Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: RWS Spring Exhibition 2013

I enjoyed my visit to the Spring Exhibition of the Royal Watercolour Society this week.  

The RWS Spring Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery
- with a Tribute Wall to Leslie Worth PPRWS (1923-2009)
Having a whole wall of paintings by Leslie Worth OBE PPRWS RBA NEAC Hon.RI (1923-2009) at one end of the gallery is enough to raise anybody's game in the world of watercolour.

A tribute to Leslie Worth, Past President of the Royal Watercolor Society
A tribute to Leslie Worth, Past President of the Royal Watercolor Society 
Dorset Beach, Ebb Tide, watercolour by the late Leslie Worth  PPRWS
(this one is behind the reception desk)
Worth's spontaneous effects with wash were the work of a visionary. He captured beautifully the transient qualities of English weather – storms, showers, hazy sunlight and mists.
Leslie Worth - Obituary by Hannah Hawksworth
It was absolutely wonderful to see again the absolutely amazing things he used to do with atmospheric washes.  I know of no other watercolour artist who has come so close to emulating Turner in his work.  He set the bar to which I hope other painters aspire. His death in 2009 was such a tragic loss to the world of watercolour.

That said, his work did point up the difference between the type of watercolours which used to hang on the wall of the gallery some 20 years ago when he was President and what hangs there now.  It was particularly good this year to see many more of the members using pure watercolour for their artwork.

I think few have come close to emulating him in terms of mastery of watercolour painting.  Those who have are members who have won the Turner Watercolour Medal.  (eg Michael Chaplin - in 2011 and Paul Newland - in 2008).  This year the Medal has been awarded to Past President David Firmstone.   See David Firmstone wins Turner Watercolour Award 2013.

The entrance to the exhibition is hung with paintings by the current and past Presidents - Thomas Plunkett PWS, David Paskett PPRWS and John Doyle PPRWS.  It was really interesting to see their different style in painting next to one another.

Round by the print boxes next to the bookshop were paintings by two artists who have a very unique style who I admire - Richard Bawden RWS RE and Jenny Wheatley RWS

Watercolour paintings by Richard Bawden

Watercolour paintings by Jenny Wheatley
I was particularly impressed by very small paintings of gardens by Liz Butler.

Glorious Cabbages (Bromyard Avenue Allotments) SOLD
by Liz Butler RWS
a painting of rust by Angus McEwen RWS - and I loved the floated deckle edge and the frame which really enhanced the painting

Child's Play by Angus McEwan RWS

Small paintings of people
on Dorset beaches
by Richard Pikesley
I also very much liked the silhoetted people on the beaches at Lyme Regis and Charmouth - as painted by Richard Pikesley RWS

At the bottom of this post you can see a video of Richard Pikesley discussing influences on his work - where he focuses on the work of Andrew Wyeth - and the processes of painting.

This exhibition of paintings created using water based paints is at the Bankside Gallery until 21 April 2013 so you have plenty of time to see it.

Links for watercolour artists:



The writer of the article seems to be preoccupied with 'Effects' and virtuoso techniques. This being something that clouds many a leisure painter guru's manifesto. A wet into wet hazy vagueness with a stroke of a hake brush, some salt and a hairdryer, all done in 10 minutes. Cezanne might as well not have existed!
It doesn't seem to enter the writers head that many others might be searching for something different from what she seems to think good watercolour practice is.
For me, to emulate Giotto or Piero Della Francesca, perhaps, but definitely not Rubens. Or Cotman, yes, but not Turner.

Making A Mark said...

I find that those who express a superior attitude and throw insults around generally have a chip on their shoulder about something or other.

Insulting others on their own blogs is one thing. Insulting the author on her own blog is not OK.

Can I direct you to the policy on comments that I have for this blog which you will find in the side column

This is my blog and I'm entitled to express my views on it.

You however are NOT entitled to rubbish my views in the manner we see above. You can express a personal opinion - and disagree with me (as people have in the past) - without being rude.

This being so, no other comments from you of this sort will be published until and unless you have learned how to express yourself in writing as a civilised adult.

Making A Mark said...

@ Michael Collins

Since your second effort at commenting was no better than your first - if anything it was actually worse(!) - I've now taken the decision to ban you from commenting on this blog. Your interpretation of being civilised is a long way short of mine.

This is being done in the hope that this might make you think long and hard before you comment in the same tenor on other people's blogs.

It also means I don't have to waste time explaining why I'm not publishing them.

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