Marcus Wood

WATER COLORS

Bob White was the Art Master at Sevenoaks School for many decades. As far as Bob and my experience of watercolour was concerned there was one spot of time that will never leave me.  Eighteen of us sat in the Art Room and Bob came in, looking like a Mervyn Peake illustration of a lean old magician.  He told us he was going to demonstrate water colour technique.   He told us to look at the ceiling.  There were transparent plastic bags filled with coloured water hung in a tight circle over a big white bed sheet spread on the floor.  We looked up, and when we looked back Bob had taken out a Webley 22. air pistol.  He aimed at a bag and shot it.  The water fell in its own spirited way, then he shot again and again.  We saw colour and water fall and fuse, dance and distance, mingle and refuse embraces. Morris Louis had been out-stained and looked dirty.

After a silence when the movement of coloured waters had stopped Bob said:

'The only thing about Water-Colour is don't be afraid of the water'.  That is really good advice.

Water Colour in Powder Paint and Poster Paint

Poster Paint deserves respect so does powder paint.  Most children the world over first meet paint under these conditions.  Who knows what the manufacturer's put in the brilliant granules. It comes in vast tins like caterer's gravy mix.  You throw in water and you stir it up and you make a slop, a glorious gloop.  The rest is up to you.

I stuck with poster paints at various points because it is basic and malleable, and actually very subtle.  It's also incredibly cheap.  From cave men with their red and yellow clay, powdered chalk and charcoal, to an insomniac raging Roger Hilton (by the end of things pretty much a troglodyte himself) out of gouache and Teacher's whiskey at three in the A.M., poster paint was ready to hand and always did the job.  I still love it, and it is also the very best thing to make potato prints with, another seriously underestimated resource.

© 2018. All images on this website are property of Prof Marcus Wood