Saturday, 20 August 2016

Wiliam Turner II

For those of you who are in doubt if they should join the trip to the Turner exhibition in Aix: GO! It will inspire you... Here's a 2012 Aquarellista blogpost about his work.. The trip is on 16 September, by comfortable bus and the cost is only 45€ for Hangar members! 
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Turner is known as "the painter of the light" which I think is a very well-deserved title. To me his work was a true inspiration, I remember going to an exhibition of his watercolours in London when I was still in art school. I realized what is possible with aquarelle and it actually made me decide to concentrate more on that medium.

sketch Turner made of the cathedral in Rouen - look at the combination of ink and watercolours

His work is impressionist (although in his time that didn't exist!). In oil as well as watercolours Turner was the first who didn't try to achieve complete realism, but gave that away for atmosphere and emotion.
I read somewhere on the internet  that Constable once said about his work "he seems to paint with tinted steam, so evanescent and airy"... In this day and age we would consider that a compliment! But it was meant as a sneer (compare "Fauvism", now a much loved painting style- but the terminology was first used to degrade the painters as wild animals...) England (the world) wasn't ready for full-blown aquarelle and impressionism yet!

In this aquarelle (Ewenny Priory, in the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff) Turner used perspective and light to achieve a sense of vast space

Sunrise, 1845 - Made during the Industrial Revolution: it has been suggested that the pollution might be reflected in Turner's paintings

Turner died 76 years old (a respectable age in those days). From what I found about him he was slightly crazy, but a good person, and we should be thankful that he left us so much fantastic and inspiring work! Like all great modern artists he researched, in his case for possibilities to express atmosphere, emotion, scale, vastness in a painting. He didn't just use watercolours, his oils are also very very impressive, but hey, we're aquarellistas! Below two more extremely beautiful - and clever - watercolours...

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