Wayne Roberts, watercolour     London in Watercolour

Watercolour of London, by Wayne Roberts
© copyright Wayne Roberts All rights reserved. Watercolour 3/4 sheet. Private collection

Icons of London as captured in a moment...

Photography has had a profound effect on painting in the twentieth century. It has been amazing to see time-lapse photographic accounts of motion and dynamics that are too fast or transient for the human eye to fully register. This concept of the 'moment of time' which became so important to the French Impressionsists (light at a particular time of day, and the fleeting effects of that light upon forms), took on a whole new dimension and possibility as the camera became more widely accepted as an artistic instrument in its own right, its images more accessible too through mass media. Certainly artists were able to capture positions of the figure, nuances of expression, that were impossible for models to maintain during formal studio work... these were in a sense in-between states.

Here, I have first enjoyed seeking and capturing this London moment of interposed icons with my trusty old Canon camera, deciding on a pleasing camera viewfinder composition that relied on split-second timing. This is but one kind of performance art that is critical to much photographic work. Then, referring to this frozen-moment, this photographic record as a kind of musical score, I have again engaged the art-of-performance in playing it out, but this time on another instrument: watercolour. The degree to which an artist's lines wriggle in a kind of musical vibrato, the expressive handling of brush and simplification of forms, the slurring of 'notes', the observance of a colour/key signature... these were among my concerns. Also, there is a sheer joy to be experineced in the art of illusion, in capturing the highly polished lustre of the black cab yet through non-glossy colours on a textured surface, and in taking certain colour-liberties whilst retaining this sense of lustre of the metallic surfaces.

London is one of my favourite cities, and this picture of a picture is a little like the idea of harmonics in music: a resonance of adjacent strings and artforms.

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