Monday, 15 October 2012

Sandra Walker RI

Crossing Delancy - Watercolour

Although I live in what is often referred to as a "leafy suburb", my heart is in the city - any city - but New York City has always taken precedence. 
My choice of painting subjects has always been the urban landscape - in particular the deserted, sometimes forgotten, urban landscapes of the Lower East Side of New York City, where we can thank the immigrant culture for weaving
their own piece of architecture into our lives, i.e., the fire escape.
Pictured is my painting "Crossing Delancey" which encapsulates all the qualities which I find so intriguing in this particular subject matter.

 Quaker Oats - Watercolour

Another subject which I have always been drawn to in the city is what are called "ghost signs". These fading ads evoke memories of an important era of American history - that of the Great Depression. Amazingly many of them, which can be found throughout America, refused to succumb to the forces of time, weather, fashion and urban planning. During the Depression years itinerant sign painters, called "wall dogs", travelled the country, emblazoning sides of barns
and other structures with these hand-painted signs, such as "Quaker Oats", which I found in Washington, D.C. (now, sadly, painted over).

 Delhi Wheels - Watercolour

I have long been an admirer of the American artist Charles Sheeler - one of the first painters to embrace the iconography of the machine. He was a great painter of early steam trains - and when I saw these wheels there was no hesitation - I had to paint them!
I feel that most of my work - architectural ruins, so-called "urban decay" and fading ads - give a dignity to these subjects and unearth their hidden beauty.
Images and text © Sandra Walker 2012

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Don Farrell RI

Signs II - 10"x13" - Mixed Media on Paper

I paint from memory rather than actual subject matter because this frees me from the details of the subject, allowing me to focus on shapes and planes. This leads to developing a composition by exploring arrangements and how they relate, both in my still lifes and my more abstract considerations, as we see in the painting “Signs II” (above). The considerations in both are similar, and exploring one influences how I do the other.

 Blue Table - 10"x12.5" - Mixed Media on Paper

A composition begins with arranging shapes, which then leads me to developing a feeling of space through using planes, as we can investigate in my painting “Blue Table" (above). I have used an arrangement of rectangles and triangles which convey harmonious relationships. I adjusted their sizes, colours, values and locations several times until my sense of harmony was satisfied. I enjoy this immensely, as working and reworking with water-soluble media permits the endless play. (I use acrylic gesso and pumice gels, watercolour, gouache, egg tempera (from a tube), aqua-pasto and occasionally acrylic paint.)

 Movement Over Blue - 12"x10" - Mixed Media on Paper

I will play with shapes and planes until I begin to respond to their relationships. The challenge I love is that they are not meant to be apparent—I wish the viewer to sense them before seeing them. I hope you enjoy finding these subtle notes and paths.

Images and text © Don Farrell 2012

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Deborah Walker RI

Old Harry

I currently live in Barton under Needwood and paint from my studio gallery,the gallery@Ridware Arts, Hamstall Ridware, in the heart of rural Staffordshire on the banks of the River Blythe.

Bliss of Solitude

My paintings are concerned with landscape, both in broad expanse and in close up detail and express both the dramatic and subtle ways in which light transforms a subject. I work mainly in watercolour, although I also paint in oils and have an interest in printmaking. A recurring theme in my work is the depiction of water, as it provides a consistent challenge. From puddles and ponds, to rivers and the sea, my approach to watercolour embraces both representational and abstract elements, and I try to push the character of the paint to extremes.

Sun After Rain, Old Harry Rocks

I’m lucky enough to live and work in amongst a whole network of rivers, lakes and reservoirs in the Midlands, surrounded by open countryside. However I also love to be ‘on the edge’, so I travel to the coast as often as possible to sit on the cliffs and breathe the air of Pembrokeshire, Dorset and Yorkshire and experience the wide open spaces of Northumberland. After site visits, numerous sketches, colour notes and photographs for reference, I work in my studio on heavy weight rag paper in pure watercolour – the bigger the better!

