The Heart Research UK fundraising project, the anonymous heart art auction – #anonartproject – came to an end at 9pm on Sunday 13th October. This means that I can finally reveal all!

First though, a quick reminder. All contributors are asked to submit work that is A5 in size. Heart Research UK send out cards on which to create your work that also have on the reverse the details for you to complete about the title and your name etc.

I painted all of my submissions while on holiday this summer. I’d taken with me a block of Arches rough that I’d been keeping aside for something special:

This project seemed like as good a reason as any to break into it! Also, as some of you may recall, I wasn’t on top form during our holiday this year, neither how I felt physically, nor about my painting. I was taking comfort, and great enjoyment from studying the sketchbook work in particular of the great Rowland Hilder, and this is clearly evident in the works that I submitted.

Here are the seven paintings, all trimmed down to A5 in size and ready to send off:

All trimmed to A5 and ready to send off…

Last year I submitted three paintings that raised a total of £358.66. I was completely bowled over by this and this year, I wanted to see if I could do even better.

Here’s how the bidding ended:

And the grand total, I hear you ask!? The seven paintings raised a total £431.99.

This comfortably surpasses the total of £358.66 that my contributions raised last year, albeit from more than double the number of submissions.

All in all, the entire enterprise epitomised a win win situation. I got to do what I love, hopefully some people get some paintings that they will enjoy and, most importantly, Heart Research UK get some money to help them continue their vital work.

Well before the end of the auction, I had a look at what I’d submitted so that I could choose my favourite without being influenced by whatever they did (or didn’t) raise during the auction.

I found it difficult to single out just one, so selected two instead:

The Old Tidal Mill, Birdham Pool, nr Chichester, after Rowland Hilder
Study after Rowland Hilder, Oasthouses

Although my £431.99 won’t go far, it’s much more than I could ever afford to donate out of my own pocket.

Should by any fluke of google/twitter /Facebook etc any of the purchasers find their way to this site – then I’d just like to say a huge ‘thank you’, firstly on behalf of Heart Research UK for supporting their amazing work, and on my own behalf. I’m sorry that I’m probably not the famous person/artist that you may have imagined me to be, but I hope that you may also have been prepared to bid so generously because you also liked the paintings!

I’d love to hear from anyone did ‘win’ one of my paintings this year and, in the meantime, I can only hope that this little collection of paintings are off to happy homes.

32 thoughts on “Win win watercolour paintings

  1. Well done with the charity auction John – your submissions are all lovely and it’s such a great cause too. I may have a go at this myself next year – it will give me a goal to work for…

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  2. Congratulations to you, John, on making the effort even when you felt rather flat, sick and uninspired. I know I wouldn’t have risen to the occasion. As for the paintings… Well, when I first saw the thumbnails I was shocked – pleasantly! Somehow the colour rendition of the first sheet of thumbnails and of the later ones on easels has the extra colour content that sometimes reproduces as rather grey on my screen – and does here on your enlargements. Anyway, there’s a lot of subtlety of colour in these that make them rather interesting. I think your sunset holds the interest because of a great sky and because of the variation in tone and hue in the foreground. (Terrible composition, of course – a horizontal field, a row of trees and a big sky – but saved by the interpretation of the light in the picture!). I’m not a great fan of Hilder because of his subject matter; despite the fact that he was an entirely 20th century artist he always harks back to a time when there were no cars, no factories, no proper roads and very few people. He’s not exactly a hard-hitting social commentator, is he? Nevertheless, he does demonstrate how a few lines and a bit of guidance in the foreground make for a very pleasant effect. I’m not one for giving – or taking – lessons on leading the eye into the picture but I think he provides a fine example of how effective this can be so that even the most boring landscape provides a feeling of well-being. I think your French fields almost get there in this respect but I can’t help thinking Rowland wouldn’t have led us quite so far off to the left – and he would have had at least one big tree at the side with a nice roundy top just to hold the whole thing together.
    I hope I haven’t come across too negatively. You should be very proud of your contribution and of you abilities. You should also learn a lesson from Rowland’s foregrounds. (What sort of a name is Rowland, anyway?)

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    1. HI Rob and thanks so much for this, which I don’t think comes across too negatively at all! There’s no doubt that Hilder portrays a deeply romanticised view of the world – but he did do it very well! I was pleased that you picked up on the subtlety of colour in some of them as this was one of the elements that gave me the greatest satisfaction. Each one was built up of much more thin glazes than I usually use – but the results felt much richer, more complex (but complex in a good way!). I’d like to bring more of this to the fore in my paintings if possible, and it’s one of the reasons behind wishing to work more on stretched paper as I think I’ve got a better chance of making this work for me. (I recently took delivery of a half sheet Ken Bromley stretcher so am looking forward to putting this to the test!) – Many thanks Rob!

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  3. Goodness, these are really something, John. Rowland Hilder himself would be proud of these. I especially like the oasthouses and the “Old Tidal Mill”.

