Mindfulness and Art: Aloes, South of France

Watercolour of aloe plants
William John Leech (1881-1968), Aloes, South of France, c.1915/17. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

Take 5 minutes

Spend 5 minutes sitting in silence, looking at this watercolour.

Some things to reflect on while looking in silence:

  • How do you feel while looking at the watercolour?
  • What do you notice? What is your eye drawn to?
    • The artist's lines and marks
    • The composition
    • The light
    • The shadows
    • The colours
    • The forms and shapes
    • The subject
  • What is the mood and atmosphere?
  • Why do you think the artist created the watercolour?
Watercolour by Leech
Watercolour of buildings

About the watercolour

William John Leech (1881–1968), Aloes, South of France, c.1915/17

In the winters of 1915 and 1917, Irish artist Leech travelled to the fishing village Les Martiques, near Marseilles, to paint. Inspired by the decorative quality of the aloe plants that thrive there, he embarked on his Aloes series of oil paintings. The large scale of the paintings suggests they were executed in his studio in London, based on watercolour studies such as this, done on the spot. The influence of Post-Impressionism is evident in the artist’s heightened awareness of colour and rhythmic pattern.

See more work by William John Leech in our online collection.

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