Monday, February 21, 2011

Sheila Hancock Brushes Up: The Art of Watercolours

It was good to see Sheila Hancock on BBC1 tonight describing her enthusiasm for watercolour in plain words. Her commentary was a refreshing change from the pretentious obscurity of the language often used by art critics.

I never knew Alexander Cozens ended up in an asylum following what we would now describe as a nervous breakdown. A doctor at the asylum bought his watercolours but the commentery didn't make clear if this was Dr Monro who took Girtin and Turner under his wing when they were young. Dr Monro encouraged them to make copies of his watercolours - probably some by Cozens - to learn their craft.

There were some stunning watercolour sketches done by a soldier who had served Afghanistan and another by the much neglected Paul Nash. He was a war artist too but it was refreshing change to see a watercolour by Nash of a stand of trees on the Wiltshire downs. Refreshing because it was so different from the work of most contemporary watercolourists.

I must download the programme with BBC iPlayer to watch it again.…