Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Pablo Villicaña Lara

Morning Offering, 18" x 24"

Although he was raised in both Mexican and American cultures, most of Pablo Villicaña Lara's paintings reflect his Mexican Native heritage. Depicting handmade objects such as pottery, baskets, blankets, and musical instruments in combination with flowers and other cultural objects, he creates paintings that speak of the heart of his people and the culture they are trying to preserve. With bold color and dramatic lighting, his paintings evoke a sense of ancient history and tradition, much like the stories passed down orally from generation to generation.

Artesenias Mexicanas, 18" x 24"

Speaking of his attraction to watercolor, Pablo observes, "I love everything about watercolor -- it's inherent luminous qualities, the vibrant colors, the beautiful granulating flowing textures -- though it took me several years to summon the courage to face the challenges I had heard about and it proved to be true for a few years before I discovered that there's absolutely nothing you cannot do with watercolors from the most expressionistic style to the most real and even hyper-realism. I think I fall somewhere in between: I love creating images that look real and have a presence, a sense of light, but also have hints of flowing washes and spatters."

Story Teller, 19" x 30"

Pablo was born in a small village thirty miles south of the California/Mexico border. He came to the U.S. when he was five to receive medical attention for the polio he had contracted at age two. Although he had always intended to return to Mexico, he was so far along in school by the time the medical treatments were completed that he decided to stay and finish school. He has an MFA in drawing from the California College of the Arts (formerly the California College of Arts and Crafts) and has won numerous awards for work exhibited in watercolor shows throughout the U.S. Most recently, he was invited to become a member of the International Guild of Realism and was the only watercolorist accepted into their annual exhibitions for the past two years.

Yellow Hammer, 16" x 12"

Mi Rebozo, 20" x 14"

Go to Pablo's blog to see more of his work.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A brief update...

Starting this coming week, I'll be posting a new feature every other week, rather than weekly. I'm thrilled with the interest that weekly posting has generated, but I've been spending so much time on curatorial and editorial tasks that I haven't had enough time for my own painting. Please continue to stop by -- I've got a wonderful bunch of artists lined up for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Carolyn Lord

Blue Note Poppies, 15" x 11"

Carolyn Lord has a very direct manner of painting shape-to-shape that was influenced by a George Post workshop in 1976 and solidified during a summer painting trip in the Utah desert two years later. This method of painting interlocking forms was perfectly suited to those climate conditions. There is no glazing or building up of color and values -- everything is painted directly onto dry paper with a size 36 Goliath brush. However, she also is comfortable with a wet-into-wet approach and now varies her manner of painting depending on the light, the humidity, the subject, and her inspiration.

L and Chestnut, 15" x 22"

She is happiest painting what is around her -- her garden, her town, familiar objects. She enjoys the play of light on the things around her as well as the juxtaposition of objects -- golden hay bales and lavender-blue skies, a garden hose with an orange tree, low buildings with tall telephone poles -- and they become the formal elements of line, volume, perspective, color, and value in her paintings. Her work presents an intensely personal point of view, celebrating the overlooked and the banal in the landscape, digging deep into the familiar to find her subjects.

Front Porch Pots, 15" x 22"

Peaceful Pacific, 11" x 15"

Waning Autumn, 22" x 15"

Carolyn has an impressive list of accomplishments, from shows to feature articles. Please go to
her website to see more of her work and details of her career.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Belinda Del Pesco

Pink & White Roses, 14" x 14" -- watercolor

Belinda Del Pesco works in the classical tradition of landscape, figure, and still-life painting, dividing her time between watercolor painting and printmaking. A life-long fascination with the nuances of face and figure -- and the seasonal changes in natural light on everyday things -- have been a constant source of inspiration. Her affinity for the artistic traditions of the late 19th and early 20th century is further influenced by exposure to the vast art resources on the internet. In her own words, "As artists, we are living in an extraordinary time of split-second exposure in both directions; we can see and be influenced by millions of art images, methods and history about our heroes, and we can share what we produce under those influences. My experience as an artist is completely different than my mother's generation, and I'm very appreciative of that." Belinda prefers to paint on very smooth surfaces -- plate bristol, hot-pressed paper, and gessoed wood and uses both watercolor and colored pencils when adding to her oil-based prints. Her printmaking methods include dark-field monotype, woodcut/linocut, collograph, dry point engraving and etching.

Movie Night, 5" x 7" -- monotype ghost with watercolor

Got Any More Cookies, 6" x 9" -- linocut with watercolor

Originally from New England, Belinda was raised in a family of emigré artists and inventors, where creativity was encouraged and seasoned by influences from Italy, France, England, and Canada. After earning a degree at the University of Massachusetts, she headed west and went to work in public relations in the entertainment industry. After a decade-long hiatus from art, an invitation to paint plein air re-ignited her love for watercolors, and, in 2001, she left the corporate world to paint full time. Since then she's won numerous awards and commissions and her paintings are in collections worldwide. In 2005, she started blogging as a means to share her painting and printmaking methods. To date, she has catalogued over 400 posts, and blogging has added to her sense of community as a watercolorist. Access to other watercolorists used to be limited to books, magazines, and gallery hopping; now, through blogs, online friendships, artist forums, and google searches, her camaraderie with other watercolorists is deep, wide, and international.

Pomegranates from Arizona, 6" x 8" -- watercolor

Respite, 7" x 7" -- watercolor

Please visit Belinda's blog to see more of her work and to link to her website and her online sales venues.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Steve Curl

Olmsted Point, 22" x 30"

Steve Curl paints from direct experience, having hiked to each of the magnificent places depicted in these paintings. In his hands, watercolor behaves like nature -- fresh, spontaneous, and elemental in its simplicity. It's portability affords him the opportunity to record his visual impressions quickly and with a natural freshness when he chooses to paint on location, and in the studio, it allows him to play with these natural elements -- water, mineral pigments, natural fiber papers and sable brushes. All of his paintings capture those moments when a turn in the trail reveals a scene that catches his eye and he is witness to the rush of beauty and life force unfolding before him. His paintings are recordings -- from those awestruck and inspired moments -- of what is fresh, immediate and alive, and in his estimation, true and real.

In the Canyonlands, 15" x 22"

Steve earned his bachelor's degree from Dennison University in Ohio with a major in psychology and minors in art and journalism. He continued his art education at the San Francisco Academy of Art College as well as several other art institutes, and has also studied with Charles Reid, Ron Ranson, and Tom Lynch. This award-winning artist has been teaching watercolor painting at the Pacific Art League of Palo Alto (California) for many years and has an enthusiastic following there. He also teaches on-location painting classes in Mexico for the International Elderhostel Organization and has been teaching summer classes in recent years at the Ah Haa School of Art in Telluride, Colorado.

Half Dome Majesty, 30" x 36"

View from off Tioga Road, 22" x 30"

Along Skyline, 14" x 20"

Go to Steve's website to see more of his work.