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