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The Definition of Sculptural Watercolour®


Sculptural Watercolour® (or Sculptural Watercolor) is the application of paint made of pigments suspended in gum arabic onto a pliable paper carrier that may be cut and formed to allow artistic freedom in the third dimension; the result being a unified watercolour painting.

Aquarelle sculpturale – Définition

« L’aquarelle sculpturale est l’application de la peinture faite de pigments en suspension dans la gomme arabique sur un support de papier pliable qui peut être coupé et formé pour permettre une certaine liberté artistique en trois dimensions. Il en résulte une aquarelle unifiée »  Prue Bishop, 1999

Plus sur l'aquarelle sculptural - ici

A brief academic consideration of the genre is here.


Prue Bishop brings to the art world a 21st Century approach to the classical medium of watercolour.

Her concentration on authenticity, clarity and light-fastness of colours builds on two and a half centuries of development of this medium.

Her profound studies of the watercolour Masters, notably those from the United Kingdom in the early 19th century such as Wilson, Turner and Cotman, underpin her own 25 years of investigative advances.

Today she experiments with the latest synthetic pigments as well as the more traditional organic and inorganic ones.

Her unique results demonstrate that today's watercolour pigments - when combined with skillful handling techniques and technical mastery - have a very great deal to contribute to the world of art.

Indeed, she is determined to do all she can to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of this wonderful medium.

Prue Bishop in her Studio

New Work in Progress

Central to her driving force is a total conviction that watercolour is worthy of the closest attention by those that wish to own authentic contemporary works.

The fashion for crude works devoid of intellect that has caused a hiatus in the devlopment of art is thankfully drawing to a close, albeit more slowly than it should, clearing the way for a return to the ethos of artistic skill, and for artwork that has an explicable and intelligible intellectual origin.

She says,"The awful and depressing decades that saw the promotion of low-level slosh, dribble and brain-dead art are still lingering. Eveyone that currently owns such rubbish - including some of the world's leading institutions - will eventually have to face up to the fact that it really is rubbish, even if they paid a lot for it, and replace it all with new and exciting contemporary works that have meaning and demonstrate artistic skill. We must embrace a new world of art where skill, intellect and beauty are central!"

Prue in her Studio near Geneva Switzerland


Her art represents a lifetime search for aesthetic values.

She graduated from Newcastle upon Tyne College of Art and Industrial Design (now the Design Centre of Northumbria University) and after a period as an industrial designer was awarded an upper honours BA degree by the then Council for National Academic Awards. She also holds a post-graduate Art Teacher's Diploma from Leeds University, and she is also a lecturer and international curator.

Her exceptionally broad experience as a designer in industry and with private interiors, and as a teacher and lecturer in art and design, mixed with a fundamental creative drive to devise new, interesting and exciting works, all come together in the sculptural watercolour genre that she has devised.

The Sculptural Watercolour® genre has now been appreciated for almost two decades.

Prue with 'Grenoble'

A third dimension adds shape and form and vastly increases the possibilities of using light and other effects such as a curvature of the paper to provide boundless artistic opportunities.

Even a completed work will look somewhat different depending on the angle, intensity and type of illumination, or simply where it is hung.

Here we see the artist putting the final piece of "Grenoble" in place.

Curators are delighted that the genre embraces both painting and sculpture.

The artist constantly strives for new effects with the latest pigments. These are suppied by Germany's Kremer Pigments who also provide advice.

She makes her own watercolour paint with traditional gum Arabic as the carrier.

The artist finds a very close relationship between natural processes such as erosion, avalanches and volcanoes, with those arising from the application and reactions of watercolour. This direct connection has been a central inspiration behind Sculptural Watercolour®.

She considers that there has never been a more important time to draw attention to the power of the natural world.


To take a short tour of recent work, press the 'next' arrow on each page:Next Page



Le Château de Voltaire Orangerie - an excellent building for exhibitions - image © 2018

Le Château de Voltaire - is now fully open all year round (see Note the new colour - that is actually as Voltaire had it. This historic building must surely be at the top of any Geneva visitor's must see list.  Prue Bishop's studio is nearby, and she was greatly honoured to be invited to the official opening by President Emmanuel Macron. On hearing her English accent he held quite a long conversation with her that she described as "actually rather impressive and most encouraging".      image © 2018 Lumby

Public Interest in Sculptural Watercolours

International public interest in Prue Bishop's Sculptural Watercolours is most marked. On 5 December 2016 the French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libréré described her paintings as "bluffant" which an on-line dictionary suggests means "stupefying, incredible, unimaginable, stunning, imposing, inspiring, remarkable ... "

Prue Bishop in the Château Voltaire Orangerie with one of her favourite watercolours: The Pont Perent in the Chartreuse Mountains near Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. The bridge is a National Monument dating back to the 16th century. The location is very hidden, and the track remains very much as experienced by visitors to the Chartreuse Monastery between the mid 16th to the mid 19th centuries. In those days, women were banned from this area called the Désert.

Outside, the mountain on the horizon is the Mont Blanc - see the next image for a close-up view.

Part of the Alpine View from the Château de Voltaire


Palais des Nations Geneva 2011

Above: Palais des Nations Geneva Switzerland - Prue Bishop's works are those in the right half of the picture

Previous Exhibitions include:

Finalist in the Laing Art Prize Landscape Competition, Mall Galleries, London

Grand Prix International de la Peinture à l’Eau in Trégastel France

Manchester Academy of Fine Arts, England

Society of Women Artists, London

Solo Exhibition, Rolle, Switzerland

Solo Exhibitions, Gutersloh, Germany

Solo Exhibitions, Munich, Germany

Conflans, Albertville, France

Moutiers, Haute Savoie, France

United Society of Artists, London

Gloucester Festival, England: Cathedral Chapter House Art Exhibition England

Curator and Exhibitor - International Art Exhibition, Divonne-les-Bains France

United Nations International “Art & Artisanat 2009" Geneva Switzerland

Solo Exhibition : Mediterranean Impressions, La Galerie, Cessy France

Curator and Exhibitor - United Nations Women's Guild - Geneva Switzerland

Solo Exhibition : The Fury of Etna 2010, La Galerie, Cessy France

Curator and Exhibitor - 53 Nations Art & Artisanat 2010 + 2011 - Geneva Switzerland

Exhibitor - ARPADI Biennale 2011 - Divonne-les-Bains France

Exhibitor and assistant curator 2016 2017 2018- Château de Voltaire - Ferney Voltaire France

She has exhibited several times at some of the above events.

Prue Bishop's Gallery near Geneva

Part of The Fury of Etna Exhibiton at Prue Bishop's Gallery in 2009

All works are available for exhibition subject to agreement. We are not offering works for sale..

Please contact us to arrange a private viewing near Geneva

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This page was last updated on May 18th, 2019

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© Prue and John Bishop 2002 - 2017
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