|Sea, Sand and Me, Watercolour Painting, Fine Art|
Purity is a popular concept among artists. It goes further in visual art through watercolour.
Purity of watercolour emphasises in the clean washed and limpid execution, bereft of body white, maintaining transparency and at the same time achieving luminosity.
This concept began, not as many collectors think, with Joseph Mallord William Turner, RA (1775 – 1851) and his immediate followers.
It really began between the wars with artists like Philip Wilson Steer OM (1860 – 1942), American artist John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925) with more than 2,000 watercolours, Scottish artist and illustrator Sir William Russell Flint (1880 – 1969), English artist Edward Seago RBA ARWS RWS (1910 – 1974) a War Substantive Captain with honorary rank of Major, 1944; English watercolour artist Edward Wesson (1910 – 1983)..
It was Rowland Frederick Hilder OBE ( born in New York, 1905 – died 1993, an army Camouflage Officer during WWII) an English marine and landscape artist and book illustrator, who likened watercolour painting to the elegance of the string quartet against the sonority, breadth, thrust and impact of oil paintings. It is this delicacy and freshness of the one-time application of paint which appeals to him.
The visual concept of purity in watercolour art is a significant development. It is continued until today...
I have listed a few facts of time and involvement as proofs that purism invented and developed by these war time artists were not the concept of the elites, the snooty, the snobbish, the arrogant but of generations who had lived, seen or directly affected by the worst of human conflicts which made hunger, sorrow, suffering, hopelessness, fear, death and decay ... an unforgettable experience. At the point one might have thought that there would not possibly anything we could benefit from the total destructive misery of war, there came a concept of fine purism in visual art for the eyes to see!...
I think of a famous quote from Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." The statement expressed the tendency of human soul that search for purity. The general term "dust of everyday life" showed the artist did not pay much attention to it. Art sets free and purifies the soul. I do not glorify wars. In Picasso case, world wars seemed to be elements adding to the motivation. The artist produced huge volume of works through out 75 years career. Being able to live with art had turned negative into positive in extreme situations.
As part of survival, human soul has the tendency to seek for purity. In the dark, the eyes seek for light. In war, the soul searches for peace, purity of life! This desire is portrait through the concept of purity in watercolour art. No other times in human history, darkness blanketed the souls like the experience in times of World Wars. No other time in Art history the artist soul searched for purity was so clear. The result of this search is something purer than the pre war purist concept. Watercolour Purism with all requirements, represents reaction of human souls to all darkness in war times. With evolving current world conflicts, an escape of the soul into the purest form of life would naturally continues...
"Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the purest of them all?"... I guess ..I am trying to find answer..
The delicate properties of watercolour gave chance to artists to explore the challenge and drive the concept of purity to its finest. Why pushed it? .. it was nothing more than a desire to uplift the soul out of its misery.. seeking for a moment of delight with effortless poetry!... looking around I think it is more than just a human tendency ...
The creation of watercolour purity concept was in stark contrast with the war environment where flooded infested trenches and muddy fields were soldiers living environment. Was inspiration for purest form of purity in art coming from a spirit above?
No matter what state of the world, the concept of purism in watercolour guides the mind and the hands of painters to seek for beyond boundaries. .. I wonder why is the speedy execution required by this concept? .. I can't help but thinking about speedy machines required for the battles in the air.. the speedy response of people on the ground for survival.. speedy response with muscles, heart and soul...
Pure watercolour itself has special beauty because our soul always searches for purity and our eyes love to see it. With war history, the concept symbolises the spirit of peace.. it is the visual language of elegance, poetry..
"Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the purest of them all?"
I found the answer:
The spirit that was with people who made ultimate sacrifice ..on the ground, in the sea and the sky. That spirit is the Purest of Them All.