CANADIAN PRAIRIE WATERCOLOUR LANDSCAPES

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 THE ENGLISH NOVELTY  

ALEXANDER COZENS. The Cloud, 1770

ALEXANDER COZENS, b. 1717, d. Apr. 23, 1786, was one of the earliest masters of landscape in watercolor. He often used abstraction as a starting point for his compositions. His technique was to cover the paper with what he called "blots," arbitrarily placed landscape elements, and to develop an imaginary landscape from them, usually in monochrome. Cozen's unique methods may be what make his work so powerful, if somewhat coarse. His influence on his son, John Robert, was particularly strong. The elder Cozens also published numerous treatises on drawing techniques.

The Cloud is an early cloud study. The British watercolourists were among the first artists to recognize that naturalistic representations of clouds powerfully affected landscape expression as well as assisting in the overall unity of light and colour. Cozens cloud studies were admired by John Constable.
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TERRY FENTON