When we hear an interview with a musician, the reporter often asks ‘Who are your inspirations?’ and we’re then greeted with a long list of names, many of whom we know and love.
When a reporter asks the same question of an artist, they too give us a list of names, but few of us know who they are. It’s much harder to understand the background to their style and passion.
To help you get a handle on some of the most wonderful watercolour artists across the world, we take a look at an inspirational selection of 12 masters, spanning from the European Renaissance to Contemporary Australia.
1. Albrecht Durer
Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was one of the first European landscapes artists and an early adopter of watercolour which became popular during the Renaissance.
He was a versatile artist, but among the altarpieces, portraits and gothic work, nature also served as his muse.
2. Alvaro Castagnet
Skip a few centuries (say about 6) and you will discover the modern master of watercolour Alvaro Castagnet who was born in Uruguay, lived in Australia for 20 years and has now returned home.
A trainer and lecturer in art, as well as an awarded artist, he has inspired a generation of watercolour artists to paint ‘everyday’ urban and industrial scenes and landscapes. Beauty transpires.
3. Charles Reid
Like Castagnet, Charles Reid is a modern day watercolour artist, teacher and author with a string of artists who’ve been influenced by his fresh, upbeat works from across the globe.
4. Georgia O’Keeffe
Wisconsin born artist Georgia O’Keeffe, who was renowned for her flower canvases and southwestern landscapes, shifted her focus from realism to abstract under the tutelage of Arthur Wesley Dow. Despite losing her sight, she was still painting until her death at 98, directing artists to paint her visions.
5. Irving Shapiro
Many watercolour artists today point to Irving Shapiro (1927-1994) as their biggest influence. With work that hangs in galleries, corporate offices and private collections, the water and the waterside were among his favourite subjects.
6. J.M.W Turner
English Romantic oil and watercolour painter Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) is considered to have laid the foundation for Impressionism. Unlike many artists of his era, he was popular in life as well as in death.
7. Joseph Zbukvic
Everyone loves a living master and Zbukvic is all that and more with an extraordinary ability to create a magical atmosphere and mood in his watercolours. Lucky for all of us Australians, he loves demonstrating techniques which means a succession of artists learn how to create some of his magic.
8. Lourdes Sanchez
Discovered Lourdes Sanchez yet? She’s a Cuban-born artist who lives in Brooklyn whose watercolour paintings are both geometric and organic – and ridiculously fun! Brighten your room today with a Sanchez inspired print.
9. Milford Zornes
American watercolour artist and teacher James Milford Zornes (1908-2008) began painting in watercolour during the Great Depression as it was more affordable than oils.
He mastered the medium and became and official war artist when drafted to the US Army during World War II.
A leader in the California Style watercolour movement, his works featured transparent washes and the opportunity to include defined shapes.
10. Paul Jackson
Artist Paul Jackson uses incredible watercolour techniques to paint scenes that look like photographs which is fascinating given he’s also an accomplished photographer. We’re hoping his exciting style catches on more and more, so artists can continue to be inspired by his extraordinary work.
11. Paul Klee
Swiss-German artist Paul Klee (1879-1940), who was influenced by Surrealism, Cubism and Expressionism, had a penchant for transcendentalism and produced a number of expressive, powerful, colourful abstract watercolours.
There’s so much to love about Klee and it’s wonderful to see his style live on through the artistry of others.
12. Winslow Homer
If you love marine art, you will adore Winslow Homer (1836-1910) whose passion for the water came a close second to his passion for oils and watercolours.
A big thank you to all those artists who have followed in his footsteps, resulting in a plethora of marine watercolours for us to enjoy.