I was naturally more than pleased to hear recently I’d been given an ‘Award for Excellence’ by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators. My illustration- shown above- will be in the ‘pre-eminent exhibition of Architectural Illustration in the world’- Architecture in Perspective 24 opening in Miami, Florida in October of this year.
Many ASAI members and their UK counterparts in the Society of Architectural Illustration play an important role to my mind in keeping alive the proper practise of watercolour. By that I mean painting as a designed response to a scene in the physical world. This requires creative imagination and the ability to predetermine an ordered sequence of washes which are paradoxically carried out ‘in the moment’- genuine mastery of a notoriously difficult technique.
This is all in stark contrast to what can be seen leafing through popular magazines on painting. Here the photograph rules. The artist who can most closely replicate the appearance of a photo is clearly the ‘best’, the most accomplished. It’s what I call the ‘curse of one-eye’. Which is what a camera lens is- no matter how sophisticated its manufacture or how clever its programming or how skilled its operator.
Just stand outside and look at your street, your garden- really look. Now close one eye and see the change- relationships of objects, perception of space and 3-dimensions. Less is the word you’re looking for.
My ’best’ illustration work has always begun with looking and thinking on location, testing viewpoints and interpretations of scenes by placing them directly onto the paper, almost not looking at the marks themselves as they are made. That’s how this one started (breaking off now and then to play football with the client’s labrador before she knocked me off my feet) so it’s a special pleasure in these ‘one-eyed’ days to see that approach recognised and rewarded.