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Ewen MacDonald

The scrap iron man’s boots summed up so much. The worn soles spoke of hours trudging dirty wet streets, the cracked leather of the shoes had lived through the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

The old hammers were left amidst the waste, discarded at the end of a long day. Their worn handles spoke of intimacy with human hands whilst the gashed dented metal told of brute force and the need to subdue

The objects I paint tell a story, they stand in witness to lives of labour, repetition and industry. I paint human resourcefulness and celebrate beauty in the everyday.

Ewen MacDonald’s watercolour paintings cover a wide spectrum of techniques and styles. His landscapes of Istanbul, Central Asia and his native UK reference the long heritage of watercolour painting. His more recent studies of rusting, discarded objects of modern life in pure watercolour draw our attention to artefacts rich in social history, to objects that are sculpted through common everyday use and the action of the elements on them.


Using traditional pure watercolour techniques and a realist style he combines texture, detail, form and colour to create images of things usually left invisible to us by their familiarity. The city of Istanbul is host to most of the exhibitions Ewen has been a part of, although in the last four years he has been exhibiting with the Royal Institute for Painters in Watercolour at the Mall Galleries London and also with the Royal Watercolour Society in 2014.

Ewen has a degree from University College London and a teaching diploma from the Institute of Education London University, he was born in the UK in 1967, worked in London, China and Istanbul.


Istanbul December 2019