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Keith Hornblower FSAI

I have an affinity for buildings born from an earlier career in architecture and consequently in architectural illustration, with watercolour being the medium of choice for most illustrators for reasons of speed and convenience. I am entirely self-taught, both as an illustrator and artist.

But my paintings are quite separate from my illustration work. Although they share the same medium, with the former I am free to explore the medium to its limits without the constraints of a client’s wants and needs.

My approach is dynamic and spontaneous, applying paint at speed, moving and adjusting washes as I progress. I believe the pursuit of perfection is a fool’s errand; it cannot be achieved by mere mortals and it’s the imperfections that make art interesting and personal, revealing the artist, warts and all.

Light and shade – tonal values – are everything to me. I use colours for dramatic effect rather than trying to reproduce them literally, thinking mainly in terms of warm and cool, and often working with a simple triad of primary or secondary colours.

I find watercolour a medium of endless possibilities and feel as though I’m just scratching the surface. I play with it constantly, trying different brushes and exploring ways of applying paint (as well as removing it), although I’m not obsessed by technique as such and shy away from “tricks” such as sprinkling salt, or sponging-in foliage; they can look too mechanical and decorative. I’m on a journey which will last a lifetime. Knowing that I shall never reach my destination, I look forward to the changing scenery along the way.