The Prince of Wales has described how he finds painting so relaxing that it “takes me to another dimension” as the largest exhibition of his artwork is on display at the Garrison Chapel in Chelsea, London.
Seventy-nine watercolors by Charles – the first complete exhibition of his work in this medium – are on display.
The atmospheric paintings show Scottish landscapes such as the Huna Mill in John O’Groats and Glen Callater near Balmoral, as well as exterior scenes from Provence in southern France and Tanzania in East Africa – one of his favorite places to paint.
In a display, Charles reveals how the hobby “refreshes parts of the soul that other activities cannot” and how he started painting after he had found little joy in photography.
About the therapeutic benefits, he writes: “You become increasingly aware of what you may not have considered before – things like the quality of light and shadow, of tone and texture and the shape of buildings in relation to the landscape.
“All of this requires maximum concentration and is therefore one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises that I know.
“In fact, I find it in my case that it transports me to another dimension that literally refreshes parts of the soul that other activities cannot reach.”
But he admits that he is “appalled” by the quality of his early sketches.
“I only started painting because I found photography less than satisfactory,” he writes.
“Quite simply, I felt an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolor and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture that is impossible to achieve with photography.
“I realized very quickly how incredibly difficult it is to paint well in such a spontaneous medium, and the feeling of frustration at not being able to get the picture that presented the eye on paper is intense.
“When I look back on the first sketches I made, I am appalled at how bad they are. But the nice thing about painting is that you can make your own individual interpretation of the chosen point of view.”
The exhibition in the exhibition room of the Prinzenstiftung in the chapel began before Christmas and will reopen on Monday for a longer period until February 14th.
Rosie Alderton, who curates the exhibition for The Prince’s Foundation, said, “HRH has previously said that he likes to sit in real surroundings and paint en plein air, and that taking photos is not the same for him.” feel like a painting.
“His passion for creating fine art is strongly conveyed in this exhibition.”
The prince paints whenever his schedule allows, and he usually takes his precious canvas and leather painting bag on royal tours in the hope that he will have time for them.
His interest – encouraged by his art master Robert Waddell at his Gordonstoun school – grew in the 1970s and 1980s when he met leading artists.
He discussed the watercolor technique with the late Edward Seago and received further instruction from professionals such as Derek Hill, John Ward, and Bryan Organ.
An exhibition at Hampton Court Palace in 1998 to mark the prince’s 50th birthday featured 50 of his watercolors, while the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition in 2018 marked his 70th birthday and featured 30 works.
Alongside Charles ‘art, Ben Hymers’ woven rendition of the 2003 Prince’s painting Abandoned Cottage on the Isle of Stroma will be featured.
The complex tapestry, which took eight months to make at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, was presented to Charles in 2019 and can normally be seen at the Castle of Mey in Caithness.
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