A Question of Process #2: James Faure Walker LG

I have evolved a roundabout method, more assemblage than straightforward painting.

Sandra Crisp LG: “During a visit to your open studio event in Bridget Riley Studios, Hackney Wick I remember being drawn-in by stacks of intuitive drawing and watercolours on paper, created daily. Also, I’m really interested in the unique cross-pollination of painting in your digital process, such as intensely layered 2020 inkjet prints.”

Dunwich Suite, Chinese Snack Bar, 2021, 48 x 70cm, archival inkjet print

James Faure Walker: “I have evolved a roundabout method, more assemblage than straightforward painting. I begin by making drawings and watercolours to provide the source material. But the final picture – in this case ‘Dunwich Suite, Chinese Snack Bar’- may have little connection with the starting point.

“Watercolour has a will of its own, it can’t be bossed like oil paint. It’s best approached with an empty mind. I have a studio routine of making a least one watercolour a day, just to get going. I try not to judge. I can edit later. During lockdown, away from the studio, I have been working on a dining table. I do not want any spills so I put the gouache straight on the paper, three or four tube colours. In parallel I am working on digital drawings. Typically, I have four digital drawings and four gouaches on the go, ready to be mixed up. I photograph each picture, not as well as I can manage in the studio, but accidents of lighting are OK, as I alter the colour digitally. Here I stitched four digital drawings together to form a ground, and superimpose details from several gouaches, adjusting the colour as I go. In the blue/yellow gouache the yellow ‘Z’ becomes blue, and ends up being moved to the top left. In the final imposed gouache in the centre, cobalt blue becomes pale green.

“Working digitally, I can bring out the soft atmospherics of watercolour, and juggle the components, using contrasts and edges that you can only manage in a paint programme. This piece is one of twelve which will be printed as a set, modest in scale and scope, like piano studies: a closed system, each a contrasting mood, some lyrical, some exotic, some easy, some fiendishly difficult. I get lost in the process, but often I learn something new.”

James Faure Walker LG, 2021


’They Can’t Cancel Spring’, Royal Watercolour Society, Bankside Gallery, March 28 to April 24 (online
Paintings of the Seventies and Eighties, solo show, Felix and Spear, later this year.
Drawing 219, Matrix Idea, January 14, 2021, digital drawing


Small gouache 2, January 2, 2021, 38 x 28 cms, gouache


Drawing 219, Matrix Idea on, January 14, 2021, digital drawing


Dunwich Work Book, No.6, Nov 16, 2020, 28 x 38 cms, gouache
In the studio of James Faure Walker photographed by Alun Callender for the Royal Watercolour Society

A Question of Process:
#1 Angela Eames LG
#3 Ece Clarke LG
#4 Neil Weerdmeester LG
#5 Ade Adesina LG