Interview with a watercolor artist from Vyborg, Russia - Sergey Temerev.
What is Watercolor for you?
“Watercolor for me is testing of my strength, passion and recreation”. It is said on the front page of my site.
How do you build you relationship with watercolor?
...sometimes successfully too… Should I tell about something mutual? “… "testing of my strength, passion and recreation” – these words display my attitude to the media as a practice. Practice is a basis of experience that suggests that you will be able to understand something. There are elements of a play, a competition and of a ritual in my experience of painting with watercolors. Watercolor practice let me expectantly find myself in a right (at least for myself) relation with not only watercolor but the world in general, and to be in that state to the limit collected and quick, free from thoughts and doubts formed in words.
When you start painting, do you think of the result?
Yes if you consider the result is honestly committed attempt to achieve what you conceived. The attempt might fail but also might bring unexpected finds. I am ready for both. When I start I know that I will finish. If you say about another understanding of result – I don`t know. There are might be many of those.
Sergey Temerev. Neutralitet. 35x56cm. 2012
What is the ratio of control and spontaneity in you work with watercolor?
About 50 x 50. Without concentrated attention keeping in mind all parts of the painting one can hope only for a casual luck. You need a clear sight to see spontaneously arising beauty of blending colors to be able to accept an unexpected present against the previous conception.
Sergey Temerev. Night Train. 35x56cm. 2012
Do you have favorite subjects?
Sea. Evening and night city. Subjects painted as they are.
What does inspire you?
A lot of things. Complicated in simple. Something from impressions that is kept by memory. What inspires is… woman`s beauty, nice weather and news, new brushes and paints, untouched paper – the list can be long…
Sergey Temerev. North-West Wind. 35x56 cm. 2013
Do you try to imitate a model or you use imagination?
Imagination is not switched off as well as memory. You can`t do without model too. Subtle nuances of light and color you can capture only with a model. But I paint with a model not very often. As usual my painting is based on observation, memory, small linear sketches from a notebook – taken from life or imagination. I don`t do an outline drawing before start painting. When I start I have only a white sheet before me.
Sergey Temerev. Sun Wind, Boat. 35x56 cm. 2012
What size of paper is the most comfort for you?
Doesn`t matter. After working on a series of paintings in one size it happens difficult but challenging to change to a larger or a smaller size. Lately the most typical sizes are the Imperial size – a standard sheet 56x76 cm, a half of it or a part of it.
Sergey Temerev. 25x63 cm. 2012
Do you paint in one go or you come back to started works?
I paint almost always in one session. It is a part of my method: I start painting on required condition of moist paper and trying to finish the session before the paper is dry. Sometimes it goes differently. If it happens that I have to interrupt the process I make an attempt to moist the paper again. If the painting is left unfinished for a long time its destiny is to be gone to the paper storage.
What is your criteria that the painting is completed?
Sometimes the awareness that the painting is completed comes in the beginning of work. Then you have to avoid spoiling it. Sometimes when finishing (when paper is dry and I am tired) I don`t know whether I am happy with result or not. Then the painting is left to dry before I have a new, fresh glance at it. The criteria generally is if I achieved the aim I started it for the sake of.
Do you have the “must” colors?
There are colors in my “White Nights” box that I am running out of fast of all. It says that I more rarely use for instance violet and lemon yellow than ochre or cobalt blue. It also depends on what I am painting. Faster than others I am running out of Cobalt blue, ultramarine, green and madder red. Almost as fast as raw umber, gold ochre and English red. That means I think that I am using those paints more often. Are the “must” colors? No.
Sergey Temerev. On The Way, By The Way. 2012
What is more important in watercolor – brushes, paper or paints?
I would think over what to put in first place – brushes or paper, leaving the paints in the end of the list. The paper quality is important for me – it has to be useful for different kind of work and it has to save its internals and surface. Both require a careful choice of high quality paper. I used to paint in big variety of paper. Nowadays my sympathy is shared between Arches and Saunders Waterford of 300 gm.
Sergey Temerev, 35x56 cm. 2011
I can take any brush available. I can take a sponge instead, but the better brush the more pleasant the process of painting. I prefer big pointed mop brushes and one inch flat brush.
I can be limited in colors. I can paint with those of not high quality. The work painted with 2-3 colors, even a monochromatic work - I would call nothing else but painting, but it should have a clear tonal structure and rich nuances. So I think: first is paper, brushes are important but only after paper, and the paints in the end.
Sergey Temerev. Winter. 35x56 cm. 2011
What is more important for students – to see or to know how?
Seeing without skill doesn`t bring anywhere. Skills without attentive observation are also fruitless. So, both are important.
What does teaching give you?
I am a docent of the Architecture and Art metal department of Art Industrial Academy. I am teaching composition. It has as much to do with watercolor as with any other medium. I am not talking about watercolor with students apart from their projects or attending exhibitions. Part of my answer to the question – it is interesting to me. I am interested in my colleagues and students. The other part of the answer – the teaching gives a chance to set important questions for students and myself and to answer them.