Backwaters and the water’s edge | Watercolours by Michael McDonagh Wood and Veronica Charlesworth at the Artizan Gallery, Torquay

Michael McDonagh Wood and Veronica Charlesworth
at Artizan Gallery, Torquay
March 9 to March 30

In their long and successful careers Michael McDonagh Wood and Veronica Charlesworth are renown for their watercolours. But they explore their own themes, and they have been doing so for decades. And the couple are the focus of the March exhibition at Torquay’s Artizan Gallery.

For Veronica watercolour allows her to capture the natural world in vivid still life, floral works and landscape paintings. Already an established artist, it was during the 1980s that she embraced watercolours.

“I had enjoyed drawing plants at art school, but watercolour was a new medium for me,” she said. “It is perfectly suited to working in the open air and I used it to paint my favourite flowers, peonies, poppies and particularly irises.”

Now Veronica is more littoral.

“I am fascinated by the relationship between the trees and the water and spend a long time studying their reflections. The shore line is my territory,” she said.

For Michael, it was during a visit to the Greek island of Paxos in 1979, that he rediscovered his love for painting, producing a series of evocative sunlit watercolours.

Although very detailed, his paintings are fresh and lively with layers of pigment resulting in intense colours. Following the success of his Greek paintings, Michael has travelled widely in Europe capturing images of vernacular architecture and ancient villages. He has become renowned for his stunning views of Venice, says the blurb.

“I am particularly interested in painting architecture and water, so Venice is an enduring inspiration” he reveals. “I love the dilapidated surfaces of the grand palazzos reflected in the canals. I prefer to paint the backwaters away from the bustle of the tourist hotspots.”

He said: “When I’m travelling I make watercolour sketches of subjects that interest me and take a lot of photographs.

“Back in the studio, I study this material for a long time before deciding what I will work up into a finished painting, usually in watercolour but sometimes in oil. I work on my paintings for weeks, sometimes months.”

With a cocktail launch on March 7, 2018, at Torquay’s Artist Gallery, and an artist preview on March 9, the exhibition runs from March 9 to March 30

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