Alps near Briançon 56cm
x 76cm, watercolour on Sauders Waterford 640gsm CP paper
© copyright 1996 Wayne Roberts. All rights reserved. Private collection Home | watercolour seascapes
These mountains are approximately halfway between Geneva and the Mediterranean. The overall low-key
and tonality makes the work particularly unusual for a wet-in-wet watercolour of this scale.
This watercolour demonstrates a rarely observed type of transparent watercolour: one in which there is a full tonal range
from light (white) to dark (velvety blacks) but with a palette restricted to purely transparent traditional watercolour pigments.
It is these rich darks (achieved wet in wet and within large scale works) that perhaps distinguish Roberts' watercolours
within the history of the medium. He acknowledges an indebtedness to the great (and in his view, underrecognised)
watercolour giant, the late Hungarian/American watercolorist Ted Kautzsky. Kautzsky's dramatic mountainscapes,
seascapes and skies in transparent watercolor (in his book, 'Ways with Watercolor') inspired Roberts from the very first day
he picked up a watercolour brush (aged 13).
"Soft-focus but intensely deep darks demand critical timing and moment-by-moment interation with the colours and
shapes morphing and merging on the surface. A continual readjustment of the relative dampness of brush and paper during
active painting is mandatory if 'backruns', 'blooms' or 'bleeds' are to be avoided in dark watercolour washes with
soft-focus edges or transitions. The dampness of each must be closely observed, and water must be added to the brush
and/or paper, or, water must be withdrawn from the surface or the brush: there must be a bidirectional exchange of water
between brush and paper, interactively, in real-time, and the artist must be attuned to this flux and be able to adjust these
dynamics with precision, speed and facility, so that, he or she is able to concentrate on the art, the emerging shapes,
the composition. Technique alone is not enough.
Water is the 'invisible hand' in every watercolour painting. But spirit is that
which breathes life into paint and transforms it to art." ~WR 2008
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