Tuesday, March 26, 2013

David Firmstone wins Turner Watercolour Award 2013

David Firmstone MBE RWS has won the Turner Watercolour Award 2013.  This is an award which honours the most distinguished work in watercolour which can include pen and ink or gouache on paper.

This is a prize which used to be awarded at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, but the Presidents of the two Watercolour Societies managed to wrest it away and each year it is now awarded to two watercolour painters - from the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour.  This year's judges were: Rosalind Turner (a relative of Turner's), Ronald Maddox President of the RI and Andy Wood RI.

I'm afraid the photograph below of his two paintings in the RWS Spring Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery are fighting with lights and reflections - but I tried my best.  They look much better in the gallery!

Winner of the Turner Watercolour Award 2013
David Firmstone

(top) Penna - watercolour (Sold)
(Bottom) Honed - watercolour watercolour (£3,000)
Unsurprisingly the work displayed in this year's Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society is in watercolour.  I'm more used to seeing David paint in acrylic or tempera and have to say I very much like the effects he achieves when painting in watercolour.

Below is a video of David talking about his work and how he started out in art.  It's not the usual sort of story.  Nor is the manner of his painting - this video reveals some of his techniques for creating paintings.   It reminded me that Turner used to do all sorts of things to his paintings that nobody else ever did.

At Work: David Firmstone
a film by Harry Brayne
Technique is critical to my aesthetic. I constantly search for new technologies to make paintings: I use tempera, watercolour, oils and gesso to create wall-like textures with a sanding machine, I scratch and gouge out the paint until the surface reflects the way the land has been layered through time, and some of the final compositions are the result of pouring paint, allowing it to run across and stain the surface. And I can never quite remember my previous approach, so each painting is an act of learning to paint again.
David Firmstone
David has won many other prizes in his career including the International Painting Prize, Sunday Times Watercolour Prize and the Hunting Prize. His work can also be found in several prestigious collections - including the British Museum.

Incidentally, I see from his biography that David was a winner of one of the categories of the National Exhibition of Children's Art in 1956.  Which sparked memories for me as I was a winner of the youngest age category while in Top Class Infants just a few years later!

Tomorrow I'll be posting my review of the Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society - which I recommend.


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic...he was the art advisor for Cheshire when my husband was the head of art at Penketh High in Warrington and he was always interested in those who had some gift for painting. Thrilled!


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