A word about the watercolours

updated spring 2024

The watercolours are for the most part an imagining of visual experience of being in the the estuary where I live. I make them usually on a japanese paper with the idea of conveying what could be called 'direct experience', where I try to show the first building blocks of what it might be like to see a landscape for the first time. I use the simplest brush gesture to describe basic motifs of landscape; land, sky, water, tree and horizon with all the tones, compositions and relationships within. I think of these sometimes as 'bold glimpses'.

Sometimes I make thse on a standard european watercolour paper, but the bigger ones are best done on a japanese, slightly off white kozo paper. It takes the pigment in a very unique way and allows the brush strokes to look nicely singular. 

When the paper dries it is quite crinkly so it is imprtant to mount them flat for framing and display. This involves wetting them completely and then coating the reverse of the paper and the mount board in either methyl cellulose or a pre cooked wheat starch. Fo some wonderful reason the wet pigment within the paper does not run or bleed which is of course very important. Its not something the framer likes to do... quite a responsibility so its for me to do and I have to say it is one of the most satisfactory processes of the whole game I play; this large wet sheet with its intense colours made to lie flat as flat on the board with no bubbles or creases. I am getting better at it. 

I have been asked why it is necesary to mount these watercolours when it might be more ‘authentic’ not to. The answer is that when they are flat, and I mean super flat, the eye seems to take in all sorts of relationships between the watercolour and pencil marks that you would otherwise not see. The flatness is so clean that the eye is not disturbed by the slight variations of the paper surface and therefore sees a sense of depth and perspective in just the marks themselves. 

You can see the current catalogue of watercolours here 

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