Nudes in watercolor
When you listen to Maureen talk about watercolor, you realize it is her “métier”, her medium. She does not start with a pencil to draw some initial contour lines; rather, she calls her work “brush drawing” – shaping an image on paper straight with her brush. Often, she says, a watercolor portrait takes just an hour to do, tops an hour and a half. This gives it a unique immediacy.
Watercolor appeals to me because of the infinite possibilities of this difficult medium. I feel that the accidental effects created by the fluidity of the water are the essence of its challenge. I explore the indeterminate, taking suggestions as much from the abstract pools of pigment as from the random fall of light upon the living body – my particular interest.
I feel that the body itself is mysterious, ephemeral, its surface shimmers with transient highlights. Its lines delight me. Sometimes the contours remind me of landscapes. At other times, I am appalled at how banal and repulsive the flesh appears. And I am always aware of the ravages that ageing will bring to these powerful, graceful, fragile, naked figures. It is the elusive truth of the body – of each body at each moment – that I wish to capture.
I see everything in terms of colour rather than mass or volume, so for me the enjoyment comes from the touches of true, sharp and definite pigment and the very subtle gradations of change in the basic flesh tones. There is no magic formula for flesh tones.
I feel that the secret form is color – its interplay, its dissonances, harmonies, warmth and coolness ad its constant dialogue with the white of the paper. It is the dance of color which gives to the changing, ambiguous shapes and forms their moment of permanence.