Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Year in Review -- 2009

The Slide feature has been discontinued as of March 2012.

Today marks a milestone for this blog -- one year of shining a spotlight on watercolor through the diverse works of 29 fabulous artists. I am indebted to Robin Purcell for encouraging me to create this blog. I had no idea when I started this where it would take me, and I've enjoyed the year more than I ever imagined -- meeting new artists and sharing an amazing variety of paintings with an ever-increasing audience. Thanks to everyone for supporting this effort and especially to the artists who so generously shared their work and helped to spread the word.

Please enjoy the slide review -- one painting for each of the 29 artists showcased on the blog this past year. To see the original post, click on an artist's name in the Index Links at the bottom of the sidebar or go directly to a blog or website by clicking on a link under Featured Artists - 2009.

And please join me in 2010 for more wonderful watercolors. I have a great lineup started and am very excited about the upcoming features!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

David Coffin

Spring Rivergold, 2006, 12" x 16"
watercolor and gouache on acrylic-primed paper

David Coffin's art is inspired primarily by his life-long love of pictures, of art history, and of craft and popular-culture traditions and only secondarily by the look of the "World Out There." While he is intoxicated by the beauty of the world, it is the potential of handmade images for giving us unique experiences that keeps him interested in painting. In his words, "I've always been most entranced by paintings built on things that only skilled, imaginative hands can do -- things like invoke non-physical realities, combine ideas and objects that don't meet in Real Life, assemble evocative new patterns, color harmonies and textures, and most of all, generate new feelings in purely visual ways -- that's the enduring mystery of pictures to me. I want to be a part of the exploration of that potential, and if I ever give another person a moment of delight or delicious pause because of something I discovered and brought into existence while painting, it's worth it."

Spring River, 2005, 15" x 22"
watercolor and gouache on acrylic-primed paper

David was a painting major in the late 1960s, but it was only after college that he discovered watercolor to be the perfect medium for his tastes and instincts. He was a transparent watercolor purist for many years and was dedicated to representational imagery in the service of conceptual compositions -- basically a painter with the mind of a collagist, more intrigued with what he might assemble than with what he could find in real life. His work won awards in the Chicago art-fair world in the 1970s and was included in national shows including the National Watercolor Society annual shows; he had a painting published in one of Maxine Masterfield's books and was invited to be artist-in-residence at a community in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Spring Riverblue, 2006, 30" x 22"
watercolor and gouache on acrylic-primed paper

Eventually, the need to look for another passion for a living led him to spend several decades as a writer and editor of Threads Magazine, a well-known national publication for fiber arts. Then, in 2000, a powerful dream changed everything. He awoke from his dream of touring a painter's studio and, suddenly filled with an exhilirating enthusiasm for painting again, began to plan his escape from the magazine world. He also decided to let go of all the "purist" restrictions he'd accepted in the past, to allow every possible material, inspiration and impulse, and to let preparation and play merge completely, welcoming abstraction, improvisation and expressive gestures into his work.

Mates, c. 1970, 16" x 12"

Iris Time #3 (part of a triptych), c. 1970, 12" x 9"

Please visit
David's blog and be sure to link from there to see his daily paintings on Eyes & Skies.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Linda Hancock

Light Track #4, 22" x 30"

Linda Hancock's work in painting and drawing focuses on light and shadow, positive and negative space. She is drawn to the forms that Circumstance provides -- a bike leaning against a wall with a low sun throwing shadows on the wall, a fence or bench that has its shadow pooling on the ground, an interesting architectural detail with its shadow on a textured surface. Living in Wisconsin, with its many-layered seasons and strong light at all times of year, provides unlimited opportunities for composition. Linda observes, "I paint 'in studio' using photographic references taken while traveling and while on 'time outs' from the studio, when the confines of being indoors and the constant insistence of commissioned work begin to undermine my creativity. A fresh look at common sights reignites my excitement for painting and gives me a jumpstart." Linda's fulltime work as a lettering artist and the years of training in the use of letterforms -- which are really just codified arrangements of positive and negative space -- inform her painting and drawing, and the precision that is required of a lettering artist is visible in the attention to detail in her paintings.

Madison Bike #1, 22" x 30"

Florence Bike, 22" x 30"

Linda has been a working artist for over 30 years, with an emphasis in watercolor painting and drawing. Having built her business as a lettering artist, she decided a few years ago to “finally take some time” to get back to her interest in painting, and she chose watercolor as the challenge to be pursued. An essentially self-taught watercolorist, her emphasis is on still life, with a continuing desire to explore light and shadow. Her paintings have been selected for exhibition in juried shows, most recently winning Best of Show in the ArtKudos exhibition for 2009. Although her undergraduate degree is in English Literature, Linda began studying letterforms at The Colorado College in 1968 and she continues to maintain a fulltime commercial lettering and calligraphy studio in Madison, Wisconsin. She has exhibited in Madison, Minneapolis, MN, Chicago, IL, New York City and London, UK. Her calligraphic work has been selected for the permanent collection of the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison and the Newberry Library in Chicago and has been showcased in many of the juried annual exhibitions in the international publication Letter Arts Review.

