Nicholas and I go back a few decades. We started working together in the 1980’s and in 1989, the gallery of l’art et l’automobile organized a ‘one man show’ for Nicolas in our New York Penthouse gallery on 34th Street in Manhattan. Ever since, or relationship has been excellent, and to this day I am an avid fan of him, his family and his work. 

Keep up the Good work Nicholas. I am grateful to know you and will do my best to display your work with the respect it deserves and help others discover and celebrate your art.

At l’art et l’automobile we have a deep appreciation for the artistry of vintage automobiles, but particularly for the artwork that celebrates them. Nicholas Watts is at the forefront of this sense of dedication to capturing the automotive world through the lens of paint and canvas. To celebrate this fact, we have collected all our pieces by this wonderful artist and present them to you. Find out more about this collection here or enjoy looking through the gallery at arteauto.com, and perhaps add a piece to your collection.

Jacques Vaucher

For more great automotive memorabilia, don't forget to browse the many other categories on our Website. Remember we also have many more items in our gallery, do not hesitate to contact us if you are looking for something in particular.

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  4. I have a large James Hunt, Nicholas painting.