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