Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kaaren Oreck

Arigato Makoto, 21" x 28"

When she discovered watercolor in 1989, Kaaren Oreck finally felt she had found the perfect medium for her work. In her words, "Watercolor is a medium that is just as beautiful three inches away as it is across the room." Travels and exhibitions in Japan have provided much of her current inspiration -- many wonderful complex patterns seem to combine with beautiful simplicity in Japanese life. And flowers, always an inspiration, seem more highly treasured in Wisconsin because of the long winters. Whether her subject matter comes from just around the corner or from halfway around the world, she feels that watercolor can portray the color of the world in its brightest light and darkest shadow with equal excitement.

Geisha #3, 28" x 16"

After she has taken photo images that are interesting and exciting to her, Kaaren manipulates them to eliminate the extraneous details and develop those that will convey what she has envisioned. She uses a very limited palette to create unity in her paintings, working in many transparent layers on both wet and dry paper.

Still-life Impressions of Japan, 18" x 27"

Kaaren lived in many parts of the country before moving to Madison, Wisconsin, where she currently resides. After getting a BS in nursing from Boston University, she began taking every available art class, whether college courses or private. A friend jokingly called Kaaren "the queen of workshops," but she feels very fortunate to have studied with so many wonderful teachers. Her paintings have been juried into numerous exhibitions in Wisconsin and across the country and have won many awards. She is a Signature Member of the National Watercolor Society, the Louisiana Watercolor Society, and the Wisconsin Watercolor Society, as well as a member of several other art societies, with professional status in Wisconsin Visual Artists. She also has served as a board member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA). In 2005, Kaaren was selected as the featured artist for WHA -- Wisconsin Public Television -- and her paintings are included in Pouring Transparent Watercolors by Jean Grastorf and The Artistic Touch 4 by Chris Unwin.

Colors of Nature, 18" x 29"

Serendipity, 20" x 27"

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

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Verena Heroux

Midsummer's Morning, 21" x 29"

Growing up in the English countryside inspired in Verena Heroux a love of nature's beauty and the desire to portray it in watercolor. Surrounded by her father's beautiful gardens, she began painting flowers at a very early age. Although she painted all through her childhood, she set her interests aside to raise her family and only began to paint seriously in 1998, after her husband retired. She has taken no formal classes in either painting or composition, being primarily self-taught through books and self-directed study.

Flirtation, 17" x 27"

Verena prefers to work from photos so she can capture the play of sun and shadow which is critical in the design of her paintings, so she always takes her camera on her morning walks and frequently stops to photograph the flowers in her neighbors' gardens. Working on Arches 300 lb. cold-pressed paper, she uses an assortment of kolinsky brushes -- rounds from size 2 to 10 -- and a Richeson 2-inch flat sable for background washes. She uses Daniel Smith and Maimeri Blu watercolors and also Incredible White Mask liquid frisket.

Sunday Afternoon, 17" x 27"

Fairy Tales, 16" x 22"

Verena has held several solo shows and has been juried into numerous local and regional shows, winning many awards along the way. She became a Signature Member of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina in 2005 and is active in the Southern Watercolor Society. As a finalist in International Artist magazine's "Still-life and Florals Challenge #47," her work was published in the October/November 2008 issue of that magazine. She is currently working on an article demonstrating her painting techniques for International Artist. Verena is represented by the Mattie King Davis Gallery and Handscapes Gallery, both in Beaufort, NC.

Shadow Boxing, 16" x 22"

Please jump over to Verena's website to see more of her work.