Producing at least one watercolour a day has been part of my studio routine for the past ten years: sometimes just a loosening-up exercise, sometimes going through one version after another. I don’t revise. I edit out a high percentage.
Watercolour painting was the first type of painting I knew anything about, learning to make washes at primary school. By the age of eleven it was all oil paint. Then in the 1980’s I discovered computer graphics, so close to painting but faster, with a wider range. Compared to today the results were crude, and ‘computer art’ had few friends among the cognoscenti. (Eventually in 2006 I wrote a book, ‘Painting the Digital River: how an artist learned to love the Computer’). Today I find it natural to switch between physical and digital paint. I also draw, hedgerows mostly, and photograph birds of prey in flight where I can. I would not call this source material, but it can help to get things moving.
If I were asked to explain why my pictures look the way they do, one way to answer – or not answer – is to mention these techniques.
I would not normally provide an accompanying ‘statement’ or guide, and usually my titles are plucked out of the air after the picture is complete. With watercolour I find the best approach is to let the fluidity and translucency of the medium do its own thing – with here and there a bit of contrast.
James Faure Walker lives and works in London, UK.