Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Watercolour is back


Watercolour is back – and it has a range of striking new looks!

Traditional scenes with delicate quiet washes of colour across landscapes and seascapes are in evidence in the latest exhibition by the Watercolour Society of Wales.

But they are hung among many modern paintings that feature bright, vibrant and sometimes brilliant solid colours.

This show, at Oriel Mwldan in Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan, until September 8, 2012, is a revelation.

The gallery is filled with life and colour and beauty – showing the medium in a new light, literally.

The range of subjects covers everything from portrait to details of flora, still life, to landscape and seascape and vibrant festival street scenes. And the treatments vary from literal images to the abstract.

There really is something for everyone. Yes that is a cliché, but this exhibition is anything but - it is wholly original.

Here is an idea of a few of the images that stayed with me beyond my first visit…
The traditional watercolour portrayal of Windswept Oaks in Pembrokeshire, by Sheila Edwards, delicate and beautifully finished with understated colours and washes. Hung nextdoor is After Sunset at Rhossili, by Philip Davies. Here is one of the most striking contrasts of the show. This work has strong deep oranges and blues and the look of oil paint with solid colour.

Audrey Meadowcroft brings us her Hellebores, shown in close detail, simply, realistically, without glare. While nearby we have the pounding waves of Richard Wills’s Sea Shore, which gives us the power of the tide in deep, solid hues, brilliantly executed in modern style.

Three studies of Little Haven, by Ruth Sargent, bring blocks of rich turquoise to her impressions of the tiny harbour village. She gives us her interpretation of the summer feeling of the place, leaving much to our own imagination. Quite stunning.

Wendy Yeo uses washes of pink and yellow to bring a startling original take on the landscape of Newport Bay at dusk.

Some of the paintings of people and characters are outstanding.  Cockle Women of N Gower 1960s, by Chris Last,  reminds clearly of Van Gogh’s potato pickers in style, yet the artist manages at the same time to give us a fresh view of a lifestyle.
Robert Macdonald brings the sound of Brecon Jazz alive with a streetscene full of people dancing and enjoying music.

Andrea Kelland’s work is beautifully executed, very moving in its apparent simplicity.  Her ‘Golden Pool Edge’ is illustrated here, and her Witches Cauldron seascape, also in the exhibition, brings a sense of ‘less is more’ to the show. Her work seems to be understated, yet there is depth of colour and movement.

Oriel Mwldan is open Monday-Sunday from 10am to 8pm. Entry is free.

*The Watercolour Society of Wales was established in 1959 when six like-minded artists met to form a society to promote watercolour painting in Wales, a tradition which goes back to the late 18th century. To date the society has around 40 members coming from all walks of life, many being professional artists, but all are talented painters living and working in Wales. The Society strives to keep pace with the development of newer water-soluble media so that traditional watercolour stands alongside acrylic and mixed media in its exhibitions.