I believe a painting benefits from having a part which is understated yet this is rarely appreciated. This year the Ludlow Art Society Summer Exhibition had a lovely watercolour in pen and wash by Maggie Humphry. She is one of the Society’s new professional members and this was the first time she had submitted work. She must have been thrilled to bits to have her watercolour awarded the Selector’s Choice.
I was admiring it when a friend who was with me said it had been frequently criticised because of an understated indefinable area which could be visually read as an area of grass or perhaps part of a farmyard or driveway. The point of the understatement was that it provided a quiet area which focussed attention on some beautifully drawn foreground plants yet afterwards led the eye past some buildings into the distance. The current preoccupation with finicky detail, a result I suspect of unimaginative use of photographs, means that artistic subtlety of this kind often goes unnoticed. A great pity because Maggie in this painting was teaching a lesson which we all ought to take to heart.
You can see more of Maggie's work on her web site at: Maggie Humphry at Pink House