Richard (Bill) Blunt began painting with aquarelle in 1971, as an undergraduate student in Grahamstown, South Africa. Taught by Alfred (Chink) Ewan, a retired fine art lecturer, he went on to exhibit with several groups and held his first solo exhibition in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in 2005. Subsequently he moved to Grenada in the Caribbean, where he added wild life and portrait painting to his subject matter and extended his media to include acrylic. He returned to Port Elizabeth in 2015.
Some background: Bill’s teacher, Alfred Ewan, moved to South Africa from Glasgow, Scotland, which is traditionally one of the homes of water colour painting. A representational painter, aquarelle was his preferred medium, and he adopted the Latin motto “multum in parvo” (Much in little), using the fluid nature of aquarelle to suggest rather than state. He mastered Chinese brushwork – which earned him his nickname “Chink” – and painted South African landscapes, figure studies, portraits, street scenes and flowers.
Ewan’s aquarelle courses attracted artists from all over South Africa and Bill was a regular participant, developing the aquarelle techniques of drawing with the brush, transparent washes, wet-in-wet, and the use of values (both tone and colour) to develop depth. The review of Bill’s solo exhibition described his paintings as atmospheric, created with bold, expressionist brush strokes to capture the tranquil majesty of South African landscapes. It complimented the glow of light and the attention to detail of his drawing.
Bill’s favourite subjects for aquarelle are landscapes of the open countryside in which he integrates the enduring character of the land with fleeting atmospheric effects for which aquarelle is best suited. His wildlife paintings capture the character of the subjects in the muted colours of their natural environments. He prefers to paint from reality, using photographs as the equivalent of sketches.
In this course, Bill will attend to both beginners and experienced painters who will be encouraged to share their knowledge and experience. Workshops will cover choice of colours, mixing colours, subject matter, composition, light/shadow, wet-in-wet, brush techniques, sketching with the brush, layering, lifting and values. These topics will not necessarily be covered sequentially.
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