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Artist Statement – SJQ Watercolour

I seek to paint, in watercolour, what I see of the hand of the Creator in the midst of a run-down world.

His hand is often hidden in plain sight.  Details of His care may reveal themselves only with the scrutiny required by painting, like Mia the Jack Russell’s fine, white eyelashes.  The hand of a creator is also visible in the functional mundane, everyday scenes like dishes in the sink.

I like best to paint on site and from life.  My very first watercolours were painted on site.  It just seemed to be the thing to do.  I only realised decades later how much I like to be on site, absorbing the scene and tuning out passers-by.  As I took classes years later I still intended to paint on-site.  I was daunted by how difficult it was to create a decent finished product.  So for a long time I worked from photos.

Then one day I decided it was time to get out there.  I gathered my kit and went down to Kogel Bay.  That day I did a painting of two cyclists smoking a joint on a nearby rock.  Since then I have had the most fun sitting out there painting what I see.  I have created many messes and a few remarkable works.

And now I wonder how I can use watercolour to describe brokenness and pain in the light of the redemption of all things, won at such high cost and given so freely.  My next quest.

This is my quest.

Life really is an adventure. And the richness of living is reserved for those who set aside the ephemeral comfort of the safe approach to embrace the drama of a life lived at risk. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the world of watercolour where bold colours and wild washes have every chance of failure but every now and then produce remarkable work. This is my quest.

I love painting on site and from life. And I love splashing watecolor washes down, allowing the water and the colour to produce their own magic.

And I mean “love”.

After so many years of colouring within the lines I want my portraits, figures and landscapes, to show this complete and utter lack of fussy carefulness.

Stephen J. Quirke
Stephen J. QuirkeWatercolor Painter

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