winner of the Turner Watercolour Prize for 'Skye from Arisaig' (top left)
The 198th Annual Exhibition of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours opened last week and continues at the Mall Galleries until 1st May.
I went earlier this week and I have to say it was a real tonic! I don't normally indulge in comparisons but to my mind it was much better than the recent Spring Show by the Royal Watercolour Society. The latter looks at times as if it's trying to too hard to be a contemporary gallery located right next to Tate Modern rather than playing to its strengths of focusing on a medium which many people really like
The features of this particular exhibition by the RI which I most liked were as follows:
- this was not a 'play it safe in the recession' exhibition of the kind I've seen of late. There was a good mix of work of different sizes and lots of good big works with real impact.
- lots of work with really great colour - it really lifts the senses walking round. I had a smile on my face much of the time!
- the framing on most of the works really helped with the overall impression. Neutral or white frames really helped work bounce off the walls
- an exhibition by a watercolour society with lots of variety in the styles of watercolour painting on display
- pure watercolours that looked like watercolours! In other words artists who were exploiting the using watercolour paints to achieve the different effects which are possible. It's not an exhibition which has become swamped by acrylics to the detriment of pure watercolour.
- Using the Small North Room to display small paintings worked very well as they were not swamped by the larger paintings
I'm sorry I'm writing this with only two days left to see it - but if you have a chance do try and get to the Mall Galleries. If you don't and you love watercolours I suggest you make a date for next year. Plus if you enjoy painting watercolours why not try entering next year's exhibition. This is how to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.
TIP: For the record, those who were candidates for admission as member had produced good quality suites of paintings generally on a theme. These typically showed a strong unity of style across the suite and it struck me that most were representative of the type of subjects that each candidate prefers to paint
Now for who won what!
The most stunning set of paintings were Bob Rudd's paintings of the Hebrides (see top) which were amazing. One of them won The Turner Award and was very well deserved.
Alice Hall won the Winsor & Newton Young Artist Prize with her painting of Wardrobe. What a brilliant way of painting a self-portrait! Plus I admire the confidence to not even try and tidy up! ;) Alice graduated in Fine Art from The University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2007.
The Anthony J Lester award went to Chris Myers RI, RBA for Snowed In
The Frank Herrings & Son Easel awards went to David P Williams for Eggingham before the snow
Kevin Hughes RI won the Buzzacott Award for his watercolour painting of Heckwood Quarry, Dartmoor
As ever I liked I loved Colin Allbrooks very landscapes with very subtle coloured 'mouse' colours
Sofia Perina-Miller's large painting of Sunflowers was very exuberant Sofia was born in Leningrad and moved to Scotland in 2000 and has been very inspired by the floral art of Charles Rennie MacIntosh
Anna Dudley Neill RI's technique was very curious and resulted in me having my nose up close to her paintings trying to work out how she was making marks