Q+A with watercolour illustrator Michael Frith, in conjunction with HORSE, a Frith/Mort Collaboration

HORSE, a thoughtful and dynamic exploration of the connection between two linked but independent industries – art and fashion – opened today at Asia House, Cavendish Street.  Featuring selected items from Jenny M.’s first menswear capsule collection, strikingly displayed against the large-scale watercolour paintings of Michael Frith (the source of inspiration for the new collection) the show is as culturally as it is aesthetically resonant.  Shortly after the show opened, I caught up with watercolour illustrator Michael Frith, best known for his depiction of court cases and public figures which have appeared in a range of popular national and international publications.

How did Frith & Mort London come about?

Jenny and I are friends. I gave Jenny a sketch of a horse for her Birthday. A discussion about an art/fashion collaboration ensued…

Michael Frith, Preparatory sketches for the HORSE series

Frith & Mort London explores the connection between two linked but independent worlds: art and fashion.  How important do you think the link between these two worlds is – specifically, what value does it bring to the cultural sphere?

There is a significant link. Two vital and visual mediums. Images moving upon fabrics. Wearing art. The everyday essentials with cultural and creative overlaps. All very exciting.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your portfolio.

I have a background in illustrating and designing for newspapers. I have a long association with The Sunday Times – I produced weekly watercolour portraits for the ‘Profile’ page and I was on the Judging Panel for the Singer & Friedlander Watercolour Competition/The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition for over five years.

My illustration work afforded me the opportunity to pursue my own paintings: marine paintings, larger-than-life portraits (Robert Maxwell at the National Portrait Gallery) arboreal pictures and equestrian watercolours ensued.


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For many people, illustration is about explanation, even decoration.  How do you see illustration?

My own work is more about reportage and observation. The hand-crafted illustrations/portraiture etc. provide a change of perspective and pace within a publication, a situation currently not in vogue what with the immediacy of the iPhone culture and the 5 minute attention span.

Your watercolour work is characterised by immediacy and freshness, an atmosphere created through the use of subtle brush splatters and bleeds.  Tell us a little bit more about the techniques that you use to generate atmosphere.

I think that the work has to answer for this one.


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The watercolours which you will be exhibiting as part of Frith & Mort London are large-scale pieces, a format that is unusual for the medium.  Why did you choose to challenge the boundaries of watercolour in this way, and how did you find the process?

I developed the technique of using watercolour at speed whilst working for a daily newspaper. Then, in my personal work I wanted to get away from the established convention of watercolour being a sketching medium usually thought of as an afternoon pursuit for Victorian ladies! Subsequently, the power of large watercolour work on paper became more and more enthralling.

Does fashion imitate art far more than art imitates fashion?  Why?

I wouldn’t say ‘imitate’, rather ‘influence’. There is a symbiosis between the two – they influence each other. Art has always reflected society’s nuances and fashion responds, as do all of the arts.  Vice versa is true also and so the circular process continues indefinitely…

Frith/Mort London, Install Shot

HORSE, a Frith/Mort Collaboration, is on show at Asia House from 5 – 9 December.  The venue is open daily from 10am – 6pm and admission is free.  For further details, please visit www.jennymlondon.com

Watercolours come to Trowbridge!

Tracy Sullivan from Trowbridge Arts.

Exhibition of the Sunday Times Water Colour Competition at Trowbridge Town Hall
Photo: Diane Vose

The exhibition of abstract, figurative, contemporary and traditional pieces are currently lining the walls of the town hall, giving locals a chance to gaze upon the impressive works until December 27.

“We are really fortunate to have these wonderfully impressive paintings in our town hall. It shows that we are becoming an appealing and sought after venue,” said Tracey Sullivan, Trowbridge Arts director.

“It took a good week to set it all up, carefully putting everything into place and making it safe and secure.

“We have worked with Parker Harris before, who co-ordinate all of this, so it is great to work with them again. There has been a steady flow of people coming in since we opened the exhibition.

