My work is Fine Art in Watercolour. Milton Glaser tells us the term “fine” comes from Metallurgy. Metals are refined to improve their quality (refining is usually done by fire – a solemn thought). In watercolour this means developing skill to observe, design and apply line and colour. It means sitting down to paint when it feels easy and when it feels like a slog. It means submitting work for unrestrained criticism. It means working for the highest possible quality of each surface.
As I work I hold two concepts in tension. With each work I set out to “create the very best watercolour in the history of the world” (Warren Louw) – at the same time I lean on: “A thing worth doing is worth doing badly” (Stuart Briscoe).”
I use the best available materials. You can still see the watercolours of JMW Turner which he created 200 years ago. And the materials available for watercolour today are far, far superior to those he used.
I use Arches® Aquarelle paper predominantly. The Arches mill, established in 1492 created the paper for the Nuremberg Chronicle illustrated by Albrecht Dürer in 1493. The “Description de l’Egypte”commissioned by Napoleon in 1807 was documented on Arches. The firm also created paper specifically for the painter Ingres in 1869. Most painters in the modern era favoured this brand. ARCHES® obtained Living Heritage Company Approval in 2017. The paper is 100% cotton and gelatine-sized to the core using a unique cylinder mould process. The result is an acid-free paper with natural permanent whiteness, meeting an archival standard in accordance with ISO 9706:1994
I use Winsor&Newton Professional Watercolour. Winsor&Newton, was established in 1832 to offer a regular source of reliable colours. They offer the widest and most balanced choice of pigments with the greatest possible permanence. Winsor&Newton, were granted Royal Warrant in 1841 and remain by Appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales today.
So what (do you get)? Art communicates with us at a level beyond thought. When you buy an SJQ Watercolour you purchase a recollection of what moved in you when you were first arrested by the painting. You also buy an heirloom. With appropriate care this watercolour may communicate with generations.
Stephen also offers limited editions high resolution inkjet (Giclée) prints of his watercolours. These prints are done on 200 gm 100% cotton Hahnemuhle watercolour paper.
Crisp details, brighter, long-lasting colour and archival paper provides you with an enduring reproduction of my work. Click here for a more detailed note on giclée printing.
The SJQ Watercolour stamps
Certificates for original work as well as high resolution limited inkjet prints are certified with two stamps:
Emboss Stamp – A whisper from God
Ecclesiastes 11:6: Sow your seed in the morning and at evening let not your hands be idle – for you do not know which will succeed. Whether this or that or whether both will do equally well.
For decades I consulted with teams, by day, to define, plan and execute strategy. Then I painted in watercolour in the evening. One day I applied my strategy process to SJQWatercolour. The first question to define my purpose was “what is your passion?” It dawned on me: Watercolour! A deep, irrational yet enduring desire to paint in watercolour. Years later I heard a sermon on Ecclesiastes 11:6 and decided to embrace watercolour as a worthy enterprise, a gift from God. I decided to stop ‘observing the wind’ and start sowing. I resolved to take the risks and trust God with the outcome. This work flows out of this intent.
Ink stamp – The Creator and an unlikely hero
The two characters in red appear in the middle of the first sentence in the bible (in Hebrew). Alef and Tav: The first and the last (in Greek Alpha and Omega). It is a name for God.
The letters in black are the name of the first person in scripture of whom God said “I have filled him with my Spirit…”. It was Bezalel – the Artist in charge of building the tabernacle during the Exodus.
‘Bezalel’ means ‘In the shadow of God’.
Exodus 31: 1-5 The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.
(If there had been watercolour then I am sure it would have been on the list (o: )
A short history
I have been painting in watercolour for almost 40 years. I studied for a degree in Geology and completed a masters in materials science. I went to work on a mine in Swakopmund, Namibia. There I took classes in watercolour and began the enthralling, exhilarating and frustrating journey with this mysterious medium. I have held solo exhibitions in Somerset West and Namibia.
I am married to Aura and has three children in different stages of leaving the home.
In my other life he primes leaders and teams to clarify, plan and execute strategy. You can read about that on the website: StrategyWorks.