Friday, July 07, 2006


Angus McEwan RSW
“Art and Artifice”

Watercolour, acrylic and watercolour pencil
on Fabriano not 300gsm watercolour paper

This painting can be loosely described as having connections to the form of painting called “Trompe l’oeil”, which is French for deceiving the eye.

The painting is part of a door taken from the fish market in Venice, Italy. The door has a window which has rusted iron slats across it. The door is rather roughly put together and has been painted green at one stage, but is now looking worse for wear with the passage of time.

Below the window is a note attached to the door. On the note is a drawing of a flower and although monochromatic has fooled a bee into taking a closer look.

This directly relates to a story told by “Pliny the Elder in the ‘History of Nature’, where the ancient painter Zeuxis is praised for painting such realistic grapes that birds would come along and pick at them, mistaking them for the genuine fruit.”

Woven subtly in amongst the piece of white paper is a hint of a map of Venice, thus placing the door geographically.

Illusionism and deception is what this painting is about, thus the title, “Art & Artifice”.

Angus McEwan RSW

Monday, July 03, 2006

More Publications

"Eye of Flora", Watercolour on paper

How did you paint that? 100 ways to paint flowers and gardens.

The reason for painting any picture can be rather difficult to explain, the best solution I have found is to allow my gut feelings to take a part in the decision making process. Most often than nought it has more to do with how something looks, rather than the subject matter itself. In this instance I enjoyed the play of light falling across the dried and fragile flowers. The depth of tone and colour drew me to the subject, the chiaroscuro, intrigued me and the challenge held me there. I rather enjoyed the way the darkness dissolved some of the objects, and I often look for this aspect when choosing a subject to paint.

I quite like the idea of a window, within a window, within a window (the painting of course in the traditional sense could be seen as a window into another world). If the eye is known to be the “Window of the Soul”, the window is thus known as the “Eye of the Soul”, symbolic of consciousness and of the individual’s perception of the world. Flora was the goddess of spring, the vine, fruit, flowers and grain, symbolizing fertility. Thus the title, the “Eye of Flora”.


We are looking at a vase of flowers sitting on a window (almost in the centre of the painting); on the left hand side there is another window which is flooded with light. Between the two windows, there is a corridor.

There are a few objects sitting on the window sill which, I decided, would become simplified shapes hidden in amongst the shadows – suggestions are so much more powerful than statements.

The focal point is obviously in the centre of the picture and is of course the busiest in terms of detail, tonal contrast and colour range.

"How did you paint that?" 100 ways to paint Flowers and Gardens

ISBN (1-929834-44-6)