Wattie’s Bog News


Coulter Watt is pleased to announce the honor of being the First Prize Winner in Robert Gamblin's 2006 Torrit Grey Painting Competition for "No Direction Home," 8 x 10 inches, oil on linen.


It was the Spring of 1990, I was the Director/Cameraman shooting a documentary about The London to Peking Motor Challenge with an unruly herd of eccentric and wonderful lunatics from England driving antique cars.  I had a blast!  We came into China from Kazakhstan over the spectacular Heavenly Mountains, the first caucasians to journey through the western frontier of China since Mao had closed the boarder decades ago.  We were greeted with great fanfare and gawked at like circus freaks which we sort of were.  A private vehicle hadn't been seen in the region in a few generations, making vehicles like a 1912 Lancia-Symplex and other antique vehicles seem all the more other worldly.

From the high of the Heavenly Mountains it was all down hill into the Gobi Desert winding up in Turpan, the second lowest point on Earth and it was hot.  After a days rest in the little oasis town of Turpan welding cars back together, because Napa Car Parts stores and McDonald's haven't sprouted there yet, the roads fell apart until they disappeared under the shifting desert sands.  A compass was survival equipment.  We didn't leave the so called Turpan Oasis Hotel without a gallon of potable water either.  In that part of the world everything is grey, covered with a fine silt that blows off the hot desert into the relatively cool oasis like a convection oven.

So when Robert Gamblin announced his Torrit Grey Painting Competition images of the Gobi Desert came to mind.  And what better object to paint than my compass which is silvery metal and all tones of black, white and grey anyway.  The title of the painting comes from the Bob Dylan song, Like a Rolling Stone.  "How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone."  I was certainly a rolling stone and the Gobi Desert was the perfect other side of the world from my home in Manhattan.  It would be many, many weeks before I arrived back in New York, many pounds lighter, to enjoy the abundance of America.  Mind you that I love Chinese food with a passion, but out there a steady diet of rice, scallions, unmentionable creatures cooked up and tossed in, with a special sauce that I didn't want to know about and was thankful for the language barrier was hard to swallow.  But I love China.  Its a vast and varied landscape as America is.  An ancient culture, mysterious and wonderful, highly cultured and beautiful.

Also see An Episode of Moto-Guzzitus in my Blog for another story about China, global politics and other insanity.

The Robert Gamblin 2006 Torrit Grey Painting Competition

Robert Gamblin is the premier paint maker for artists in America.  His conservation quality paints and mediums are used by the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Guggenheim Museum and others.  Gamblin created the first new line of conservation colors in 100 years.

Every spring, Gamblin Artists Colors collects the pigments from their air filtration system and recycles them into Torrit Grey.  The mix of pigments is different every year, so Torrit Grey is always unique.  Torrit Grey is only available at fine art supply stores.  "We turn all the pigment in the dust extractor into a color called Torrit Grey and we give away 5,000 tubes of it every year in honor of Earth Day," said Robert's wife Martha Bergman-Gamblin.  Many pigments used in the making of fine artist's oil paints are carcinogenic, such as lead and cadmium, hazardous to one's health and the environment.

The primary rule of the competition: Make a painting using ONLY Torrit Grey and any black or white oil paint.

Coulter said, "While that may sound restrictive, and it is, that presents the challenge.  Also, there are many black and white paint pigments.  They have different tones, some being warm, some cool and all react differently according to which ones are mixed together creating a palette."

In September of 2006 Coulter also won an award at the 77th Phillips Mill Annual Exhibition in New Hope, Pennsylvania for Traditional Still Life in Oil for his painting "The East End Striper," 24 x 30 inches.


Link to New Paintings


Hot News                                                             December 11 th, 2006

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