Monday, January 11, 2021

William Fraser Garden

Victorian watercolor painter William Fraser Garden (1856-1921) grew up amid a large family of artists.

He painted carefully observed views along the river Ouse, using muted colors and often indirect light. His scenes usually don't include people.

Detail of the painting above

This is probably a studio painting based on location studies. Before he began laying the watercolor washes, he established a very careful drawing outlining each branch. 

In this wilderness study there's a lot of scrubbing and loose washes in addition to the carefully drawn parts. Below is a detail:

This closeup brings us in close to one section of the painting so that you can see the brush stippling technique he uses to build the masses of leaves.

There's currently no Wikipedia page about William Fraser Garden. 

Detail of the painting above

He was not well known in his day because he didn't paint very many paintings per year and he was not a member of any major organizations.

According to Charles Lane, "His apparent lack of ambition and the consequently few watercolours which he painted each year, even when at his busiest, resulted naturally enough in his failing to come to the notice of all but a local audience." 

Stephen Ongpin writes: "Garden was very poor for most of his life, and was declared bankrupt in 1899." 

Christopher Newall, in the book Victorian Landscape Watercolors, says: "He was always short of money, and in his old age he led an eccentric existence, living at the Ferryboat Inn at Holywell and paying his bills with drawings instead of bank notes."

More online info at Stephen Ongpin Fine Art

Exhibition catalog: Victorian Landscape Watercolors

Book: Victorian Watercolours, also by Christopher Newall 


Borsuki z Mazur said...

Wow. Incredible! That level of realism.

Shari Blaukopf said...

Wow, what tremendous attention has been paid to value and colour relationships. Thanks for sharing his work James.

Knits and Weaves said...

In the second from the bottom picture, I can almost feel the mud squelching around my feet. Thank you for introducing your readers to Garden.

Jim Douglas said...

The indirect lighting that accompanies overcast weather makes classifying and organizing values shapes much more difficult that bright sunlight and hard, cast shadows. James, do you have any advice for how to start blocking in a scene with indirect lighting?

CerverGirl said...

The blue-green trees, and what a beautiful violet sky, to reference a couple of those paintings shown—magnificent. Thank you for sharing.
I feel sad for his life’s story.

Michael Patriciaa said...
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