Art Out of Control
Helvellyn, Ian Scott Massie
"Artists are people who say I can’t fix my country or my state or my city, or even my marriage. But by golly, I can make this square of canvas, or this eight and a half by eleven piece of paper, or this lump of clay or these twelve bars of music, exactly what they ought to be."
Kurt Vonnegut understood the artistic mind very well. In his novel Bluebeard about the fictional abstract expressionist
Rabo Karabekian he lifts the lid on the life of an artist and the tension that exists between control and liberation in every media.
The Old Man of Coniston, Ian Scott Massie
In watercolour great results are frequently born out of happy accidents, and so it is one of the most divisive media. At one end of the scale are the purists who dislike compound colours such as Paynes Grey (a neutral tint originally made up of red, blue and yellow), and abhor the use of white or black. At the other end (a district in which I am happy to reside) are the experimenters for whom anything is fair game – inks, gouache, acrylics, wax and so on.
Both approaches can produce great results, because both camps include people with great artistic ability and vision. Both also represent an ever-present divide between those who strive for complete control and those who wish to be unconfined.
Dallowgill, Ian Scott Massie
I am setting out to reconcile both groups through a course I’m teaching at Artison next week called Liberated Watercolour and I’m going to try a few ideas in which there is an element of control which the artists can then deliberately undermine. The thinking behind this is that many artists want to break from their self-imposed degree of control while others find that an unstructured approach comes all to easily and often want to find ways to repeat the happy accidents which befall them. I'll be letting them explore what happens when you just let the paint do the work, but also ways to intervene and channel the developing picture.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the end result allowed someone to echo Kurt Vonnegut’s wonderful words and, by losing control, find the right picture?
To book a place on Liberated Watercolour CLICK HERE
To join my 4 week course in Working With Watercolour CLICK HERE
Leave a Reply.