Light Track #3, 22" x 30"

Light Track #1, 22" x 30"

Please visit Linda's website to see more of her work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Carol Carter

Mixed Messages, each panel 30" x 22"

Carol Carter has been painting for 30 years -- exploring figures, places, and narratives. Her favorite narratives revolve around situations that face all of us -- including motherhood, passages of time, sisterhood, aging, connectedness, and other aspects of the human condition. Growing up in Florida, her strongest visual impression was of water as a center for human activity and, in much of her work, water provides the setting for anonymous figures. While evocative and sensual watercolors of swimmers are a signature theme, she is equally at home with dramatic botanical images as well as portraits. Her use of vibrant saturated color adds to the mysterious, seductive, intense and inviting images she paints.

Florida Corkscrew Nature Preserve, 40" x 60"

Swamp Blessed Morning, 22" x 30"

Carol received her MFA from Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. She maintains a studio in St. Louis and teaches at the university level as well as conducting workshops throughout the country. She was awarded an MAA-NEA Fellowship in Painting and Works on Paper in 1994 and was voted Best St. Louis Artist by The Riverfront Times in 2000. In 2002 her work was chosen for the cover of New American Painting magazine and in 2003, the U.S. Embassy sponsored a solo exhibition of her work at the Teatro del Centro de Arte in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She was a visiting artist in Oslo and Stavanger, Norway in 1999, 2001, and 2003. The Turner Center for the Arts in Valdosta, GA held a retrospective of her work in 2006, and she also had an exhibition in Guayaquil, Ecuador in July 2008 and a retrospective at East Central College in Fulton, MO in 2009. Different Strokes, published in 2008 by Quarto in London, England, featured her work both in the book and on the book cover. Her work is represented in many public and private art collections.

Men Are So High Maintenance, 40" x 60"

Renewal, 40" x 30"

Please visit Carol's blog to see more of her work.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Genie Even

Camellia, 11" x 20"

For Genie Even, the greatest excitement about a painting comes with the initial concept, and the greatest pleasure comes when all the components in the process meld to form the painting she visualized. She is drawn to dramatic light patterns, strong values, and exciting color. After sketching from her photo compositions, she begins a careful process of underpainting, developing values, and adjusting the color using transparent watercolor pigments. Although most of her work is realistic, her subject matter varies from floral closeups and unusual plants to figurative works and still lifes. Her work blends a high level of detail with arresting compositions and clear, brilliant color.

Tree Study, 20" x 14"

Genie is a native Californian who graduated as an art major from Scripps College; the well-known watercolorist Millard Sheets was both her professor and advisor. When she returned to full time art in the early 1990s, she studied with many talented watercolorists, including Cheng Khee Chee, Lian Quan Zhen, Karen Frey and Jane Hofstetter, among others. She is a signature member of Watercolor West, the California Watercolor Association and the Texas Watercolor Society. Her work has won many awards, including Best of Show at the Palm Springs Desert Museum, and one of her paintings is in the permanent collection of the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, CA.

Pre-teen Cool, 20" x 14"

Since moving to Knoxville, Tennessee in 2005, Genie has won awards in exhibits at regional art centers in Oak Ridge and Fountain City as well as at the Tennessee Art Association and the Art and Cultural Alliance. She continues to exhibit in national shows, including the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and the Watercolor Societies of Missouri, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Texas. She is a member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society and the Art Market Gallery in Knoxville.

Croton, 28" x 20"

Fuji Reflections II, 14" x 20"

Please visit Genie's blog to see more of her work.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jeannie Vodden

Tiny Dragon Just Simmering, 22" x 15"

Jeannie Vodden's interest in the complex textures and patterns found in both natural and man-made objects is the starting point for most of her paintings. She adds natural light, an occasional figure, sometimes a dash of fantasy, and pulls it all together with a limited palette. Her preference for the complex play of form and light is balanced by her preference for a very simple palette -- starting with only three colors and seldom using more than six or eight -- and glazing many transparent layers to achieve great richness and depth of color. Although she doesn't paint full-fledged fantasy art, she enjoys adding touches of fantasy to her portraits to convey an interaction with the magic of life. In Jeannie's words, "My desire is to bring to my work the imagination and curiosity which is so often found in children and to combine that sense of wonder with an experienced artist's hand."

