A Watercolor Artist Who Rejects the Boring

Today I’d like to welcome watercolor artist Shirley Trevena, who creates paintings on her own terms. Shirley Trevena’s Watercolors is a gorgeous book that’s newly available at North Light Shop. To celebrate its arrival, it’s part of a Watercolor Wonderland special collection that also includes an art print by Trevena, a set of watercolor paint, and a handy dot card. Use these items for inspiration to create your own watercolor painting that breaks all the rules you know, and see what may come.

And if you have work that you’re ready to share with the world, you’ll want to note that the 7th Annual Watermedia Showcase is open for entries until tomorrow. Good luck!

Yours in art,

Watercolour artist Shirley Trevena | ArtistsNetwork.com

Pink Flowers on a Red Lacquer Table (watercolor and graphite paper, 16.5×16.5) by Shirley Trevena (Pin this!)

Watercolor Artist Shirley Trevena on Breaking the Rules

Watercolour artist Shirley Trevena | ArtistsNetwork.com

Window Still Life (watercolor and graphite pencil, 17.75×15) by Shirley Trevena, who says, “I’ve always found a strong inspiration to paint certain flowers: Amaryllis, lilies and tulips are my favorites. I love their intricate shapes created by petals and leaves; the linear quality of straight and curved stalks; and their myriad colors.”

“I realize my approach to watercolor painting is unusual. My way of constructing a painting is not the conventional, delicate watercolor style that has a strong Britishness about it; if anything, it’s turned on its head. But then, for me, taking risks has always meant refusing to take the easy option.

“I don’t draw out my composition before I add paint, nor do I use a limited palette, preferring to buy a tube of, say, cadmium orange rather than mix red and yellow paint. I use a lot of black, a definite no-no in traditional watercolor and, best of all, I don’t stick to the rules of perspective.

“From the beginning of my painting career, I searched for ways of making marks that I felt were visually exciting. I never wanted to make a perfect photographic copy of whatever I had set out to paint. I preferred instead to regard props or pictorial references as mere sources from which I could construct my own representation. I discovered I could reject information that was irrelevant or boring and change a shape or color if that made my painting more interesting.

“And so, over the years, I have developed a method of painting that appears to be loose, with the paint put down in a casual way. In fact, I work very slowly, without any preliminary underdrawing, building up the surfaces and concocting muddled perspectives and disjointed picture plains. It sometimes takes me four weeks to complete a painting. I have had to learn patience whilst the paint dries; patience when choices have to be made; and even more patience when it comes to putting my paintbrush down and waiting until morning to get a fresh look at the work.” ~Shirley Trevena

**Order the Watercolor Wonderland featuring Shirley Trevena’s book of watercolor art at North Light Shop!

**Subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and ideas, and score a free download on Watercolor Painting for Beginners: The Basics and More.

You may also like these articles: