The art as a visual metaphor for reality or a few words about my watercolor

Painting has attracted me with its capacity to depict randomness and reticence, and likewise, its capacity to show figures lacking clear demarcation. In my opinion, in real life there are no clear boundaries. It is often difficult to determine where one ends and another begins. Everything in our world is in constant motion, and is in a perpetual process of flux from one state to the next. This applies not only to objects, but also to our perception and understanding of these objects. Not only do the boundaries between objects and air blur, so too does the conditional boundary between that which is visible to the eye and that which is unseen. This happens with everything that comprises our world. The types of plants and animals, peoples and races, religions and political systems, government, ethics – everything is in constant transformation, and often has no clear boundaries. Even the land and ocean are separated by a nervous strip of constantly changing surf.Watercolor on damp paper is a wonderful visual metaphor of this quality of reality. Thick, succulent brushstrokes on raw textured paper—and an interesting process begins; as the paint begins to stretch out across the page, changing its color and tone, it crosses paths with a similar stream from another stroke, then another, and the next. This results in a complex and multi-layered fragment, multidimensional and to a certain extent, random. That is to say, it is not exactly hand-crafted, but even in all its uncertainty and randomness, the image maintains a level of specificity of form.

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Shalumov

To me, in essence, there is no difference whether my brushstrokes will remind the viewer of reality or become absolute abstractions; whether a tree or sky appears under my brush, a barely recognizable, exaggerated form, or a formless colored stain. I love to observe how the colors fight for their locations on the canvas; some dominate, displace, others give way to one another. I am happy if the dried paper is left with an imprint of the climax of the most dramatic battle that took place there, and I am upset if the escaped colors freeze in an extinguished pose, not fully capturing the beautiful flames of the battle they fought.

My favorite time of year is the fall and winter, when there is either a riot of colors left on sunbleached leaves, or only bare tree-carcasses are left standing from this natural tumult. The echoes of this battlefield reflect on the prismatic snow and the infinitely broad and eternally unique arrangements of colors spilling about in the skies. My favorite times of the day are sunrise and sunset, when colors flow from fog as if in a reverse process of watercolor painting, and blurred unknown patches of color appear and flow into indiscernible forms which slowly develop into familiar realities. Or, conversely, familiar skies begin to disintegrate into lush, vibrant colors and sink into the night.

Wet-on-Wet Watercolor Landscape Shalumov
“The Lake” Watercolor by Shalum Shalumov

I also enjoy the films of Tarkovsky, Bergman, and Fellini, where there is also more to the image than meets the eye. Re-watching their films, we see constantly shifting boundaries, forcing us to think harder and more deeply about their meanings.

I seek to capture this dynamism in my work. Through my watercolors, I share my enthusiasm and awe of this exciting, complex and often ambiguous world we live in with those around me.
Shalum Shalumov


Posted in Art

5 thoughts on “The art as a visual metaphor for reality or a few words about my watercolor

  1. Я буду и дальше продолжать наблюдать, как краски дерутся на твоих полотнах.
    пускай они – драки – будут только живописные – за место на холсте.
    Успехов тебе, Шалум! Ты – прекрасный живописец и человек!

    1. Ну вот, нарвался на дифирамб. Спасибо большое. Будем стараться.

  2. It is a great gift of being able to write paintings with watercolors, and the wet one is top of the human abilities, in my opinion. Shalum, you are a real genius when you are not trying to describe the things to the last point but feel them, it is a presence of infinity in your work then! Stay in emotion! it is yours and you are at ease with it!

Leave a Reply to Shalum Shalumov Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *