These paintings explore water and colour. They resemble modulations of colour. Painting without colour is like piano playing without the sustain pedal -- the art loses its soul. Just as a piano (unlike a violin) cannot sustain a single note for very long without the sustain pedal, painting which is monochromatic is lifeless unless it contains other visually interesting phenomena such as texture. Painting is a visual medium, and a painting stands or falls on its visual communication with the viewer, rather than its conceptual interest alone.
Starry night over water
This work is 1.6m by 1.35m and painted in oils on linen. Light from stars above shimmers across the surface of water in a magnificent array of colours.
REflets dans l'eau
Oil on linen 1.7m by 0.1.4m 2013
by Ian Barton Stewart
Reflets dans L'eau or Reflections on Water is an inspiring and evocative theme. We are drawn to water and reflections of light on it. Debussy gave the title to one of his greatest pieces for the piano. The theme inspired impressionist painters too. But the theme of light on water is one which no period of art has a monopoly of representing, for it is sempiternal. It appeals to us all because water and light are essential to life and appeal to yearnings deep inside us.
Oil on linen 1.7m by 1.4m by Ian Barton Stewart
This painting shows the sun commencing its arc across the sky, bringing forth blazing light and warmth on which nearly all life on Earth depends. The work has something of an old master quality about it, and the sun rises over a seascape of mystery. If I think of analogues in the realm of music I think of Claude Debussy's Suite Bergamasque, Richard Strauss's Sunrise from Thus Spake Zarathustra, and maybe even Chopin's Barcarolle. Of course I did not paint this work to emulate these composer's works. Nor did I paint it to emulate Manet's Sunrise painting that heralded Impressionism as a style in the history of art. This painting can be seen as influenced by all of these works and themes, but you will not find another painting like it anywhere (unless someone has copied this painting).