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28 January 2013 - Struggling with 'tightness'

I have always struggled with 'tightness', that is, the tendency to get too detailed in my painting. I was first drawn to watercolour by a book I read many years ago which had superbly loose paintings and I am a great admirer of John Singer Sargent as a watercolourist, for example this painting of his titled 'A horse and two oxen at a ford', which shows his ability to define the subject with a few strokes.

On Friday 9 November 2012 I went to a presentation by Peter Jarvis at the Cobbett Road Library Community Room.

Peter is a good speaker who describes himself as a professional illustrator and an amateur artist. He specialises in architectural paintings and some of them were on display at the library, they may also be seen on his website, www.pjarvis.co.uk. His paintings fall into the photo-realistic school of painting of which another example is the American artist, Georg Shook. They are really good examples of photo-realism and I do not know how he achieved the texture on the 'Hulk on the Itchen' http://pjarvis.co.uk/gallery/62/hulk-on-the-itchen. Note you can zoom into the picture on Peter's website using the slider at the bottom.

The first part of Peter's presentation was concerned with his own work and was illustrated with examples from his sketch books and the finished works. The rest of the talk was about watercolourists who have influenced him in chronological order. As he described the various artists he admired several of them for the 'looseness' of their style!

After the talk I told him that I thought he was struggling with his admiration for 'looseness' and his own extreme 'tightness'. He laughed and agreed with me saying, that he often started a picture intending it to be loose and then found himself adding extreme detail. It was nice to know that I am not alone with my problem.

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