Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibitors provide an insight into their creative process

We were delighted to have exhibiting artists Janet Darley and Day Bowman conducting demonstrations during the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition at the Mall Galleries this September.

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Janet Darley lives and works in Kent, both as an artist and a teacher, running workshops at her home and in schools. In an article in Kent Life online Sarah Sturt describes Janet’s work as being characterised by ‘bold, stylised yet atmospheric depictions of Kent scenery’ and provides a detailed explanation of the artist’s process, which begins with a sketch or a photograph, progresses to underpainting in plain watercolour, and concludes with working in gouache on top. By building her paintings up in this way, using contrasting colours to pull some parts of the landscape forward and push others backward, Janet is able to create a striking sense of depth, and it is this technique that was the focus of her demonstration.

Janet Darley encouraging visitors to participate during her demonstration

Day Bowman likes to explore landscapes that most people would make a conscious effort to avoid, or perhaps not even notice at all. Landscapes that are desolate, deserted and bleak-perhaps even haunted in some way. She quotes the writer John Banville who, writing about urban wastelands, describes how ‘the jagged windows of the disused factories flashed with mysterious significance in the slanted autumn sunlight. And here too I saw all manner of ghosts, people who could no longer be alive, people who were already old when I was young, figures from the past, from myth and legend. In those vacant streets I could not tell whether I was moving among the living or the dead’ (Eclipse). Day claims that she doesn’t start out with an artistic vision; rather, a loose collection of ideas that are worked through and worked out through the process of painting. This process was what she revealed to visitors during her demonstration, focusing on the way in which she uses gouache and pencil on paper.

Day Bowman experiments with gouache and pencil on Saunders Waterford Paper

In their demonstrations both artists used Saunders Waterford HP Paper in High White shade, manufactured by St Cuthberts Mill. St Cuthberts Mill specialises in manufacturing high quality artists papers. It produces its paper using one of the few remaining Cylinder Mould Machines left in the world, operated by skilled craftsmen who have learned their profession through years of training. All of the materials that St Cuthberts Mill uses are specially selected for their purity. For example, the water that is used is sourced from the River Axe, whose waters have been naturally filtered through the Limestone in the Mendip Hills and which have the highest level of classification for cleanliness and biodiversity.  Saunders Waterford, which is just one of the paper produced by St Cuthberts Mill, is an exquisite watercolour paper with an attractive surface created using natural woollen felts that give it a distinctive random texture. Each sheet is buffered with calcium carbonate which helps to protect an artist’s work from discolouration caused by atmospheric pollution.

St Cuthberts Mill

The demonstrations given by Janet and Day added another dimension to the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition by allowing visitors to gain an insight into and an understanding of the artists’ process. They also provided visitors with an interactive and dynamic way to learn about and be inspired by the potential of watercolour.

To view this year’s collection of watercolours which together comprise the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition Exhibition, visit the Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham between 24-29 October or Guildford House Gallery, Guildford, between 10 December-28 January.

2016 Exhibition now showing…

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THE MALL GALLERIES, THE MALL, LONDON SW 1  Until Saturday 24th September 2016 Open 10am – 5pm Daily  Admission Free

Now in its 29th year, the competition is the largest and most prestigious showcase of contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. Generously supported by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy, investment management and tax group, the competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour.

The First Prize of £10,000, is this year awarded to Kathryn Maple, for Sandy Shoes, a stunningly vibrant painting in which the colourful mosaic of domestic space cascades into the equally colourful natural space of the Southwest Indian Vypin Islands. Maple says that she has “… always been interested in interior/exterior places – and parts of India really feel like a green house waiting to explode.  Sandy Shoes looks at the filtered shapes and vibrant colours I experienced in the Vypin Islands.”

Maple studied for a BA in Fine Art Print Making at The University of Brighton before taking a Postgraduate Programme at the Royal Drawing School. A practicing artist, living and working in London, Maple has held residencies at Dumfries House and The Muse Gallery.

