Curator's Picks: Richard Rowan celebrates 15 years with new book launch

As the founder of one of the UK's most successful art publishing companies, Glyn Washington knows a thing or two about the art industry. Whether he's reporting from Washington Green Fine Art HQ or the biggest art exhibitions across the globe, each month he'll be providing an exclusive insight into the latest developments in the art world, along with behind-the-scenes updates. In February 2022, he shared his expert view on the career of the contemporary glass painter Richard Rowan, whose new collection and hardback book celebrates 15 years of bringing awe-inspiring nature to our collectors. 

Watch our brand-new YouTube video, which was filmed at Richard's studio and Richmond Park in London. He also took us to the woodlands near his home, which have inspired some of his most popular pieces. 

Richard's beautiful hardback book rediscovers works old and new, plus features exclusive studio photography and personal anecdotes from throughout his 15-year career with us. 

A true artist's eye

"It is with great affection and humour that I hear Richard refer to himself as ‘the accidental artist’, for nothing could be further from the truth," says Glyn. "His is a story of persistence and determination, underpinned by a tremendous talent and a true artist’s eye. My career as a fine art publisher – spanning nearly 40 years – has afforded me the opportunity to travel extensively, attending art fairs across the world and meeting some of the finest talent on the contemporary art scene. Never, though, have I met anyone else who works the way Richard does; he is truly unique."

A pioneer and innovator

Richard is known for his back-to-front painting technique, whereby he paints in oils on the opposite side of the glass. Glyn adds: "I regard him as a true pioneer and innovator, and Washington Green Fine Art is privileged to have an artist of his calibre within our portfolio. The quality of his work, however, transcends technique. It’s more than that. He has a vision, he knows his subject, he lives and breathes it before capturing it in oils."

Real depth and authenticity

From the Icelandic wilderness to the fiery horizons of Thailand and towering mountains of Norway, Richard has travelled the world to bring his breathtaking views to collectors. Glyn says: "Richard’s many expeditions to far flung corners of the earth – in search of the horizons, natural light and weather phenomena now synonymous with his style – saturate his work with real depth and authenticity, illustrating the lived experience that lies behind each vista. His art allows people to walk in his footsteps, travel further than they ever thought possible and experience landscapes vicariously through his artistry."

Richard revealed the techniques behind his artworks, which he creates using a revolutionary reverse painting technique. 

Better than photography

Often mistaken for photographs, Richard's incredibly detailed works are created from both memory and the splicing of multiple photographs and images to form an inherently unique composition. Glyn explains: "His skill as a photographer is prodigious, although his near-photographic memory and ability to completely immerse himself in his surroundings often make reference aids redundant. I would argue that no photograph will ever capture nature’s finest sights as exquisitely and evocatively as Richard does in his paintings. They say the camera doesn’t lie, and often that’s the case, but so often it also doesn’t do full justice to its subject. Somehow, he does with oils what no camera lens could ever achieve."

Working with artisan printers

For over a decade, we have painstakingly worked with our specialist atelier team to replicate the exquisite finish of Richard's original paintings. "As a fine art publisher, the part we play is to keep up with Richard by ensuring that we create limited editions that do justice to the original artwork he produces," reveals Glyn. "Over the years, we have undertaken relentless research and development, working hand in hand with artisan printers to refine the process of printing on glass, which was a revolutionary concept when Richard started out. We’re proud of the advancements we’ve made, involving bespoke printing techniques and exceptional colour grading, all engineered to pay the utmost reverence to Richard’s paintings."

Giving back to the planet

While printing Richard's new book, we collaborated with our FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified printers, who used carbon-balanced paper. Through the World Land Trust, this has balanced the equivalent of 696kg of carbon dioxide, supporting the charity to protect 133m² of critically threatened tropical forest. 

Richard Rowan, All The Time In The World, giclee on glass, (£995)

Featured art: Richard Rowan, 'All the Time in the World II', £995. Signed giclée on glass. Also available in a set of five, £3,850. 

Here's to the next 15 years

Even after all this time, it is still an honour to witness the joy that Richard's art instills in the homes of our collectors. Glyn adds: "Collaborating with Richard has been a singularly rewarding and immensely enjoyable experience; working with talent of his magnitude will only ever be a joy. He is a constant source of fresh ideas, a paragon of hard work and the epitome of an artist who never quite believes or sees the excellence of his own work. For me, Richard’s 15-year anniversary prompts not only a musing over past times shared, but brings a confidence that the next fifteen years will hold equal – if not more – promise than the last."

"No photograph will ever capture nature’s finest sights as exquisitely and evocatively as Richard does in his paintings."

Glyn Washington

Co-founder of Washington Green Fine Art

Featured Artist

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