Images and text © Deborah Walker 2012

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Terry McKivragan RI (1929-2012)

Pulteney Bridge, Bath - Watercolour and Acrylic on Paper

The later work of Turner has been my inspiration; his impressionistic interpretation of a subject, his handling of painterly textures and by just hinting at the visual content, he was able to create a range of atmospheric images. I attempt to follow this approach when developing a painting in the studio.


I tend to think in terms of designing a painting; probably due to my years in advertising and finding an alternative solution to a design problem. So my work process might start with a sketch book and watercolours on location, backed up with photographic reference. 

 Going on Duty - Acrylic on Paper

Then, back in the studio, I adapt that material to create a painting by carrying out small sketches exploring composition, colour themes etc. These are done on scraps of paper, about 6”x6”, in acrylics which allows me to easily alter them. In the initial stage of the actual painting, I draw in pencil, on a fairly thick mount board, the subject in some detail, even though I know it will be partly obscured at a later stage. I then apply diluted acrylic paint, as a watercolour, establishing tonal areas which are then painted in with thicker body colours and finally creating textures using a palette knife.

Images and text © Terry McKivragan 2012

Friday, 18 May 2012

Richard Plincke RI

October Angel - Mixed Media

Having painted since childhood, I will always enjoy the world of art, and all that it entails.

I was lucky to chance on inspired art teachers in my earliest school days; specially so, later on, at Stowe. Towards the end of my time there, I abandoned plans to pursue business studies and economics, instead embarking on a full course at the Architectural Association, London.

Contained Landscape - Mixed Media

Election to membership of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours in 1984 proved to be a turning point; earlier conventional ideas gave way to a more experimental approach. This continues to evolve, and I am concentrating now on watercolour and mixed media, sometimes with the addition of collage.

 Angel Amazed - Mixed Media

It is my intention to further explore imaginative subjects, broadening the scope of my approach to them. Meanwhile, in my turn, I continue to run an experimental modern painting course during the spring and autumn each year.

Text and images: Copyright © J Richard Plincke 2012

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tony Hunt VPRI

 Entrance to a Field, nr. Warnford - Acrylic on Paper

I have several interests in painting, but one current and primary issue surrounds the notion of landscape. I suppose, by inclination, I am a painter of landscapes; but I think that our cultural engagement with the land has changed radically over the last half-century or so. My present images set out to reassess our interaction with the landscape of today. I have little artistic interest in the landscape of the past in the sense that I have no attachment to a largely misconceived and nostalgic interpretation of past rural idylls - imagined or real. Landscape - the countryside in which I live - as always, is a landscape of industry and hard work; of mud and machines; of seasons and weather.

The Poet's Garden - Acrylic on Paper

I am also interested in the way in which we read off clues that give identity and understanding to an image. If the clues shown are comprehensive, we give certainty to the interpretation of the image; where the clues are reduced we offer probability to our interpretation, and where they are reduced further, we enter the realm of possibility. It is in this area I like to work.
Scourged Field - Acrylic on Paper

Water colour, and specifically acrylic paint, is an ideal medium for me to apply to form images which stand as metaphors for, say, nature versus the built environment or nature engaging the farmed environment: freely applied paint versus geometric balancing to determine notions of nature wild and nature tamed; freedom and containment. The canvas broadens to allow assessment of opposing or complementary notions of figuration and non-figuration, or observation and imagination, amongst others.

Text and images: Copyright © Tony Hunt 2012

Monday, 27 February 2012

Robin Hazlewood RI

Dancing Greens, Barnes - Watercolour and White Gouache

On leaving art school in the ‘60s for some years I painted abstract pictures in oils. However, I became more and more drawn to nature – its subtlety of colour, movement, flicker, its visual and emotional excitement: the way sun and clouds could change everything, including my emotional response to the same scene, in seconds. I wanted to find a way of capturing this. Because of its fleeting nature I needed something that was quick and responsive. What I was after was not illustrative or typographic, it was about colour, texture, light and movement, trying to find colours that have an emotional charge equivalent to the landscape I am looking at and responding to.

Light Through a Wood, Barnes - Watercolour and White Gouache

However, the moment you start working with watercolour you recognise that, apart from its portability, the medium has its own seductive qualities – the washes, the translucency, the atmospheric qualities it can produce. Also, different watercolour papers give different light effects. Worked in the traditional way – laying washes – watercolour can be both restrictive and liberating. If you add white you can make the colour opaque rather than translucent.

Looking Out, Barnes Common - Watercolour and White Gouache

Over the years I have developed a way of working with watercolour that corresponds to what I am trying to capture visually. I do use white gouache so that I can work over colours in the picture until I get the right effect. I also use paint scrapers to create texture. Of the pictures I do directly on the spot, some I leave as finished work, others I use in the studio as a starting point for larger works. I rely on the on-the-spot paintings for the colour; I also take photographs to help with further information about the structure.

Images and text © Robin Hazlewood 2012

Friday, 17 February 2012

Colin Allbrook RI

Feeding Up - Watercolour
I have always enjoyed painting interiors, and over the years have done many of my house which often included the children as they played or watched television. This eventually led to me looking for bigger interior spaces to paint and these I found in the barns and sheds on the farms of friends. These old barns with their penned livestock and discarded equipment, laying half buried in straw, are suffused with light filtered in through dusty windows and half open doors. This gives these spaces a quiet and slightly mysterious air which glows in the half light. 

Off For The Morning Drive - Watercolour

Working in these situations I became aware of other aspects of farm life which in turn has led me to paint other activities of farm and country life. I often make many sketches and drawings on site before producing a painting back in the studio although frequently I will also complete an oil or watercolour in situ.

The Beaters Waiting - Watercolour

A tinted paper, often cream, is my preferred base for a watercolour on which I gradually build successive layers of colour washes sometimes incorporating a little body-colour in the wash. This, with the paper tint, gives the finished piece a real glow while the body-colour adds a slightly chalky haze in places. Other areas of the picture can be enhanced by using thicker opaque paint, or washing out and scratching with a blade which gives an extra sparkle. The time spent in the studio is used to adjust and play around with the painting until I get the feel and finish I aiming for.

Images and text © Colin Allbrook 2012

Friday, 3 February 2012

Shirley Trevena RI

Iris and Orchid - Watercolour

I would rather do anything than start a painting; clean the oven, do lists and even watch the X Factor.

Green Tea and Wine - Watercolour

But when I finally have a few patches of paint down on the paper and the colours start to sing you can't tear me away from the studio. 

2 Clocks and the Pea-pod Man 2 - Watercolour 
Creativity has to be torn from me.

Images and text © Shirley Trevena 2012

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

David A Parfitt RI

Being Watched by Three Cows - 15" x 16"

I find it rather odd being a painter, having an innate compulsion to make marks on paper, often to the detriment of everyone and everything else is such a strange way to behave. Nevertheless, watercolour is my particular obsession. I just love its fluidity, its uncontrollable nature and its seeming ability to be both compelling and frustrating at the same time.

Peering Through the Wood - 10" x 11"

My approach to painting is vaguely similar, somewhat carefree, but the marks which I make have to be pleasing to my eye, whatever I use to make them (brush, razor blade, nail or stick), because I am trying to create something which is not perceived as too contrived or deliberate. I am also looking for an abstract quality in the composition and an element of experimentation with the medium. Consequently, I am not always concerned about using watercolour in its purest form and will experiment with water-based mixed-media to get the effect I’m after, while all the time ensuring that the work is still about the paint.

 Surrounded by Long Tailed Tits - 15" x 16"

Much of this is instinctive when things are going well, which is invaluable when the majority of my work is painted on-site (in the Mendip Hills and Wetlands, near to my home in Somerset) and being outside in all weathers is what I find exciting. I am forced to make decisions about the painting quickly, make simple fresh marks and it either works or it doesn’t.

After a few weeks I look at this work with a ‘fresh eye’ and will occasionally refine and develop paintings in the studio – always being mindful not to overwork them. The ‘failures’ will either go in the bin or used as inspiration for new studio work.

Images and text © David A Parfitt 2012