“Hopefully this can encourage local people to enter their own works in competitions as you could one day be involved in this too.”

For further information please visit : www.trowbridgearts.com

After the Trowbridge exhibition, the show will open at Guildford House Gallery from 13th January to 10th March 2018.

.ART invites you to join a unique and creative online community

.ART is a new and exciting project which allows you to communicate “who you are and what you do” to the whole world.

You can create a unique .ART domain name which reflects the nature of your website and your creative practice. Let’s imagine that you want to create a website which is called “design”. Why not have http://www.design.art? Now you can have meaning on both sides of the dot.

Why not join the other art institutions, artists, musicians, curators, dealers, creative and simply talented individuals who have already joined the .ART community? Adopters include Tate, Guggenheim Museum, Rolls-Royce, Swatch, Centre Pompidou, Chanel, Foundation Cartier, Apple, Sotheby’s, Amazon, Love Watts, BRAFA Art Fair, Marina Abramovic Institute, AES+F, Banksy, Kickstarter, Whitewall Magazine, Louvre Museum, Shantell Martin and many others.

We love art and everything about it, which is why we are participating in engaging projects, like The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Seven On Seven in New York, Investors AllStars: Digital Innovation in .ART award, to help artists and creative minds to cement their creative identity in an increasingly digital world.

Want to get your own .ART domain and don’t know where to start? Visit http://www.art.art for more information. Don’t forget to follow @artdomains on Instagram to keep up to date with .ART news, events and creative activities in the wider art world.

We are young, we are free, we are creative, we are .ART.

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017: Winners Announced

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is delighted to announce the prize winners of the 2017 Competition. Now in its 30th year, the competition is the largest and most prestigious showcase of contemporary watercolour painting in the UK.

Richard Fowler, Portishead, acrylic on canvas board

The First Prize of £10,000 is awarded to Richard Fowler for Portishead, a vibrant painting which is part of a wider series of work exploring the effects of natural forces on man-made structures. The artist has utilised cut paper ‘masks’ with stencil brushes of various sizes to achieve the sharp edges and textures of corroding steel and decaying wood. Speaking of the work, Fowler says “…the sunlight falling on the rusting steel, contrasting with the intense blue of the sky gives the image a somewhat surreal and sinister quality whilst the stark outlines and rugged shapes are reminiscent of an ancient castle or coastal fortification.”

Elizabeth McCarten, The Boboli Gardens, watercolour on paper

Royal Drawing School graduate Elizabeth McCarten is the recipient of Jackson’s Young Artist Award (worth £500) for her ethereal watercolour The Boboli Gardens. McCarten says that “living in a complex and urban environment, my work often stems from a desire to find freedom, space and simplicity. Finding and connecting to places by creating emotive responses are central to my painting process.” The artist recently completed a residency at Borgo Pignano in Italy where she was able to travel to Florence and make a series of works, including her prizewinning watercolour painting.

Annie Williams, Still Life with a Small Spanish Bowl, watercolour on paper

The St Cuthberts Mill prize for an outstanding work on paper, worth £250, is awarded to Annie Williams for her watercolour, Still Life with a Small Spanish Bowl. Abstraction meets representation in this dynamic work which is occupied by beautiful prussian blue, cerulean and ultramarine tones. Speaking of the subject matter, the artist said “most of my chosen objects are pots – I have a sister and friends who are potters, so have acquired quite a number over the years. I love their shapes and colours.”

The 2017 judging panel comprised Sarah Long, Director of Long and Ryle Gallery; Kathryn Maple, artist and 2016 First Prize Winner; Louis Wise, critic and writer for The Sunday Times and Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain. The Sunday Times Watercolour Exhibition will run from 19 – 24 September 2017 at Mall Galleries, London before touring to Trowbridge Arts (11 November – 23 December 2017) and Guildford House Gallery (13 January – 10 March 2018). Click here to view all the works selected for this year’s exhibition.

.ART celebrating watercolour: 21 September 2017, 6-9pm, Mall Galleries, London. 

