Auckland Watercolour Society
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Report from the July meeting
At the July meeting, three new members were welcomed to the Auckland Watercolour Society. They are Pam Lettz, Evelyn Shute and Graham Langford.
As guest speaker and for the critique we were fortunate to have James Lawrence, BFA, MFA, BA in biology. James has been a professional artist and teacher for over 30 years, gaining his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking in 1973 at the Otis art Institute in California. His paintings are sold in New Zealand and many overseas countries. Through the years, James has been involved with many exhibitions throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, Taiwan and Japan. He was included in California Design 76 and selected for a printmakers exhibit at the Californian Museum of Sciences and Industry. His work has featured in Home Magazine, Californian Printmakers Printz Magazine and Décor Magazine.
For James, the primary aim in producing any work of art is that of involving the viewer. James emphasises the importance of capturing the interest of his audience and arousing their curiosity allowing questions to arise within the viewer. “To achieve this end, I constantly experiment with the subject matter, media and form, because it continually challenges me to further my range of expression. This attitude enables growth to be automatic and leads me into areas that are always new and different and hopefully stimulating and exciting to view."
For his talk James showed 2 abstract designs in acrylic, one finished and another where the beginning foundation had been applied. James demonstrated how he approached the painting of a typical abstract by showing us how he started a canvas with random marks and developed it by considering colour, form and the relationships of shapes in the final composition. To prepare his base, James works in moulding paste, gesso and sand, developing texture and directional movements, which are important in the finished work and change in the light. He uses plastic comb-like structures and metal spatulas to produce the varied textures and sweeping movements. There is no image in his mind when he starts, and the painting develops intuitively. He works on 9 or 10 designs at once. He also showed some finished (or more developed) canvases to conclude a fascinating talk about abstract painting.
In his critique of our works, he gave many helpful comments and advice on composition, colour, texture, value and the translucent atmospheric, transparent nature of the watercolour medium. James remarked that painting itself was abstract; he opened up a new world for watercolour explorations.
Roy Boston introduced us to the video "Watercolour on Location" by Joseph Zbukvic, fitting to next month's challenge, "Boats in a Marina". The free swish of the brush was remarkable, along with his restrained use of colour.