Chloe Le Tissier is awarded the Second Prize of £6,000 for Never Alone, which is painted upon graph paper and depicts the figure of a man standing over a pool against the backdrop of a villa luscious with tropical flora.  Le Tissier studied at The Slade School of Fine Art before, like Maple, completing a Postgraduate Programme at the Royal Drawing School. Of her playful and intriguing practice Le Tissier says, …I seek a moment where the paint takes over and something unexpected happens. I work from life as well as from photographs, fabric and the memory of a place. The process of painting and creating a composition is as important to me as the choice of subject matter. Delicately building a sense of depth, colour and light, I use the surprisingly robust nature of watercolour to create tension across the page, loading the brush and layering. This in turn reveals the imagery; the pulsating rhythm of a woodland or the flow of water leading to a man clothed only in shadows, on which our gaze falls.”

The Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500 goes to Janet Kenyon for Gridlock (Manhattan). Kenyon lives and works in Carlisle and studied for a BA in Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic where she began to experiment with the possibilities of watercolour. For Kenyon it is “… the capturing of natural & artificial light, in my paintings, and the way it interacts with the landscape, alongside the unexpected perspective and sense of space, that ignites my imagination.”

The 2016 judging panel includes Akash Bhatt, Winner of Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015; Sara Dudman, artist; Simon Oldfield, Director of Simon Oldfield Gallery; Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, and Louis Wise, Critic and Writer, The Sunday Times.

The shortlisted works are on show at the Mall Galleries, London from 19 – 24 September 2016, and will continue to tour to venues across the UK, including Parabola Arts centre, Cheltenham (24 – 29 October 2016) and Guildford House Gallery, Guildford (10 December 2016 – 28 January 2017)

The Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize

In this year’s Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500 was awarded to Janet Kenyon for Gridlock (Manhattan) – an intricate and captivating portrayal of the New York vista.

Born and brought up in Bolton, Lancashire, Janet studied for two years at Bolton College of Art and Design. In 1977 she moved away from Bolton to study at Leeds Polytechnic and later gained B.A. Honours in Graphic Design. It was here she began to experiment in watercolour and has since continued to push the boundaries of this medium.

Gridlock (Manhattan) is unique in the way it captures both natural and artificial light, offering an unexpected perspective and sense of space. Janet’s inspiration for this piece came during a recent trip to New York, whilst viewing the city from The One World Trade Centre: ‘I was taken by the sheer expanse of buildings all concentrated into a relatively small area. The way the light and shade played on the structures, all fighting for space, organised, yet chaotic, caught in a gridlock with the only option left but to climb ever more vertical.’ Janet Kenyon 

Gridlock (Manhattan), Janet Kenyon

Gridlock (Manhattan), Janet Kenyon

 For the first time, this year Smith & Williamson staff and partners selected the winner of the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize. The judging process was led by Charles Winter who is a partner of Smith & Williamson Investment Management. Charles was struck by the strong graphic elements within Janet’s painting and said that ‘without being overly detailed’, the piece ‘gave the viewer an overwhelming feeling of endless humanity crushed into a small space.  The layering of buildings in a grid format chimes well with the difficulty of moving around a modern day metropolis.’

Gridlock (Manhattan) by Janet Kenyon will be exhibited as part of The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London 19 – 24 September 2016.

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016 – Winners Announcement

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is delighted to announce the prize winners of the 2016 Competition. Now in its 29th year, the competition is the largest and most prestigious showcase of contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. Generously supported by Smith & Williamson, the accountancy, investment management and tax group, the competition aims to celebrate and reward excellence and originality in the medium of watercolour.

The First Prize of £10,000, is this year awarded to Kathryn Maple, for Sandy Shoes, a stunningly vibrant painting in which the colourful mosaic of domestic space cascades into the equally colourful natural space of the Southwest Indian Vypin Islands. Maple says that she has “… always been interested in interior/exterior places – and parts of India really feel like a green house waiting to explode.  Sandy Shoes looks at the filtered shapes and vibrant colours I experienced in the Vypin Islands.”

Sandy Shoes, Kathryn Maple

Kathryn Maple, Sandy Shoes – winner of The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016

Maple studied for a BA in Fine Art Print Making at The University of Brighton before taking a Postgraduate Programme at the Royal Drawing School. A practicing artist, living and working in London, Maple has held residencies at Dumfries House and The Muse Gallery.

