The sign of a good holiday…

…is when what seemed important in the first week, no longer seems to matter in the second week.

And so it was that during the first week of my holiday, I fretted about not getting my weekly post out and potentially breaking a run that’s lasted since January this year (I know this is nothing compared to many people’s output but it represents an enormous run of consistency for someone as easily distracted as myself!)  By week two however, I’d properly settled into the holiday mood and not even my weekly blog commitment was going to distract me from chasing rest and relaxation.

After admitting defeat quite early on that I was most unlikely to get any ‘serious’ painting done during the holiday – I took solace in trying to practice quick studies of people and faces. It’s long been an ambition to start to introduce more figures into my paintings and I saw this as a positive step towards that goal. Here’s a brief selection of various studies from various sketchbooks and bits of paper.

It was fun to do these and I’m hoping that, as I’m not able to do full on painting every day, that I might be able to introduce more of these quick studies into my daily life. These are all very rough and ready but, as time went by, I began to feel myself becoming a little more confident with my line and mark making. It’ll be interesting to see if I can keep this up and even more interesting to see whether any of them start to appear in my paintings!

I returned from holiday just in time to catch the final weekend of a truly magnificent exhibition of a work by wonderful and previously unknown to me watercolour artist: Ian Potts. The exhibition was a retrospective, organised by the artist’s late wife and daughter and shown at Brighton University gallery. It was great to see both large and small scale watercolours that, to my eye, were incredibly distinctive and evocative. Below is a detail of the poster image that I took:

Ian Potts poster detail

Note the brushstrokes in the surface of the water… it looks as if they’ve been bleached out or a resist has been used, but a much looser resist than any I’ve come across. I was so taken by the work that I’ve pulled together a little pinterest board of his paintings so that I have to hand a ready reminder of his work and approach:

If you’re interested in finding out more about this artist, you might like to visit Ian Potts’ website where there’s more detailed information about his life. It was great to see this exhibition, a real privilege to see such wonderful work up close. Sadly the exhibition closed on Sunday and this appeared to be the only venue. It was accompanied by an exhibition catalogue which is still available to buy. I did get a copy of this which I’m really pleased to have – although having experienced the exhibition – the quality of reproductions in the catalogue don’t do the originals justice.

Now that this year’s holiday is well and truly over, and the tan is already beginning to fade, I look forward to returning to a more regular service of painting and posting.

Thoughts on The sign of a good holiday…

3 thoughts on “The sign of a good holiday…”

  1. Hi John, David here. I posted a little while ago regarding your excellent pen drawings with the Copic pens.
    All thanks to you, I found Ian Potts! and I’m totally in love with his work and you have done two great paintings based on his. I particularly like the Road to Choupeau.
    Anyway, my reason for posting this comment was to thank you for the introduction and to ask if you might know of a link or address where I might find a catalogue of the exhibition you were lucky to attend.
    Lastly, regarding his ability to manage those wonderful reflections, would I be right in thinking that a lot of it is down to his wonderful ability to glaze. Any thoughts on that?
    Keep you the great blog!

    1. Hi David – so pleased you’ve discovered Ian Potts! It’s a great coincidence to get your message now as I was just looking at the retrospective exhibition catalogue yesterday! I’ve checked out all my usual sources (as I’m sure you have too) but I can’t find any copies of the catalogue on line. I’ve taken a photograph of the final page that details the publishers / isbn number etc. If you drop me line via my contact page on the website I can send you the image with all the details so you can try to source one direct from the publishers. It will only have been a relatively small print run I imagine but I think this may be your best bet. Hope this is helpful David – best wishes (and many thanks for the kind comments about my Ian Potts efforts and the blog!)

  2. Pingback: Back to watercolour basics…

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