Tuesday, August 24, 2010


W is for watercolour

John Singer Sargent remarked that painting in watercolour was ‘making the best of an emergency.’ That probably rings true for anyone who has given it a go. Being able to knock up a good watercolour was once an essential skill for any educated traveler but, like portrait painting, it was elbowed out of the image bank by photography. Still, as they say, even paisley ties will come back one day and watercolours seem to be having quite a resurgence after long years in the shadows. Any quick tour of dealer galleries will turn up at least one exhibition of impressionistic works on paper created with pigment and wash. As David Hockney once mysteriously said, “Watercolours are wet colours in water.” Er…right.
Illustration: Pippin Barr