Thursday, June 02, 2011

Your favourite watercolour painters

Following on from Watercolour - Who's your favourite painter? here's a summary of the feedback to the question I posed
Who is your absolute favourite painter who uses watercolour paints (now or in the past) - and why?
Many thanks to everybody who took the trouble to not only think of who their favourite artist might be but also highlighted why they liked his or her work.

The out and out favourite is a bit of a surprise.  Not because he's not very good but because he drew so much support from people in different parts of the world.

Trevor Chamberlain ROI, RSMA was mentioned by four separate people who each singled out different aspects of his work to admire.  Click this link if you'd like to see his work and the one in the table below if you'd like to read about him.

Overall, you favoured contemporary artists more than artists from the past - however those you picked from the past are classics.  Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent are certainly two of my favourites - and I have my John Singer Sargent calendar on my wall in from of where I'm sitting!

A Dream in the Apennine (c.1864) by Samuel Palmer 1805 - 1881

Reasons for being a favourite watercolour painter
Watercolour Artists from the Past
 (who painted in tempera)
There can be only ONE: Botticelli!  His purity, attention to detail, magnificent delicacy and extreme beauty simply cannot be compared. Tt's why, I'm sure, that the Vatican features so much of it! His work is inspired and incomparable!
Winslow Homer. Words can not even explain the beauty and fluency of his work
Emil Nolde is my favorite, his use of colour is juat wonderful. One of the first expressionists, member of Die Brücke.
Samuel Palmer is my favourite. His use of watercolour was so different and personal and has a mystical quality so far removed from many of his contemporaries or indeed those who preceded or followed him.
OK, I give up. I could go on all night. I should have stopped at Sargent. Unbeatable.
Contemporary Asian Watercolourists
I have always admired Mr. Milind Mulick's watercolours.He has so successfully adopted this traditionally western medium to suit Indian themes and subject matter.
Contemporary Australian Watercolourists
Joseph Zbukvic for his flair and joyful energy. Too bad he is so much copied now.
Contemporary North American Watercolourists

Charles Reid - I love the way he plays with paint and his use of colour. He manages to paint so loosely and yet convey so much with each stroke of his brush
Kiff Holland - seeing his watercolours in a show back in 1992 is what triggered my interest in giving painting a try. His work with glass is amazing. I have been fortunate to have taken workshops from him as well.
Keiko Tanabe - I have seen her works in magazines and on line and love her approach, colour and atmosphere.
Contemporary South American Watercolourists
For current painters, I have recently discovered Alvaro Castagnet and have been attracted to the vivid colours and energy in his paintings. They are so immediate and engaging. As luck would have it, I am going to be able to take a workshop with him this fall - really looking forward to that.
Contemporary British Watercolourists
Nominated by four different people
It would have to be Trevor Chamberlain. He says so much with the apparent minimum of effort. Truly amazing.
I believe Mr Trevor Chamberlain is perhaps my favourite watercolourist. Especially so because he painted exclusively in oils till the age of 40 and then out of pure inspiration taught himself to paint in watercolours and mastered the medium in a span of one year and surpassed most of his contemporaries. His use of colour and washes is most awesome.
Trevor Chamberlain, no question. I could watch him paint all day, but sadly I have moved away from Hertford and no longer have the opportunity. He paints en plein air, all weathers, which is impressive enough, but his paintings always capture the essence of the moment, the scane, the light and with the minimum of fuss. Pure magic and definitely a master.
Trevor Chamberlain for the careful observance of warm/cool in his subjects and the pitch perfect atmosphere.
I love the dialectics of precise drawing and free flowing semi-abstract washes in James Hart Dyke's watercolors.

Figure 1:  Your Favourite Painters

I'm going to highlight more watercolour artists tomorrow which "got a mention"

Winner of the Watercolour Calendar Competition

The winner of the Tate Britain 2012 Watercolour Calendar is Vinayak B. Deshmuk (Vinayak Deshmukh Art) who lives in central India.

I awarded it to Vinayak because his comment reminded me that not all art is western art and that there are a lot of very fine artists in Asia.  It occurred to me that maybe I should try exploring Indian art a bit more!

A calendar should now be in the post to Vinayak.  The 2012 calendar features beautiful large images from the exhibition and is produced exclusively for the Tate by

Many thanks again toall those who participated in the exercise.  I've certainly learned from it!


  1. Joseph Zbuckvic is a mind blowing painter. I am surprised he has not had more attention in this poll!

  2. Dear Katherine,
    Thank you for the interesting project. I love and admire your critical analysis and impartial view which makes this blog trustworthy(*I did sociology and know "research.") Please keep up wonderful work.
    Kind regards, Sadami

  3. Thank you so much Katherine. I am looking forward to the calendar.
    Best wishes,

  4. Impossible question, John Farnsworth named most of mine already anyway... Hopper- (known more for his oils) substance without flash, it's the subject and his view of it that's important, not flashy technique.
    Homer- same as Hopper, the subject is 'in' the paint.
    On both, you see the subject first, then watercolor.

    I could add others all day but these two I will never tire of looking at, which is the best measure of my favorites.

  5. Hi Katherine,

    Only now I saw this article, but there's one that I think is worth mentioning, especially now that I can remember his name since I always have trouble remembering it.
    Alexander Creswell.
    Few can convey light to a watercolour or any other medium as he can.

    Take care,


  6. You do know how to distract a girl from her packing! Embarrassed to say I didn't even know of Joseph Zbuckvic - but I do now. Thanks.

    It really is Sophie's Choice to name just one artist. JSS if I really have to but Andrew Wyeth has a foot in the door.


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