My parents were friends of Glenys and I have known her since my youth. I now have the great pleasure in helping her to realise her wish to show her work through the medium of the web. I spent two days with her in Swansea this week talking about her life and work and formulating a design for her site. Glenys is a true colourist and her work really glows on the screen.
Here is one of her recent floral pieces inspired by a quotation by a close friend, the Welsh poet Vernon Watkins in his poem “Taliesin and the Mockers”.
And here is a spread from the handmade book “Taliesin and the Mockers” from The Old Stile Press illustrated by Glenys.
Portobello Beach near Edinburgh, 1st October – dusk on an unexpectedly warm evening.
The Edinburgh One O’Clock Gun – clicked the shutter a few seconds later than I’d hoped.
In my time as a conservator of paintings I learned that a semi opaque substance seen in front of a dark object or space, will appear as blue-hued even though it may be warm yellow or brown-hued itself. These two photos show that effect known rather pompously as the “Turbid Medium” effect, it also happens with other transluscent substances such as steam, mist and clouds.
This effect can be used to good purpose in oil painting especially in portraiture (a description of Rembrandt’s technique – a layer of light toned paint is laid thinly over a warm dark-toned area producing a cool effect in the upper layer suggestive of cool shadow on skin tones).
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.
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.