Wayne Roberts, artist    Watercolour of figure and waterfall

Linda with Empress Falls (Blue Mountains) circa 1987
© copyright 1987 Wayne Roberts. All rights reserved. Medium: watercolour full-sheet, private collection.
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Linda with Empress Falls, watercolour by Wayne Roberts

This watercolour is typical of the work I was doing at this time: highly detailed but with 'lost and found' edges, a concern for light ... it was a period in which I learned a lot about form, colour theory and light, and the medium of watercolour per se.
I pushed watercolour beyond its typical 'high-key' range and produced some very contrasty work (as instanced here) using only transparent watercolour (no black) and a technique I called 'controlled wet-in-wet technique'. Through this technique developed out of desire and necessity, I devised a method to achieve rich luminous velvety darks to dramatise the lights and make them all the more compelling and theatrical (as discovered centuries ago in oil painitng's technique known as chiaroscuro). Nor in this period did I use opaque white paint: the whites in the painting are the 'ground' of the unpainted paper. In this way then, watercolour is akin to sculpture: the white of the paper is sculpted away gradually by colour. Once this white is over-painted, the white cannot be retrieved ...herein lies one of the great challenges of the watercolour medium.

W. Roberts, text © copyright 2002