Monday 3 June 2019

Swimming in watercolour

A new series of three on paper:
Swimming in watercolour  

I nearly drowned as a small boy, so I'm still afraid to swim out of my depth. But my paintbrushes kindly showed me how to swim with watercolour, to splash and twist, to make strong plunging strokes with a wet brush, caressing strokes with an almost dry brush and at times seeming to walk on water. I've established a friendship with my brushes that is still exciting, although not entirely without anxiety. "Follow the brush" is the motto of many an artist in search of freedom. In other words, use the marks and shapes of each different brush as an immediate opportunity to improvise the rest of your graphic "story". As you follow the brushed flow, you intuitively take on an attitude of "let's just see what comes next". But what a challenge this is! 
These comments reflect the influence of Asian calligraphy and aesthetic awareness on my work. Here's the Link to my 2012 blog with more details on the Asian connection.
                                Floating in the Deep, watercolour 47 x 70 cm. (sold)

When I was an art college student in the 1950's, drawing and painting the nude was still regarded as a fundamental skill for any would-be painter, following the classical traditions. We learned to paint in oils, but over the years watercolour gradually became my preferred medium. I loved its transparent glow on smooth Arches Satiné paper, that helps it float on the surface. Now, as I began this new series, I wanted to combine memories of my early training with the nude model with my imagination of the body moving in water.

                              A lazy swim on the undulating waves, watercolour 40 x 62 cm.

If you know my work, you'll know how much of my inspiration comes from music. Yes, you guessed it: Debussy's La Mer and Jūra (The Sea) by Čiurlionis. After spending many months creating fluid lyrical abstract paintings on glass plates for my performance of The Sealive with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in February, I now feel the need to return to working with watercolour on paper in the studio, with that music in the background. 

 Taking the plunge, 65 x 38 cm. (sold)

How to face your deepest fear? Take your Chinese brush, take a deep breath............
then just let go.


Post a Comment