Tonality : ‘Avec Nostradamus ( La Nuit de Temps commencant à la Fontaine de St Rémy)’

 ‘Avec Nostradamus ( La Nuit de Temps commencant à la Fontaine de St Rémy)’
Watercolour, Arches, quarter ‘jesuit’ sheet.
© The Artist.
300 euros

I didn’t paint this watercolour last week, as I was very busy teaching one of my Painting Holidays au Chateau de Lanquais, France

night-time plein air

This watercolour was another of my night-time plein air pieces. St Rémy de Provence is the birth place of Nostradamus; there’s a little fontaine erected to honour this visionary. The night of time, the flowing out of water, the passing of time, Janus-like, we strive to see into the future, understand the past & … live in the present.

tonality & ‘notan’

The reason why I post this as it continues on with the recent theme of tonality & ‘notan’ that I’ve been thinking about out loud here in this blog. One of the interesting concepts behind the japanese idea of notan is that black & white can be used as a design tool rather than a strict ‘draw what you see’ policy. Tonality is crucial for watercolour, probably even more so than for opaque mediums such as oils. Diluting, painting with beautiful transparent washes of clear water…. A precision of tone much finer & far more subtle than anything that can be achieved with buttery oil paint, with all that business of adding of white.
To prove the point, see what happens when I strip the colour out the above jpeg. The design decisions that I consciously & deliberately made become more apparent.

greyscale via PS elements