    Well done for taking part in such a worthwhile cause. You’re a credit to yourself and your family. Those purchasing your paintings have been very fortunate to receive such well-executed paintings. 🙂

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  4. Well done, John! I DO wish you’d trust yourself to paint well and not too often just copy other artists. Show how YOU FEEL about a subject, what makes you choose it and not just because it looks like someone else’s paintings! Paint for yourself, not an unknown potential buyer. Paint the sunshine (if you ever see it!) or the TREE as you did so well and get some color in your work!
    I too have a block of Arches rough that I covet and fear (I only saw this 1 block at my local store so must order it) There are so many wonderful British watercolorists today who do amazing work…why then live in the 18th or early 19th century? Admire them for what they DID but then develop yourself today in the 20th Cent.!
    I started my 5 session class last Saturday and am very disappointed. I had judged her correctly; she just COPIES Ann Blockley…whose book I own and got quite a bit out of the book, but don’t much care for her style…overly ‘hairy’ and she does water very poorly. So 4 more weeks of poor Ann B’s hairy workshops will be more than enough for me. I’m her only NEW STUDENT, the rest are what I call ‘camp followers’ and ‘under par’!…but nice people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Margery and thanks for this. As I said in the blog, I painted all of these while I was on holiday when I was decidedly below par on quite a few fronts! I thought it better to submit these than nothing at all and have no regrets on this front. As for your ambition for me to paint in a more more 21st Century style – I’m afraid that I personally don’t care for a lot of what I see that’s more ‘modern’ – what can I say, I’m a traditionalist! Sorry to hear that your new class isn’t living up to expectations – I can appreciate how much one looks forward to getting new inspiration and then how frustrating it is only to be disappointed! As you say, at least you’re in with a nice group of people. I hope you stick with the course, you never know what may come from it!

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  5. John, great work with the studies, next year slip
    One of your own in the line up! You might get
    A very nice surprise! Your work and knowledge
    Is “enough”. Just enjoy what you make, it’s good
    and you are very talented! Heartfelt comment here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ang and many thanks for this, it’s very much appreciated! Two of the seven I submitted were ‘my own’ – and you’re right, I was surprised that, on the whole, they ‘outperformed’ my Hilder studies! Hopefully, if it happens again next year, I’ll only submit pure originals (which I did last year) – comments like yours certainly gives me the confidence to do so!

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      1. Hi Warren and many thanks for this, it’s much appreciated and I really hope you do participate next year – I find the whole experience to be very rewarding! Let me know if you need any contact details etc (I can always email you separately if you were to get in touch via any of the contact forms on the website) All the best, John

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  6. While I like all of them and your two favorites, my favorite is the one that also raised the most money. The sunset on the south downs. But I must say I do like them all and picking a favorite was difficult.

    All I can say is those that bid got bargains. Our local watercolor society doesn’t hang anything in a show for less than $150 and many sell for much more. All paintings in their shows must be for sale.

    I am also saving a pad of Arches rough, hopefully to take to Cefalu, Sicily for a class with Thomas Schaller September 2020.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mary and thanks for this. I must confess that I was pleased that my two ‘originals’ did on on the whole raise more than the Rowland Hilder inspired ones.

      I think it’s difficult one in terms of the prices. I don’t think it’s quite comparable with a standard ‘exhibition’. They did all sell for less than they’d usually be priced – but people are also taking a risk with their bidding (not knowing the artist, only being able to see images online, they’re all A5, unframed, unmounted etc). I’ll let everyone know what the grand total of the whole auction was next week as I should know that by then.

      I’m still very jealous of your workshop with Master Schaller!!

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      1. Well, I’ll bet there are plenty of UK watercolorists that do workshops. Iain Stewart goes to Scotland every once in a while to hold one. I’m jealous you are so close the Europe that you can take a holiday practically anywhere for very little. I have put to put up $2,000+ just to step foot on the ground.

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      2. You’re quite Mary – there’s an abundance of workshops but sadly time (and money!) are my main constraints! There’s a really big event next May with just about all the great watercolour masters from around the world congregating in the UK (I just got an email circular from Tom Schaller and can see that he’ll be there too!). I’m still trying to figure out if I can make it along at any point! Will keep you posted!

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      3. Next May? You have six months or whenever registration begins to try to get your ducks in a row. This sounds like a once in a lifetime, or close to, event.

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      4. haha, you’re much more on it than I am Mary! sounds like I may already have missed the boat! 6 months away to me seems like an eternity – I’ve never quite understood how people manage to plan so far ahead when I struggle from day to day!

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      5. Hi Mary and thanks for this. I’m familiar with Iain Stewart’s work. I’ll try to have a look at the programme and see if what’s left that takes my fancy. It’s my daughter’s birthday this weekend so pretty much everything’s on hold until next week now!

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