With a busy packed schedule of workshops, shipping of his latest book, painting, judging and a great spirit for adventure and travel; Paul Jackson is living every painters dream. He was my earliest influences and I have a deep admiration for his art. Yet his paintings never seize to amaze and bewilder me. His passion and dedication to painting is nothing less than inspiring. Each one of paintings exhibits and amazing eye for detail and a great amount of brush control and patience. The compositions and the choice of subjects and colours sets his work apart. He was kind enough to do this interview with me and I hope you enjoy reading it....
@ How did your journey into water colours begin?
I took a watercolor class in college and fell in love immediately.
@ Talk about your early influences
There was a Watercolorist from Mississippi where I grew up whose work was very inspirational for me. Walter Anderson's Watercolors are quite unlike my own but possess a magic that resonates with others.
@ Looking at your paintings, I realise that there is something unique about your compositions....can you shed some light on that ?
My compositions do not follow formal rules. They are constructed intuitively. I purposefully lead the viewer on a journey into the painting, through to the focal point.
@ Your watercolours are very controlled and true to life....is it difficult to achieve that when you are working on scales as large as you do?
The larger you work, the easier it is to achieve a sense of realism. Working small is more difficult.
@ How did the 'Wandering Watercolorist' come into being? And how important is travel to your art?
I've never really had a clear path...I tend to wander in my travels and in my paintings. Travel inspires me...it is my first passion before watercolor. Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures help me to keep a fresh vision and a flow if new ideas.
@ Talking about establishing a name for yourself....what are the things that have been instrumental to achieving it?
I did 40 arts festivals a year for nearly two decades. I entered many competitions, wrote a lot of magazine articles and a book. And I paint prolifically.
@ How do you go about planning a painting...right from choosing a subject to rendering the last strokes.?
I choose my subjects by what I'm most passionate about today. Dramatic light in my subject is what makes it interesting. I paint in thin layers from light to dark.
@ About your technique...is there any particular routine you follow...something you have come to develop over the years?
I approach the lightest most delicate details first. I tiptoe in and go stomping out.
@ Your paintings exhibit an amazing amount of detailing...how long do you normally work on one painting?
3 days...3 weeks...3 months. The more detailed... The longer it takes.
@ How easy/ tough has it been for you to find commercial success?
Commercial success is always a work in progress. It's never easy and I'm extremely grateful for every opportunity.
@ Any tips you would like to share with the budding watercolorists?
Paint a lot!!! All the time. Ideas come while you work...not while you wait. You will get better if you keep painting. I was not born with talent, only passion.
@ Talk about your favourite painting tools...brushes, paints, masking fluids and whatever else that you would employ to finish a painting.
My brushes are very special. They are hand made, double ended Martin weasel. They are they finest brushes available for watercolor. I'm currently using Daniel Smith Watercolors and arches 260 lb cold press paper.
@ Your thoughts on the use of social media in promoting yourself and any tips to struggling artists...favourite sites...tools..etc
You have to have a FB page and a website and be very active with both. There's a lot more competition than there was before social media. You must learn to tastefully self promote. Don't force your art on anyone, but have it available always. Don't tag other artist in your artwork to get them to look at it...it's rude and counterproductive.
@ You have been a judge for various painting competitions... Would you recommend a few prestigious ones where talented artists should look to enter?
International watercolor society in turkey, shanghai and Shenzen biennials in china, American watercolor society and Missouri watercolor society international show.
@ Lastly talk about your books.....how did those come into being?
My first book, "Painting Spectacular Light Effects in Watercolor" is an instructional book published by Northlight Books. My new book, "The Wandering Watercolorist" is a portfolio monograph of the best of my Watercolors from the past three decades.
The three decades of watercolors sure reflect in his artwork. I had always wanted to do a feature on Paul and his art on this blog and I am really happy and excited to share it with you. Hope you find this informative and inspiring too. Happy Painting!!