Remnants, 22" x 30"

Nestled, 11" x 15"

Jeannie lives in the Sierra foothills of northern California. She spends her time painting and teaching in her cottage studio, maintaining her garden, and browsing antique and thrift stores for subjects for her work. She returned to school in 1993 to study art at American River College in Sacramento. She studied with Sacramento artist Gary Pruner, whom she credits for not only for his marvelous teaching and passion for painting, but also for his generous support and encouragement as she became a full-time painter and teacher. Jeannie has been conducting watercolor workshops throughout California as well as other states for 15 years and also teaches regular classes at The School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, CA and at University Art in Sacramento, CA. She has shown her work extensively in the California Gold Country and in the Central Valley -- including Stockton, Lodi, and Sacramento -- and has been accepted into two of the prestigious Crocker Kingsley shows at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. Jeannie has won numerous awards for her work, and the State of California has purchased two of her paintings.

Mystic Companions, 30" x 22"

Handling the Muse, 15" x 22"

Please visit Jeannie's website to see more of her work.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A short interruption...

I'm taking a couple of weeks off to be with my family following my father's death. I will be back to posting a regular feature in two weeks.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Kay Duffy

Pine Tree Patterns, 21" x 29"
gouache over acrylic

Kay Duffy finds the freedom, spontaneity and speed of watercolor well-suited to her temperament. Her watercolors are painted in a "wet and loose" or "juicy" style, using bright colors, strong shapes, and broad brushstrokes to depict impressions of individual flowers and trees as well as natural landscapes and buildings. She especially enjoys the freedom of painting on location -- en plein air -- both in the U.S. and in her travels to other countries.

As part of her ongoing interest in experimenting with different approaches, Kay has recently been exploring the use of gouache (an opaque watercolor using the same pigments and binders as traditional transparent watercolor, but with the addition of white pigment). Working on papers which she has coated with a layer of brightly colored acrylic paint, she allows bits of the undercoat to peek through, adding zest to the finished paintings.

Grand Canyon – Pumpkin, 14" x 18"
gouache over acrylic

Mt. Diablo, 21" x 29"
gouache over acrylic

Although Kay's educational background is in the sciences, she has been painting for over 40 years. Always endeavoring to learn and grow, she has taken workshops with such nationally known artists as Jane Hofstetter, Gerald Brommer, Barbara Nechis, Zoltan Szabo, Judy Betts, Marilyn Simandle, Frank Webb, Cheng Khee Chee, and many others. Her interest in plein air painting fits quite well with her love of outdoor recreation and she has been active in community affairs with a focus on parks and open space preservation. Kay is an active member of several local art associations and is a signature member of the Society of Western Artists. She teaches watercolor and collage at Hakone Gardens in Saratoga, California.

Over the Coast – Bixby Bridge, 21" x 29"
gouache over acrylic

Snowy Trees, 29" x 21"
gouache over acrylic

Please visit Kay's website to see more of her work and get information on her galleries and classes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sally Bookman

White Azalea, 22" x 30"

Although Sally Bookman lives in the Monterey Bay Area in California, with its abundance of subjects for painting, she also loves to travel and finds inspiration from exploring new places. Most of her paintings depict her love of local scenes (whether in California, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Europe), harbors, old homes by the sea, and colorful gardens. Feeling that landscape paintings can too often become trite, she uses strong design and lively color to inject excitement into her work. Sally says, "I want viewers to look at my paintings and be intrigued, curious, and captivated. If I can make them pause for a moment and recall a special time or event in their lives that brings back happy memories or evokes a feeling of pleasure, then I am happy."

Iris Garden, 30" x 22"

Sally's route to being a successful watercolorist began in London, UK, where she studied art at St. Martin's School of Art and Design and hung her paintings on the iron railings along the Thames, hoping to sell to passing art lovers. At age 19, she moved to Australia and then, a few years later, to California. After earning a doctorate in social anthropology, she moved to Santa Cruz, California and began work as a real estate agent. A decade later, she decided to take up watercolor as a part-time recreation. Although she studied art at both Long Beach State College and Cabrillo College, she feels most indebted to the many instructors whose workshops she has attended across the country over the past 20 years. While she finds herself drawn to experimenting with collage and acrylic from time to time, she always returns to watercolor.

