‘To paint a successful watercolour it seems one must know what the finished result will look like before the first stroke of blossoming colour is applied to the paper.’ (Dianne Middleton) Do you agree?
Watercolour, to me, is a journey and a lot of people would agree that in order to begin a journey you need a destination at least in mind. I would certainly say this is true of my larger paintings that are subject specific, but the route taken can vary considerably. Whilst I may have a finished result in mind, the devil is in the detail; individual textures or patterns sometimes arrive spontaneously. Tonal values and colour hues may change in the painting process that subtly alters the final destination from the original inspiration, in order to convey a whole sense of place and not merely a description of it.
Tell us about what the process of creating a painting – from inspiration to finished piece – involves for you.
By far the biggest part of the process is ‘time’ and the ‘knowing’ of a subject. It’s the being there, seeing, feeling and referencing it with a sketchbook, notebook and camera, before returning to the studio to develop a language in paint to convey the experience. In the larger paintings I like to research a place for its geological and social history. I then write into the painting using watercolour, in a semi hidden fashion, only visible on close inspection. I’m aware that up close the large paintings can exceed the visual field, so I do this to give the viewer a glimpse of the ‘DNA’ of the place.