Chloe Le Tissier is awarded the Second Prize of £6,000 for Never Alone, which is painted upon graph paper and depicts the figure of a man standing over a pool against the backdrop of a villa luscious with tropical flora.  Le Tissier studied at The Slade School of Fine Art before, like Maple, completing a Postgraduate Programme at the Royal Drawing School. Of her playful and intriguing practice Le Tissier says, …I seek a moment where the paint takes over and something unexpected happens. I work from life as well as from photographs, fabric and the memory of a place. The process of painting and creating a composition is as important to me as the choice of subject matter. Delicately building a sense of depth, colour and light, I use the surprisingly robust nature of watercolour to create tension across the page, loading the brush and layering. This in turn reveals the imagery; the pulsating rhythm of a woodland or the flow of water leading to a man clothed only in shadows, on which our gaze falls.”

Chloe Le Tissier, Never Alone - £1400

Chloe Le Tissier, Never Alone – second prize in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016

The Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize of £1,500 goes to Janet Kenyon for Gridlock (Manhattan). Kenyon lives and works in Carlisle and studied for a BA in Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic where she began to experiment with the possibilities of watercolour. For Kenyon it is “… the capturing of natural & artificial light, in my paintings, and the way it interacts with the landscape, alongside the unexpected perspective and sense of space, that ignites my imagination.”

Janet Kenyon, Gridlock (Manhattan) -

Janet Kenyon, Gridlock (Manhattan) – winner of the Smith & Williamson Cityscape Prize

The 2016 judging panel includes Akash Bhatt, Winner of Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2015; Sara Dudman, artist; Simon Oldfield, Director of Simon Oldfield Gallery; Desmond Shawe-Taylor CVO, Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, and Louis Wise, Critic and Writer, The Sunday Times.

The shortlisted works will be shown at the Mall Galleries, London from 19 – 24 September 2016, and will continue to tour to venues across the UK, including Parabola Arts centre, Cheltenham (24 – 29 October 2016) and Guildford House Gallery, Guildford (10 December 2016 – 28 January 2017).

Janet Darley – Preparatory Sketches

In preparation for her watercolour demonstration at the Mall Galleries, Janet Darley has produced a selection of sketches and preliminary paintings on Saunders Waterford HP High White 425gsm paper. This is a 100% cotton paper with a gelatine surface sizing, mould made at St Cuthberts Mill in the South West of England. Here Janet has used the new improved HP paper, which has a wonderfully smooth surface.

IMG_1394 Shortlisted for this year’s Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Janet creates striking compositions by overlaying watercolour and gouache – a process which she’ll be exploring in her upcoming demonstration.

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You can see Janet Darley’s painting  Elmley Marshes, Sheppey in The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition exhibition at the Mall Galleries, London (19 – 24 September 2016).

Janet’s demonstration, Layering Watercolour will take place on Tuesday 20 September 11am – 4pm and promises to offer an insight into her unique creative practice.

ARTIST DEMONSTRATIONS FROM 2016 EXHIBITORS JANET DARLEY AND DAY BOWMAN

We are delighted to announce that there will be artist demonstrations running during The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition exhibition, led by two of this year’s exhibitors.

On Tuesday 20 September, Janet Darley will show visitors how to overlay watercolour and gouache to create dynamic, striking compositions. Janet references organic forms and found objects to produce abstract, impressionistic images recognised for their strong sense of colour.

Janet Darley, Elmley Marshes, Sheppey selected for The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016

Janet Darley, Elmley Marshes, Sheppey – selected for The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016

Day Bowman will provide an insight into her creative process on Friday 23 September, demonstrating her dynamic and innovative use of gouache and pencil on paper. Inspired by the urban landscape, her paintings are hauntingly beautiful and lie on the axis of figuration and abstraction.

Day Bowman, Rails and Railings 3, selected for The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016.

Day Bowman, Rails and Railings 3 – selected for The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2016

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition exhibition will take place at the Mall Galleries, London from 19-24 September 2016. You can view this year’s selected works here.

Layering Watercolour: with Janet Darley, Tuesday 20 September, 11am – 4pm

Contemporary Watercolour: Day Bowman, Friday 23 September, 11am – 2pm