Shirley Trevena

Having mentioned Shirley Trevena previously and not having done any work at all for a couple of days, I thought I'd talk a bit more about her and show you some of her work.

She uses watercolours in a very contemporary and innovative way. Her work is vibrant and colourful, it glows. She isn't interested in a botanical illustration of her subjects but in catching the spirit of them, the drama and the colour. Her compositions are offbeat with a geometric element superimposed on loose flowing subjects and the results are distinctively her own.

I love the way that, like me, she uses sticks and unconventional mark making tools to achieve the results she wants. One thing I learnt, reading her books was the technique of sandpapering watercolour pencils into a wet wash to make beautiful speckled marks - that's something I'll definitely find useful.

She's written 2 books on watercolours, illustrated with lots of her work, she takes you through a painting stage by stage - and it isn't the formulaic nothingness of so many 'how to' books - these are zinging exciting, want-to-live-with-it paintings :)

For all they are so free, they actually take her a long time to produce, days or even weeks and are thought out carefully stage by stage.

She's very generous with information on exactly how she achieves the various areas of her work, the speckling, the washing out, the flooding wet in wet, using watercolour pencils, masking tape, masking fluid, wax candles, oil pastels, collage and a lot more. Anyone wanting to improve their watercolours couldn't do better than buy both books.

books: Vibrant Watercolours and Taking Risks with Watercolour - both available from Amazon.

You can see her work on her website

let me know what you think of her work?


Robyn Sinclair said…
I love her work. First saw it in Peter Graham's 'Painting Still Life' and then when you first posted about her, I ordered the new book - now I'm sitting here sobbing quietly because 12 days later, it still hasn't arrived! The postman thinks I'm a stalker!
Lindsay said…
After your previous post about her work and the sand paper techinquie, I bought a book! I'm crazy about her work. Thanks so much for mentioning her here.
vivien said…
I should be getting commission! it really is beautiful work isn't it? :)

It should arrive soon Robyn! and it's worth waiting for :) and the postman can relax!
Sarah said…
Oh vivien isnt her work wonderful, I am ordering the book too, you should get a commission! I love watercolour work that breaks the boundaries. Thank you for the posting!
vivien said…
It is wonderful :) and I too love experimental, expressive work :)

you won't be disappointed in it I can guarantee
Veronica Aldous said…
Hi there
I love the new Shirley Trevena book- and i am not one to buy "how to" art books! I love her work, so fresh and zingy.
Have a look at my art blog too- you might like it I hope.
Theresa Evans said…
I completely agree ... her work is beautiful, fresh, modern and completely inspiring.

I've been a fan since the 80's and went to a one day workshop a few years a go in Brighton. If you ever get the chance, just go! Her insights on your own work will stay with you for ever ...
vivien said…
I'd love to do a workshop with her - viridian with envy here!
Theresa Evans said…
I'll let you know if I notice she has any more planned :-)

She also has an exhibition @ the Orange Street Gallery 17th October to 14th November. I'll definitely be going to see it myself.
vivien said…
Yes, I knew about this show and was planning to go - but the Orange Street Gallery is closing so I don't know if it will happen or not :>( I assumed not but will have to check - maybe he'll open up just for that?????
vivien said…
oh fantastic! it IS still on and the gallery has a new name and ??? new venue - on the same street though.

The Goldmark Gallery nearby is well worth a visit as well and they have a great second hand book shop next door.
Theresa Evans said…
I didn't know it was closing ... thanks for that VERY useful info!
Would have been a bit naffed off when I turned up LOL

Wonder why it's still being advertised @ Orange Street ?? At least it's still on :-)

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