Vietnam, a receptive canvas for watercolor development

14:42 | 08/12/2017 Culture & Art

(VEN) - As a beautiful, hospitable country with diverse cultures and rich nature, Vietnam is a source of inspiration for artists, said Atanur Dogan, President of the International Watercolor Society (IWS). Vietnam Economic News’ Hoa Quynh spoke with the IWS president about development opportunities for Vietnamese watercolor artists, following an international exhibition held in Hanoi.

vietnam a receptive canvas for watercolor development
Painter Alvaro Castagnet paints in watercolors

What do you think about the opportunities for development of Vietnamese watercolor artists?

vietnam a receptive canvas for watercolor development
IWS President Atanur Dogan

I have been to many countries around the world and this is my second visit to Vietnam as President of IWS. Although I have heard much about your country, when I came here this time, I felt surprised by changes I saw. Vietnam is a beautiful, hospitable and multi-ethnic country with diverse cultures and rich nature. It is a great source of inspiration for painters to create more valuable works and develop the country’s art of painting.

In the current globalization trend, such long-lasting exhibitions as the International Watercolor Exhibition will open up many opportunities for Vietnamese and foreign watercolor artists to learn and exchange experience, and together develop and improve the art of painting. The IWS has opened 99 branches. Although the Vietnam branch is new, it is operating very efficiently. I believe that with its advantage as a developing country with long-lasting traditions and culture, rich nature, a spirit of dedication to the art of painting, young perspective painters will contribute greatly to the development of painting in general and watercolors in particular.

What are you most interested in drawing here in Vietnam?

I have painted many watercolors featuring Vietnam. Something that holds great appeal for me is the Vietnamese countryside landscape and hardworking, industrious, simple and kind Vietnamese people. Drawing rural markets and fishing villages has become my special hobby. I took photos of those places in Vietnam that I experienced but haven’t painted, so I can keep them in mind for my future works.

What is the advantage of watercolors?

Different types of painting and different colors create different values. Personally, I think the strength of watercolors lies in the fact that the works are hard to copy and watercolor allows artists to create works richer than what they can imagine. Regarding oil and acrylic paintings, artists can draw again, draw different layers and visualize exactly what a picture would look like. It is different for watercolors, as artists can draw a picture once. The motion of water produces different visual effects beyond an artist’s expectations. Watercolor artists do not have time to rest or change their mind. That is why watercolor is the hardest, most challenging form of painting, only suitable for those who are really talented, confident and persistent. Those who want to show their artistic talents usually choose watercolors.

vietnam a receptive canvas for watercolor development
Works on display at the exhibition

What do you think about watercolor development in Vietnam? As I mentioned before, Vietnam has great conditions to develop the art of watercolor. However, Vietnamese artists should renovate their style and thinking, while the country should create a healthy environment for talent development. It will be a waste if such elements as traditions, cultures, nature and people exist while true painting talents are absent.

I would like the IWS in Vietnam to continue encouraging young artists to participate in the organization and create more painting development opportunities. Information exchange and improvements are crucial for Vietnam to close the gap between its painting and that of foreign counterparts, and integrate the domestic painting industry into international painting communities.

An International Watercolor Exhibition, organized by the International Watercolor Society in Vietnam in cooperation with the Hanoi Museum, took place from October 23 to November 15 at the Hanoi Museum. The exhibition displayed 217 works by 216 watercolor painters from 45 countries and territories worldwide.

Hoa Quynh