San Miguel, 22" x 30"

Caribbean Harbor, 24" x 18"

Capitola Cafe, 24" x 18"

Please hop over to Sally's website to see more of her work.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Fábio Cembranelli

River, 15" x 22"

Although he usually works from either his photos or field sketches, Fábio Cembranelli uses those only as a starting point. He composes his paintings in the studio, adding new shapes, colors, and meanings in a free and intuitive process. Explaining why he has chosen transparent watercolor as his favorite medium, he says, "What compels me to paint with this approach is the possibility of painting quickly. It suits my personality best -- the fluidity of the medium provides a unique sensation of unexpected color mixing, particularly when I define only the main masses and allow the unpredictable to happen on the rest of the paper. Timing is quite important in my method. I lean intuitively toward realism, but the right speed forces me to create diffused effects and shapes. I love painting flowers in watercolor and I'm always enchanted by the attempt to capture the contrast between loose and definitive edges, as well as light and shadow effects."

Gladiolos, 9" x 15"

Sunflowers, watercolor over gesso texture, 25" x 18"

Fábio graduated from the School of Architecture at São Paulo State University, but after working as an architect for two years, he decided to pursue a career as an artist. He had started painting while at the university, and he continued his studies during the late 1980s and early '90s with drawing and photography courses in Brazil and painting instruction with teachers in Europe and the U.S. He has participated in many national and international art competitions in Brazil and abroad -- winning various awards -- and his work has been featured in many art magazines and on television. His paintings are in private collections all over the world. Fábio now spends time each year teaching workshops and classes in his studio in São Paulo, as well as in local art galleries and other venues throughout Brazil and abroad, and he also serves as a judge in art competitions.

Campos, 12" x 17"

Dom Bosco, 12" x 17"

Please visit Fábio's blog to see more of his work and link from there to his website for additional information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Andy Smith

Reflections in Red, 18" x 15"

Andy Smith's goal is to create paintings that capture subjects that other people overlook. Using transparent watercolors, he builds his realistic paintings with a series of washes, working with strong light and shadow to develop images that convey the mood and character of his subjects. In Andy's words, "I feel truly blessed with a gift, a talent to interpret what I see through watercolor paintings. My artistic journey has already surpassed my wildest dreams, and my journey continues as I paint daily. The creation of my daily blog has provided me with an opportunity to experiment with new subjects and to grow creatively. The added bonus has been a huge boost to my skill level above my expectations. I am not ready to call myself a master of watercolor because I realize the constant potential of growth. I believe it is all in the journey."

Chiaroscuro, 17" x 23"

Old Remedies, 13" x 16"

Andy is a self-taught artist. In lieu of formal training, he has developed his skills by studying the works of the masters, reading voraciously, and staying current in the world of art. He fine-tunes his talent with daily practice, discipline and dedication. As a professional painter since 1980, he has received many awards over the years, but he places more emphasis on his personal connection with clients. He enjoys sharing his love of watercolor and regularly gives presentations at local schools as well as demonstrating during the weekend art festivals he participates in throughout the year.

Waiting Room, 18" x 15"

Autumn View, 19" x 13"

Please visit Andy's blog to see his daily paintings and find out more about him and his work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Amy Arntson

Under Tom's Pier, 46" x 66"

"A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” — Henry David Thoreau

Growing up in the Great Lakes region, Amy Arntson has always found water to be a powerful symbol, and her paintings are about spirit as much as they are about water. In her words, "Water is intimately connected with the passage of time, with stability and change: both fragile and seemingly eternal. Most of my current paintings do not reference the surrounding land; instead they focus on light, texture, shape and movement of water. There is no place to stand; only a place to be. Without a horizon line, viewers are encouraged to meditate on the water, projecting themselves into the painting. While the artist begins the painting, each viewer completes it with memories and personal associations."

Clouds Reflected, 27" x 27"

As an artist, author, and art professor, her commitment to painting is enriched by a respect for art and design history, and for the region where she lives. Influences on her work range from wash drawings of the 17th century illuminists -- who addressed the relationship between landscape and the expression of feeling -- to an array of 20th century abstract artworks. Visual design elements of color, shape, and texture are an underpinning to all of her realistic paintings, as are a sense of place and time. The paintings are created from sketches and photographs of locations in the Great Lakes and many other areas; she works in watercolor because, having examined a wide variety of media and concepts, she finds line and wash and watercolor to be consistently the most beautiful and appealing to her eye.

Mystic Gemstone, 23" x 28"

Amy Arntson grew up in the lakeshore town of Frankfort, Michigan. After earning a BFA from Michigan State University, she went on to get her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she taught art and design for 22 years. Her many lectures and presentations have spanned the globe, and she has also authored college art and design textbooks. A full-time artist, she has exhibited paintings in the Florence Bienniale, as well as in China and England, along with presentations in Central and South America and the United Arab Emirates.

Fall Wind, 35" x 30"

Gulf Storm, 30" x 23"

Please visit Amy's website to see more of her work.