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Road to Choupeaux by Ian Potts


"Without obvious intention, I have explored various locations around the Mediterranean. These seemed to have happened in the summer vacation while on holiday and away from the demands of the Art Education process, or during Sabbatical study leave. These include:-

Italy, where I was engrossed by the light and shade of the marble quarries near Carrara, where I produced folders of Indian ink wash drawings. I also undertook numerous studies of bathers on the Tuscan beaches near Pietra Santa.

In Greece, the focus was on wash drawings from the Acropolis and in Egypt covered a journey from Cairo to Aswan with 159 catalogued watercolours.

In France, my attention was drawn to the wide slow flowing rivers and woodlands, particularly during those parts of the day when the air is still.

Set next to these, I undertook a series of Torver Beck, near Coniston in Cumbria. In these, the sense of the rush of water, the light and sounds of springtime, are contrasted.

Recently, a series of watercolours was the result of a visit to Venice and its waterways.

Early works hinted at a stop and start engagement as a result of full-time employment with its demands, while the later work is better bolted together in full-time studios at home or in France.

'The Road to Choupeau' was undertaken at a point when the wash drawings had subsided and watercolours took their place. The objects in the landscape were not drawn in then coloured, but their colour and totality of position flowed in directly from the brush, hence much work and testing occurred on the palette itself.

In the main, my visual interests seem to be activated or awakened by experiencing and exploring certain specific places or new environments.

Generally, different places visited result in a group of works which are thematic or have a tilt in content which casts an overall visual topic. In this sense, I see my work as a visual exploration and not as visual research. I feel I am part of the historical development of English landscape painting and it is through experience that I find I am closer to my interest with watercolours set next to the medium of oil painting.

I undertake these themes or variations in painting, often repeating specific subject matter more than once without creating an exact copy as the life forces within a single painting do not follow the same track or end with the same result. There are about six paintings or studies of the "Road to Choupeau" and as time passes, my relationship to them can change from one to another for one reason or another. This, the largest version of the subject, was undertaken in situ at a time when I had set up my French studio.

For me, two issues contend in promoting watercolour. First, I need to structure the work so that I can work from light and move through steps of time to arrive at darkness. I utilise the whiteness of paper and through the luminosity of transparent colour and construct layer upon layer of deepening colour. This demanding process leaves little space for error.
Secondly, the portability of the medium is relatively simple. Materials are light, dry fast, and the colour range is outstanding. I prefer very thick white paper with a hard grained surface, and this enables me to engage in my visual battle." Ian Potts
Artist:Ian Potts
Artwork type:painting
Material:watercolour
Measurements:440 x 600 mm
Technique:watercolour
Date:1995
Location:The Aldrich Collection at the University of Brighton
Culture:English & French
Rights owner:Ian Potts
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:University of Brighton
Notes:"Creatively, no work is set in a vacuum, much of it resides in a cultural, historical, religious context, and as such our own existence is a reflection of the times we experience. While aware of the world we live in and the world inside ourselves, personally my interests engage landscape painting predominantly, and my way of seeing it. I distrust style or mannerism, yet when I confront my subject, it is in honourable communion with nature, but where a struggle takes place as I try to penetrate beyond just looking into the domain of seeing." Ian Potts

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