Monday, 22 March 2010

Watercolour in Britain - Travelling with Colour - The Castle Museum Norwich

Before going to this exhibition I think I expected it to be full of the slightly wishy washy landscape paintings that I associate with watercolour.  However, although there were some more 'traditional' watercolours included there was a lot more to get me thinking about the medium.

I took a notebook and did take a few notes but need to feel that I am 'allowed' to be taking notes/making sketches etc as more notes and info would really help me remember what I have seen.  I also plan to write up any visits on this blog as soon as I can because I think it will help me get more out of it and make me think about what I have seen.

The notes I took were helpful as I was able to ask my Art and Design tutor and research in books and on net to find some answers.  I also wrote down some of the artists I liked names so I can look at more of their work.


  • Q - What is body colour?    Paint highly concentrated with pigment but it it a special type of paint or just not putting much water into it.  A - I think just not much water mixed with it
  • Q - What is gouche?  A - a different medium similar to watercolour but more opaque (can't see through it)
  • Interesting - Turner (and others) invented or added to the landscape to make it more interesting, appealing, improve the compostion.  DON'T HAVE TO PAINT/DRAW WHAT YOU SEE
  • Techninque - notes from a video - saturate paper before putting wash on.  Take colour back out again with a clean damp brush. Use end of brush, nail, something scratchy to take paint out - GIVE THIS  A TRY
Artists to look out for...

Graham Sutherland - I'd already seen some of his work when visiting Coventry cathedral (but hadn't registered who it was til I was looking through my postcards the other day).  I also think I'd admired his mines paintings when visiting the National Mining Museum last summer. 

I love his use of mixed media - read in gallery notes that used wax crayons with watercolour and gouche.  I find his style appealing with the straight lines and angular nature and would like to try some drawings in this style. 

Image - Graham Sutherland - Limestone Quarry

Edward Burra
I'd never heard of Burra before seeing some of his paintings in this exhibition - can't beleive he's passed me by!

Love the scale of his work - some of the paintings shown were well over a metre wide - not what I expected from a watercolours show. 

I find the surealist style dreamlike and eerie - slightly disturbing rather than attractive but I like to be made to feel disturbed!  I couldn't find images of some of the other pictures I'd admired (ANOTHER REASON TO TAKE MORE NOTES)  But the stylised people/creatures used in images of going to war are dramatic and thought provoking.  Found the work made me think of Tim Burton films (perhaps Burra has influenced Burton somewhat?)

Image - Edward Burra - Dancing Skeletons

John Piper
I think my husbands quote whilst looking at Piper's triptych of English church towers sums up my feelings well.  "Piper viewed the world in noncturnal lumesance.  These are almost like pop art"

I am particulary drawn to this one as of my home city and a view I recognise well.  The use of white splashes to highlight areas and show the light coming in.  It looks like it could be a print rather than a painting.
Image - John Piper - Norwich Market Place


1 comment:

  1. What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee,
    The image can be seen at who can supply you with a canvas print of it.