And so to London for the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. It was the opening weekend and, by the time I got there, already thronging with visitors.

A photograph of the main gallery space at the Mall Galleries, with a huddle around David Poxon RI in the middle of the room.
The main gallery space at the Mall Galleries, with a huddle around David Poxon RI in the middle of the room.

My visit also coincided with a demonstration by David Poxon RI and it was a real treat to punctuate my viewing of the exhibition with little check-ins on his demo. I’m grateful too that he gave me permission to take a few snaps:

A photograph of David Poxon RI demonstrating
David Poxon RI demonstrating
A photography of David Poxon RI demonstrating
David Poxon RI demonstrating
A photograph of David Poxon RI demonstrating
David Poxon RI demonstrating
A photograph of David Poxon RI demonstrating
David Poxon RI demonstrating
A photograph of David Poxon RI demonstrating
David Poxon RI demonstrating
A photograph of David Poxon RI demonstrating
David Poxon RI demonstrating

I particularly like this annual exhibition. To be able to see such a range of water-based paintings – from photo-realism to abstract expressionism, and such a multitude of approaches and subject matter all in one place is a real treat! It’s certainly not all to my liking, but there’s no questioning the technical ability and skill of all the artists whose work is on display.

If I had to pick out some personal highlights from the RI members selection of works it would be the paintings of David Parfitt and John Yardley. From the non-member selection of works, I particularly like works by Keith Hornblower, Andrew Harrod, David Howell, Srirangam Mohankumar, Martha Zmpounou, Brian Smith, Tianya Zhou and Kai Ting Sung. (I hope you won’t mind me leaving you to do your own searching on some of these names!)

As exciting and inspiring as it was to see so many amazing paintings, I can’t deny that I also found it a little demoralising. This was the first exhibition of the year to which I submitted my own paintings, and it remains the exhibition that I think I most aspire to have my work selected for. Seeing the quality of the works on display only highlighted just how far I have yet to go!

The most frustrating aspect of this was that I had carried my tripod and plein-air kit all the way to London, full of excitement and anticipation at the prospect of painting in the capital. Especially as I’ve already customised it a little further since my last outing! What I hadn’t bargained on was just how busy London was going to be, nor quite how flat and overcast the weather was. These factors, combined with the knock to my confidence, meant I didn’t do any painting, which seemed like a missed opportunity.

I suppose if there was a lesson from this outing, it would be to make sure that I do my painting before I see the exhibition next time! I did, however, get lots of reference photos, so it may not have been an entirely fruitless trip!

In an effort to cheer myself up then, here are a few takes on one of my favourite views of late, La Place Reial, Barcelona. Basically, I did the first one, liked it a lot, but felt I could do better.

Watercolour painting: Red Trousers, La Place Reial, Barcelona (I) by John Haywood
Red Trousers, La Place Reial, Barcelona (I)

So I did another version:

Watercolour painting: Red Trousers, La Place Reial, Barcelona (II) by John Haywood
Red Trousers, La Place Reial, Barcelona (II)

Which I also like, even though there are few elements of the first painting that I still prefer!

Fortunately, I don’t have time to dwell on ‘where my paintings aren’t’ – because at the beginning of May, I’ll be taking matters into my own hands and staging my own exhibition. Much more on this in the coming weeks!

 

6 thoughts on “Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour exhibition 2018

  1. First of all, John, thanks for bringing the exhibition to my attention; and for a moment I thought I might see if I could go. But then, secondly, thanks for pointing out it might be better to stay away if you don’t want to feel overwhelmed by all the talent. So I’ll save my time and money and stick to local exhibitions where I feel I might stand a chance for the time being and just view these incredible paintings on-line where they are safely at arm’s length.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha – thanks Rob, and please don’t let the brittle-ness of my own confidence dissuade you from going! What I did think was interesting was that I found much more enjoyment and inspiration from the work of the ‘non-members’ than I did from the work of the officially recognised and elected RI members.

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  2. I was inspired by you to add a person to my latest attempt. It really helped the painting. I’m trying to produce something good enough to enter in the local county fair. $5 entry fee. It would be student division under senior, emeritus classes.

    How exciting you are going to mount your own show. Do you have a space yet? Are you going to send out invitations or just advertise it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to know that you’re introducing some figures into your work! As for my exhibition – I’ll reveal all in next week’s post! (It’s not actually that exciting but I have to take my highs wherever I can find them!)

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