Prince Charles Watercolor Art
Article by Vladimir London, Fine Artist and Art Teacher
15 January 2022
The history of humankind is a very interesting thing and often works in some peculiar ways. Today, we know names of some very prominent people of the past only because they were immortalized in the works of art. However, when people who are destined to be recorded into the history take art in their hands, this gives new reasons to be remembered by in centuries to come.
A recently opened watercolor exhibition that features 79 landscapes by Prince Charles gives a great opportunity to see the world though Prince's eyes and get a bit closer to the mind of the Artist.
It is so commendable and by no means accidental that Prince Charles have chosen watercolor as his favourite medium. Watercolor is a tough and unforgiving medium. Despite its simplicity, some color pigment mixed with water, it is arguably one of the most challenging media to master. This is because the skills of a painter play the most important role here. The beauty of watercolor is in its transparency, so its drawback. Because watercolor paints are transparent, every brushstroke is visible, every layer shows though. There is no place to hide, there is no margin for error. The Master's hand is present in watercolor more than in any other media. As it is impossible to cover something by overpainting, watercolor is the most "honest" media in this respect. This reflects on the painter and his personality. The Artist has to go into a special place of "another dimension" and be oneself – true and honest to what one wants to say in his art.
This is what makes works of art by Prince Charles so special – they are the window to his soul, to his thoughts, to his memories. That is why his watercolors are his "photography album". His works of art are much more than snapshots of places he visited and landscapes he saw. They convey his emotions and thoughts of those places and sceneries and this is what makes his art truly unique. No photography through the camera lenses could ever give the same view and tell the same story as the Artist himself. This is a great chance to get a glimpse of the World by Charles' eyes.
No one is born with the innate talent of painting in watercolor the professional way, not even if an artist is born into the Royal family, not even if this family has a long tradition of painters. The gift of painting is not given, it is gained. A student does not turn into a Master overnight, but one has to grow from task to task, from challenge to challenge, making watercolor artworks one after another. This natural sequence of learning steps not easy nor fast. Only those with persistence and burning desire to conquer the art of watercolor painting achieve success.
With about 680 watercolor artworks created by Prince Charles, we could only admire his dedication and hard work.
Quality inevitably grows into quality, but the Artist has to be working hard to make it happen during one's lifetime. Prince Charles' words about how "appalled" he is by his early works resonate so much. Creative growth is only possible when an artist recognises one's weaknesses. Every artwork is another opportunity to improve.
Restless desire to grow is the true sign of a great Master. At the peak of his Renaissance career, one of the greatest Masters ever lived, Michelangelo Buonarroti said: "I am still learning". It is so satisfying to see that Prince Charles have the same attitude. This correlates with Charles' words that he is "under no illusion" about his talent.
Telling Michelangelo that he is so talented would be belittling his mastery, gained through hard practice. The same pertains to Prince Charles' art, with the mastery achieved in a long journey of watercolor painting that spans over 50 years.
The biggest compliment a Master can receive is not the praise how talented one is, but the recognition of how hard he had been working to achieve his mastery.
As a fine artist and art teacher, I am so grateful to Prince Charles for giving a great example to younger artists and being so inspirational to new generations of watercolor painters.