Meet 9 artists who capture life in layers of watercolor
This story was featured in the January 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art January 2013 print edition, or download the Southwest Art January 2013 issue now…Or just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss an issue!
“After completing this painting of the ROYAL GALAS, I had prints made. I gave the prints to two wonderful friends. They are the Royal Gals to me. I have often thought I should change the title of this painting to THE ROYAL GALS. There they are, shining with beautiful transparent layers of many colors surrounded by a garden of flowers in the fabric. The joy of layering watercolors has transformed my work. I cannot obtain such a rich, vibrant depth of color any other way. How wonderful it is to bring a painting to life with such an easy process and a little patience. Each time I look at this painting, I am aware of how blessed I am to have good friends like my Royal Gals.”
“This painting started on a family trip to the St. Louis Art Museum, taking photos of the artwork, light, and reflections. Later it occurred to me what had unfolded in this image. Our son was oblivious to everything around him, texting on his phone. I was so caught up taking pictures that I was not fully engaged either. Sadly, sometimes life is like that, when we are too busy to stop and enjoy the beauty around us; this reality inspired WHAT WE WORSHIP. Painting on wet paper allowed me to suggest the museum patrons and background shapes, while working on dry paper [in the foreground] allowed for sharp edges with heightened contrast. I added details and lifted paint to create a sense of the layers of space.”
“I encountered this image in a series of photographs I took at a public event in Denver, CO. I was struck by the impression that although the couple seemed like they were together, there seemed, as well, an underlying separateness between them—a dance of sorts. In the dictionary, the definition of tango reads: ‘1. A ballroom dance of Latin-American origin in 2/4 time characterized by long pauses and stylized body positions. 2. Interaction marked by a lack of straightforwardness.’ The allusion to a tango seemed appropriate. Cropping the face of the figure in the foreground was a calculated compositional decision made prior to starting the piece. I felt it emphasized what I wanted to say with the painting.”
“Working with a dry-brush method, in both watercolor and acrylic, offers a depth and richness for my glazes that helps me create images reflecting my passion for the unique and diversified American landscape. My goal is to draw the viewer into the painting for an intimate connection with everyday forms and a sense of place. My subjects most often are rural areas and ancient spaces, capturing a bygone era. EDGE OF TOWN is a nod to the historic relevance of the rural New Mexico experience—now a nearly extinct way of life in this country—honoring small communities, self-sufficiency, and living history.”
“My style of painting is called ‘splash ink with watercolor.’ It is a blending of Asian black ink and primary watercolors poured onto layers of mulberry rice paper, adding finishing touches from both eastern and western traditions. FROLICKING IN THE FOREST is a large painting, with predominantly black ink and only small areas of lighter colors. I used a Chinese brush and created the hills, reflections, trees, and flowered branches. But I felt the painting was missing a focal point. One day I was looking through a book, saw a group of birds, and immediately had the idea to add five birds to the painting, and the painting came alive.”
“I love watercolor, and I chose it for STAGE 2 because of its transparency and speed of execution. STAGE 2 was painted during a 90-minute figure-drawing session where I worked fast but stressed accuracy. I drew with design in mind and then applied paint in all areas, trying to get a degree of finish on the face and hands, leaving minor areas to finish in the studio. The setting was the old chapel at St. Francis University, which had been turned into a summer theater. It had high windows, making for some exciting light. The model, Real, was a retired Acadian French teacher who often modeled with props but this time was just reading. The light and his interesting personality were my keys to that necessary spark of inspiration.”
Lyghtesome Gallery, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada; The Flight of Fancy, Bear River, Nova Scotia, Canada; Details Past & Present, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; williamrogersart.com.
“My paintings are experimental. They are images that I remember after I’ve been to a place. I like to think about the feeling of it, rather than reproducing it, as one might see it in a photograph or in a drawing in detail. I let the great experiment go until I think it’s there. The viewer can then travel in the imagination as I have. CELEBRATION NIGHT goes back to a memory as a young person, visiting my grandparents in Brooklyn, NY. They took me into New York City, and I found the lights to be sparkling and amazing—a forever memory!”
“Spending a day at the Martin Luther King march/parade in Denver last spring, I came across a group of young girls from the city enjoying the high emotion and significance of the day. During a pause in their enthusiasm, I was drawn to the intense focus of this young woman. Her look embodied the spiritual element of the day—inner strength, pride, confidence, and wisdom. I am intuitively drawn to the people I paint. It is often a candid look or an emotion coupled with strong light that inspires me. I am intrigued and want to capture their personal story in watercolor. Working from black-and-white photographs, I use many layers of transparent color to bring interest and life to my paintings.”
“I have been fascinated with the ancient ginkgo tree ever since I planted one on my hillside. It has become an interesting tree to sketch. I always start with a sketch or sketches to let my composition evolve before I start to paint. The challenge was to arrange colors and forms while adding the illusion I wanted to create. A simple airbrushed background with watercolors was a foil for the complicated tree foreground. I added gesso for texture on the tree. Painting it has been a fun experience.”
Featured in the January 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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