Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Iain Stewart

Early Evening, Opelika, Alabama, 9" x 13"

"The act of painting, for me, is chicken soup on a cold day. It's my comfort food and my peace. When I am relaxed and the washes are flowing, ideas are clicking, I forget the clock and I am me."

Growing up the son of a watercolorist formed the way Iain Stewart sees the world by breaking it down into washes, values, shapes, contrasts, lines and brushstrokes, and his father has had a great influence on his growth as an artist -- perhaps more by example than direct instruction. Iain's background in architecture added a love of built forms and his education at the Rural Studio under the late Samuel Mockbee helped him understand the simple beauty of the rural south. Living in Opelika, Alabama, a railroad town where the remnants of the past are easily visible, he seeks out the places in his daily life that have not completely lost their history, exploring the beauty in the mundane. He is intrigued by the play between rigid and loose and strives to find a balance between the two in his painting -- anchoring his landscapes with something solid or man-made, or varying his brushstrokes to break up the rigidity of architectural forms.

Coaling Tower, Opelika, Alabama, 13" x 9"

South Railroad Ave. in Snow, Opelika, Alabama
13" x 9"

Iain is a native of Scotland who received his degree in Architecture from Auburn University and did thesis work at the Rural Studio in Hale County, Alabama. He's been painting in watercolor for over 20 years and, after working as a residential architect, established his architectural illustration business in 1996 as a way to combine his love of watercolor and design. His architectural illustrations have been reproduced in many publications, including Better Homes and Gardens, The Robb Report, Coastal Living, Inspired House, and Southern Living.

Frustrated with the constraints of commercial work, Iain renewed his interest in fine art in recent years and has started showing his work in national shows. He won the the Southern Watercolor Society Award at the Watercolor Society of Alabama's 69th National Exhibition this year and was recently named one of Watercolor Artist magazine's "Ones to Watch" for 2010, to be published in the December issue of the magazine (available in October).

Miss Voncille, Coden, Alabama, 13" x 9"

Heading Out, Resurrection Bay, Alaska, 13" x 9"

Please jump to Iain's blog for more news about his work and a link to his website.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tom Francesconi

Stage Performer, 20" x 13"

Tom Francesconi's paintings are a visual statement of his love for life. In his words, "As an artist, I have chosen to express myself through the language of paint, and stirred emotions are the essential beginnings of that language. Painting puts me in touch not only with the world around me, but also with the world inside of me. It is my hope that my paintings will echo that emotional response and the viewer will share in my spirited statements."

Longing, 21" x 14"

Pearl Necklace, 11" x 15"

Tom studied art at Eastern Illinois University and later focused on watercolor, studying with Irving Shapiro at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. After working more than 12 years as a commercial artist, he returned to fine art and devoted himself to his painting. His work has been published in eight books, including the just-released Splash 11. He has written articles for the magazines Watercolor and Watercolor Magic (now Watercolor Artist); an earlier article for Watercolor -- "Lively Painting, Purposeful Color" -- was reprinted in a special edition of Watercolor Highlights in the spring of 2008.

Tom's work has been exhibited in many national exhibitions -- the American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and Watercolor West, as well as other prestigious shows. He has signature status in five watercolor societies, including the National Watercolor Society, the Transparent Watercolor Society of America (Master Status), and the Northwest Watercolor Society. His work has garnered numerous awards, most recently the Lakes Region Watercolor Guild Award at the 2010 TWSA Exhibition and the Henry Fukuhara Award at the 2009 Watercolor West Exhibition.

The Tryst, 11" x 15"

Tom teaches weekly classes in Chicago and conducts workshops throughout the country. He has juried both regional and national exhibitions and lectured at museum and college venues, and he served as president of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America from 2001-2003, initiating its transformation from Midwest Watercolor Society to TWSA. He is represented by the White Street Gallery in Frankfort, IL, and his work is included in many private and corporate collections.

Aged, Yet Adorned, 13" x 20"

Please jump over to Tom's website to see more of his work.