Conversation with watercolour

Anni Washington feels her approach to watercolours and style has changed since her foray into oils. You be the judge at an exhibition at the Artists' Collective Studio gallery opening Saturday.

Anni Washington feels her approach to watercolours and style has changed since her foray into oils. You be the judge at an exhibition at the Artists' Collective Studio gallery opening Saturday.

After a sidestep into oil painting, renowned Tenterfield artist Anni Washington is returning to her great love, watercolour, with an exhibition at the Artists’ Collective Studio gallery opening on Saturday, October 21.

While she loved working with oils, Anni said what she sometimes doesn’t love about them is their opaqueness.

“Watercolour is a transparent medium, allowing the white of the paper to shine through.”

She occasionally even applies candlewax to the surface, under a wash of dark colour to achieve that luminosity that is more difficult to obtain when working with oils.

“There’s a magic with watercolour; the luminosity, colours and freedom. It’s an exciting medium.”

Anni describes the creative process using watercolours as a conversation.

“When you put wet paint on wet paper, it has a mind of its own,” she said.

There’s always some intrigue as to how far the paint will run, perhaps redefining a mountain range or a valley.

“You get a response, and I’m excited by that. It’s not like applying opaques, where there’s no reply.”

She said there’s also the challenge of planning and executing a painting, as there’s less capacity to correct errors when working with a transparent medium.

Landscapes inspired by her beloved Tenterfield surrounds are the heart of her latest exhibition, and she’s happy to share her techniques on transforming three-dimensional scenes onto two-dimensional paper. Even though the casual observer may be unaware, these ‘tricks’ include flattening the cloud bases, deepening their blue shadows and using cooler shades of blue for the sky as the scene recedes away from the viewer.

Anni will be conducting a ‘floor talk’ to discuss these techniques at 11am at the exhibition opening for those interested in watercolours, from either a creation or appreciation perspective.

The exhibition is entitled Landscape – line and pattern, and fans may detect more green in the paintings when compared to Anni’s earlier works. She feels the true nature of the landscape comes out when it’s under stress, such as through winter. This collection, however, reflects leanings towards greener pastures as she feels a touch of green tends to brighten the scene.

She has by no means put away her oils forever, and may even further explore a mixed media approach to take advantage of the textures that can be achieved in foliage, for instance.

In the meantime, however, 14 of her watercolour landscapes will remain on exhibition up to November 16. All are invited to Saturday’s opening starting with a light morning tea at 10am.