Subtle But Constant Progression – Watercolour & Oil Paintings by Callum Innes


I’ve long had a fascination with Josef Albers ‘Homage to the Square’, a signature series of his in which he produced hundreds of variations on the basic compositional scheme of three or four squares set inside each other. Within this narrow constraint he was able to bring out the complexities of what may be a simple shape to some. I also was drawn to the repetitive nature of his work, and the idea of contemplation, reduction, and simplicity.

This work by Callum Innes really drew me in since it follows a similar theme to the work of Josef Albers. His oil works are produced on geometric grids, tending to divide his canvases in to these segments using different colours. But I gravitated in particular to his water colour painting, which actually goes one step further and mixes many colours together.

The method has been coined “unpainting” by Callum Innes, which is where you layer over multiple types of paint and remove it to create other colours. This works best, in my opinion, with the watercolour paint, something that he seems to be incorporating more and more in to his collection of work. Although Callum is a well known British artist, I feel like his work is certainly worth a browse. The colours, the way he structures his canvases, should all inspire you in your own work. Enjoy.