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A Pure Land - Callum Innes & Thomas A Clark

Callum Innes is one of the few artists working in abstraction to include watercolour as a major part of his practice. As with many painters, his explorations in this medium form a parallel body of work, an activity taken on as a kind of ‘break’ from his other painting, with different circumstances, conditions and intentions.

Innes has been making watercolours for more than 25 years. He began to explore the medium when he was asked to do a show at the Kunsthaus, in Zurich. He says: "I blithely said yes to an exhibition without ever having made a watercolour before. It caused a lot of stress at the time, but I gradually developed a way of working with paper and pigment. I am still making watercolours, although they have changed over the years, and now I realise that they inform the oil paintings more and more. When you place two pigments together, either opposite or complementary, and then dissolve them in water you achieve a completely new colour which only reveals itself on the paper. I am often surprised and disappointed in the same hour.

"It has been a couple of years since I last spent time with watercolours. When lockdown occurred, in March 2020, I was setting up a new studio, overlooking a fjord in Oslo. It was unfamiliar, and I had no reference to earlier works as I do in Edinburgh. I started to work on a new watercolour series, focusing on them for a week at a time, always starting the day with a black and white one, just to get my hand in … the black and white ones are the most elusive.

"This new body of 50 watercolours feels stronger and more luminous than previous ones. I have kept them sequential in the book, to show how each work informs the next and so on."

Introduced with a poem by Thomas A Clark – a pure land – from which the book takes its inspiration and its title.

Circa Press, 2021
Hardcover, 120pp
260 x 220 mm

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