Merlyn Chesterman was born in London and grew up in Hong Kong. After a BA in Fine Art (Painting) she later took a diploma in education. Her printmaking business Hartland Printmakers was set up in 2002.
She is a Member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, an Associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and a regular annual exhibitor at The Society of Wood Engravers in the UK. She has had many shows in the UK, as well as in Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Finland, Spain and the USA. Her works appear in the City Hall Museum of Art Permanent Collection, Hong Kong; The Edward James Foundation, West Dean College, UK; Princess Ashi Tashi Dorji of Bhutan's collection and have been purchased by private collectors worldwide.
Merlyn has extensive teaching experience, including at West Dean College, with Devon County Council’s Pupils out of school team, various mental health groups, Art in Action, Beaford Gifted and Talented programme, and at her workshops in Devon.
She has received awards from the Arts Council England, Millenium and Local Network Funds in the UK. Further afield she has both won and been a juror for Mini Print International in Spain and has been Artist in Residence at the Science Museum in Minnesota, USA. She was also selected by the Mayor of Tirana to decorate communist era buildings in the capital, Albania.
Other community projects include winning a competition to design a 300 yard mural in Bideford and a Commission to design 6 acoustic panels for Pound Arts Center, Corsham.
Her illustration work includes:
- Plant illustrations for 12 Hong Kong Walks (OUP)
- Dalai Lama, cover, Asiaweek
- Monoprint in Monoprinting (Newell and Whittington, A & C Black)
- Endangered species illustrations for WWF Thailand
Method of Working: I make rough drawings with chalk directly on the block, which gives me freedom at the cutting stage. I see the first cut block as a starting point and will then offset and cut other blocks, experimenting with colour and tone. Lately I have taken blocks with me whilst swimming, drawing in wax crayon. This gives a feel for water which, along with the obvious time constraint, gives the print vitality and a new perspective.
Artist’s Statement: My work is mostly about places and the natural world, based on reality and yet going beyond. It must work at an abstract level and will often also have a literal interpretation.