Painting in watercolour

I have long wanted to paint and have made many weak attempts over the years but finally the catalyst for my recent work was a visit to Tate St Ives at Easter. I happened to pick up a leaflet about the Sunday Times watercolour competition and began experimenting.

My initial approach was to think about what had learned about colour, pigment, materials and processes as a former conservator of oil paintings, their origins and uses and behaviour  to make some work that was more than just another landscape or still life – of which I have produced many pedestrian examples over the years.

I played about with pure colours, simply exploring the colour and paint, making washes and overlaying, working on wet and dry paper. I had some old watercolour paper (more than 20 years stored under the bed) that seemed to be under-sized and was very absorbent. I liked the way the colour travelled when applied to wet paper and started to form a pattern of actions that resulted in a long series of works.

Langford - watercolour on TH Saunders paper
Langford
Maurice - watercolour on TH Saunders paper
Maurice

I should add that order, geometry and repetition seem to be my instinctive approach to creativity (see my Jewellery Designs)

I am exploring pure colour, to  find ways to show its true nature and behaviour in watercolour medium. Only three colours are used, employing juxtaposition, overlay and tone as well as wet and dry paper and re-wetting techniques. Each colour is laid on individually, not mixed.

As a jeweller my work is very much about control, my designs are geometric and ordered, serendipity is a rare and welcome component, usually appearing whilst pushing the limits of the material. This process follows through in this series of paintings. I begin from a precise positioned grid of marks, working on wet and/or dry paper, overlaying in several passes following a strict order whilst allowing accidental or material based irregularities to occur. Colours are applied with droppers and with broad washes laid over dried dots, allowing the colours to soften and run at will.

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