David Paskett

D a v i d   P a s k e t t

Honorary Member (England)

Vermeer in China

The complexity of my studio paintings is resolved through a considered process of balancing, ordering and giving emphasis in the way that a conductor might direct an orchestra. An intuitive geometry underpins my compositions. Edges are defined and shapes ‘lock’ together with a clarity harking back to stained glass window construction of college days. This is in contrast to my more spontaneous ‘plein air’ painting method, which welcomes ‘gestures’ and the ‘spirited lines’ that I admire in other painters. I warm to the dark paths that shadows take in bright light – the dynamic patterns they make that lend sculptural gravity and theatrical significance to the otherwise un-noteworthy.

The dialogue between figuration and abstraction are at the core of my work. My more abstract painted and collaged ‘placescapes’ are a way of mapping out a mass of memories into one multifaceted image. These more experimental and playful paper inventions sometimes move into three dimensions defying the boundaries of watercolour. I love to draw.

Born in London, David Paskett studied at Hornsey, Exeter, and Liverpool Colleges of Art. He lived in Hong Kong from1986 to 1990, where he still exhibits regularly.

One of Britain’s leading watercolourists, Paskett is held in equally high regard in China, which is a major source of inspiration for his paintings. Since 2009, he has joined Chinese artists as a judge and participant in the Lushan International Watercolour Festival and the Shanghai Zhujiajiao International Watercolour Biennial, as well as being invited as a guest exhibitor at the Hangzhou Art Academy Watercolour Exhibition, the Hangzhou Hundred Years of Brilliance Watercolour Exhibition and Tradition and Transformation: Taiwan-Australia Exhibition.

His distinctive watercolour technique is founded in oil and tempera painting, with emphasis on drawing, being characterised by detail, clear shadows, controlled tone and rhythmic repeated patterns. His figurative Chinese themes, where subject matter is of the essence, may be of a poignant moment, an ironic juxtaposition, a dramatic shadow, a limpid reflection in a canal backwater or an assorted array of paraphernalia.  

Paskett had a long career in art education but, apart from presenting occasional lectures, painting courses and Oxford University tutorials, he has devoted himself to painting full-time since 1986.

Elected a member of the Royal Watercolour Society (RWS) in 2001, he served as Vice President in 2007 and was RWS President from 2009 until 2012. During his Presidency, links were established with David van Nunen, President of the Australian Watercolour Institute, for exchange exhibitions.

Currently British Ambassador for watercolour painting, Paskett’s prizes include those from The Sunday Times, The Hunting/Observer and the Royal Watercolour Society, as well as the 1965 Queens Award. He was artist-in-residence at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, 1992-1993. In 2008, he completed a series of watercolours for the 150th anniversary of Standard Chartered Bank in China.

His paintings are in numerous public, corporate and private collections, including HRH The Queen Mother; the Hong Kong Jockey Club; Shell; Jardines; Chase Manhattan Bank; Honeywell; the Hong Kong Tourist Association and the World Bank.

In acknowledgement of his services to Watercolour internationally, David Paskett was made an Honorary Member of the AWI in 2010 and is also an Honorary Member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour,


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