DVD: Atmospheric Watercolours – painting on location || David Curtis

If you’re already a fan of David Curtis, you know what you’re expecting and this new film won’t disappoint. David is a master of working on location, of plein air painting, and he can produce results, in inhospitable conditions, that many artists would find hard in the comfort of the studio.

His trick, if it is one, is to create an impression, to suggest details and atmosphere, inviting the viewer to fill in what they expect, rather than to record a scene in detail. His skill, of course, is to get that viewer to expect the right thing, and that’s all in those magnificent washes.

There are six paintings here, if you count intermediate sketches, which I think we should as most of us would call a work like that a painting and happily hang it on the wall. Locations are divided between the Langdale Valley in the Lake District and North Cornwall.

Various details stand out: the use of washes I referred to earlier, a comment “This needs to be built up gradually. I don’t want to get into the dark too early, for fear of losing the way”, and David’s use of masking fluid to identify, define and protect what will be significant details right from the very outset of working. When the paintings seem just to coalesce out of a series of variegated and graduated washes, this amount of foresight and planning is significant.

This is, at two hours, a generous film and David is also generous with his time and commentary.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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