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, .ART are inviting you to an exclusive watercolour event at Mall Galleries, London. Taking place against the backdrop of the 2017 exhibition, guests will experience the diversity of watercolour through masterclasses and demonstrations from some of the UK’s leading watercolour artists. The event is free but spaces are limited and booking essential, please RSVP to watercolour@parkerharris.co.uk.

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017: Shortlisted Artists Announced

Rewarding excellence and originality in contemporary watercolour painting
19 – 24 September 2017, Mall Galleries, London

Paul Gadenne, Oldsmobile and Pink Wall (2017), Watercolour, 46 x 32cm, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017.

Now in its 30th year, The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition is the largest and most prestigious prize for contemporary watercolour painting in the UK. Whether it be through abstract or figurative, contemporary or traditional, the competition aims to celebrate and redefine the beauty and diversity of watercolour and water-based media.  It offers a First Prize of £10,000, the Jackson’s Young Artist Award of £500 worth of vouchers towards artist materials, and the St Cuthberts Mill Prize for an outstanding work on paper.

Eighty-seven works have been selected from a total of 1057 submissions by a panel of leading figures from the art world. The 2017 judging panel includes Sarah Long, Director of Long and Ryle Gallery; Kathryn Maple, artist and 2016 First Prize Winner; Louis Wise, critic and writer for The Sunday Times and Andrew Wilton, Visiting Research Fellow at Tate Britain. The Winners will be announced in the Culture section of the Sunday Times on Sunday 27th August.

The seventy-eight shortlisted artists are as follows:

Alex Maczkowski Alison Boult Anastasia Shimshilashvili
Anne McAulay Edmond Annie Williams Camilla Dowse
Caroline Kent Catherine Ducker Chris Baker
Christopher Green Claire Sparkes Daphne Gradidge
David A Parfitt RI David Brayne David Greenwood
David Shuttleton Debbie Ayles Delia Cardnell
Dennis Roxby Bott Doug Patterson Elizabeth McCarten
Emma Haworth Esme Dollow Fay Brown
Frank Kiely Gary Groucutt Geoff Butterworth
Gertie Young Greg Becker Hannah Turner-Duffin
Hilary Rosen Howard Flanagan Ian Sidaway
Ingrid Greenfield Irene Lafferty Janet Kenyon
Janis Fry John Hunt Josh Crowe
Judith Logan Karen Bowers Kate Evans
Leo Davey Lillias August Louise de la Hey
Mark Elsmore Mark Fielding Martin Leman
Martin Spanyol Max Boyla Michael Williams
Michelle Cioccoloni Patrick Shart Paul Gadenne
Peter Quinn Rachael Grimm Rachel Ross
Rebecca Harper Richard Fowler Rika Newcombe
Robbie Wraith Robert McKenzie Robert Offord
Robin Storey Roger Allen Sally Lawson
Sarah Wimperis

Sophie Charalambous

Stephanie Tuckwell
Stephen Earl Rogers Suman Kaur Sylvia Alice Robertson
Teresa Lawler Tom Caley Varsha Bhatia
Victoria Dale Vincent Spain Ziling Wang


The shortlisted works will be shown at Mall Galleries, London from 19 – 24 September 2017 before touring to a number of venues across the UK.

Varsha Bhatia: Architecture in Watercolour

Varsha Bhatia is an architect by training and her love for both the delicacy and magnificence of the buildings around us is what drives her practice as an artist.  She works in watercolour because of its ability to suggest both solidity and translucency, allowing her to reproduce the roughness of brick- and stonework alongside the shimmering, shifting nature of reflections in the glass.  In this film, the second of three produced in collaboration with St Cuthberts Mill and in celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition, Varsha talks us through her method and practice as well as being introduced to the process by which her paper of choice, Saunders Waterford, is produced.

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2017 is currently calling for entries.  Visit sundaytimeswatercolour.artopps.co.uk to enter – deadline 26 June 2017, 5pm.