Alister Fraser

After a long career in education, retirement gave me the opportunity to devote time and effort to something I wanted to take further and that was watercolour painting. I spent a professional lifetime encouraging children to develop their artistic talent but always had this nagging feeling I was neglecting what little talent I myself had.  Retirement afforded this wonderful chance to explore my own creativity and to assuage a sense of guilt that had been building up for many years. I sincerely believe that each of us has something of a duty to nurture whatever degree of talent we have been given. The time had now arrived to do something about it.

Why watercolour?  I just love the medium.  It’s challenging and difficult but the rewards when it all works out are immense.  I really like the way that, when things are going well, it feels as though the painting is actually painting itself. There is great pleasure in watching colours merge when painting wet-into-wet and the mistiness that can result adding a sense of mystery and intrigue.  I am always surprised at the versatility of the medium ranging from delicate transparency to dense and vibrant colour.  I know I still have much to learn about its subtleties but like to think that I learn a little more from each painting that I do.  The influence of other watercolourists is something that I fully acknowledge and appreciate and have learnt so much from the experience of others.

I try to paint in a ‘loose’ fashion and have come to realise that this is no easy task!  I know that I have a sense in which I always want things to be “correct” and this can lead me down the path of painting too literally and leaving little for spectators to fill in for themselves. I am in awe of those artists who have mastered the power of suggestion in their work and can invoke a huge response with minimal brushstrokes.

Finally, I paint for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment of it.  For me, painting is calming and a great stress reliever; there is nothing like it for lightening the gloom that can be such a feature of modern life.  Anything that can do that is worth pursuing.