Workshop and learning junkie that I am, yesterday saw me bothering the back room at the Mall Galleries for a class hosted by the talented Ian Sidaway. His work is graphically excellent, with a natural ability for composition and the patience for planning and bold, fresh execution to the work. Focussing on trees, the magic combination of a relaxed and productive day produced many enthusiastic images, test daubs, and completed paintings. Ian like many of the other painters who hold workshops, put the group at ease and gave everyone invaluable tips on how to improve specific problems. Thank you RI and Ian.
If you'd like to attend one of these workshops, consider becoming a friend of the RI. Only £30 a year and gives you invitations to PVs, discounted workshops and advice from RI members.
I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by someone who'd already bought a painting from me, asking for a version of a piece I'd made a couple of years ago in response to the Somerset flooding. It depicted the village of Langport, its church prominent, across the flooded farmland. I decided to reduce the colour palette and concentrate on tone. The painting was, to me at least, a success and was sold, received and appreciated by the new owner, a resident of Langport. Making work with a poignant reference sometimes walks a fine line between beauty and ugliness, admiration and upset. I painted this and many other scenes of the flooding with a sincere sympathy for those affected, and as a modest record of the huge disruption it caused, but at the same time presenting the devastation as something, from my distant position, potentially beautiful.
All good things come to an end, and so it was with the 205th RI Painters in Watercolours exhibition at the Mall Galleries. It was an excellent exhibition, with a wide range of high quality work, including some impressively large pieces. There is a long journey from beginning as a watercolour artist to even modest success, but I've started and although the challenges are frequent and difficult, I approach them with a dog-like enthusiasm, but with better paint brush skills than an actual dog which has paws. Better still, I was pleased to have sold my painting to a collector and possible railway enthusiast, so thank you sir, whomever you are.
If you have a section of watercolour painting you consider too dark, one solution is to lift out some of the paint. This is not always possible with staining pigments, or if you have laid many washes. In the painting below of Langport during the flood of 2014, I had painted the mid ground too dark, the whole section was fragmented and the church sat awkwardly.
To modify this problem I wetted the area and tried to lift out the paint with kitchen paper, but without success. Remembering something I'd seen on YouTube I repeated the process using a piece of Magic Sponge bought online. The result homogenised the layer with a misty unity creating, what I think, is a reasonable painting.
Last Wednesday 5th April I enjoyed the company of a large crowd at the private view of the 205th RI Painters in Watercolours exhibition at the Mall Galleries. A few hours were spent talking with a number of RI members and assorted guests. The standard of work in the exhibition is high and well worth a look if you're bow to visit the gallery before the show ends 22nd April.
Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours 205th Exhibition
Thursday 6 April – Saturday 22 April
Mall Galleries, The Mall, London, SW1
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