Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kathleen Ballard

Pond Lilies, 9" x 12"

Kathleen Ballard strives to depict the serene and elegant side of nature, whether focusing on a beautiful flower, a garden landscape or a water surface. She chooses themes that emphasize light-struck objects, vibrant color, and plentiful detail. Many of her paintings are inspired by visits to botanical gardens near her home -- The Huntington Library, the Descanso Gardens, and the Los Angeles Arboretum. Primarily a studio painter, she works from her reference photos to create her drawings and then develops her paintings with layers of color to create depth and form.

Cactus Pears, 15" x 28"

Rose Garden, 16" x 22"

Although she has been drawing and painting since she was a child, Kathleen began her journey with watercolor when she attended her first class at Otis Parsons; she has been passionate about the medium ever since and has taken many workshops over the years. She worked as a signwriter for many years -- most of those in the motion picture industry -- leaving her position at Paramount Pictures in 2005 to make art full time. She is an affiliate of several watercolor societies, from local to national, and has been exhibiting her work and winning awards for a number of years; she received her signature in the National Watercolor Society in 2009. Kathleen's work was featured in the April 2010 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine.

Roses for Trish, 7" x 10"

Yellow Blooms, 11" x 18"

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

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Susan Abbott

Fleet Summer, 40" x 60"

In Susan Abbott's view, one thing all artists have in common is a love of "just making things." She grew up in a family that encouraged her early interest in both art and crafts and she dropped out of high school in her hurry to get to art school. Although she never took watercolor classes, she began concentrating on transparent watercolor early in her career, attracted to its vibrant color and spontaneity. During the 1980s and 90s, she focused on large-scale, complex works combining still life, landscape, decorative patterns, and graphic elements into unique compositions that joined intense realism with abstract design.

Fruits and Fields, Provence, 15" x 22" (diptych)

Piero and Pitchers, 22" x 30"

Susan also uses watercolor in plein air landscape painting. In her words, "Rather than constructing a still life over a span of weeks, a plein air landscape requires immediate decisions, emotion, gesture, and being 'in the moment' with a medium. I love this. In many ways, I find working quickly outdoors more challenging than building a painting slowly in the studio." Although she paints watercolor landscapes on her frequent travels to teach workshops, she is currently doing studio work in oils on a series of multi-panel still lifes and landscapes and finds that her long use of transparent watercolor has changed her approach to oils.

Clouds Over Lavender, 14" x 14"

Susan graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA and MFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art and has worked as a professional artist since then -- exhibiting in galleries and museums around the country. She has taught watercolor classes at MICA as well as teaching workshops in Europe, India, and the U.S. Her work has been featured in Watercolor Artist (cover story, October 2009) and The Artist's Magazine (January 2010) in addition to many other publications including The Washington Post, American Artist, International Artist, and Watercolor Magazine; she has also been featured on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show. She has been the recipient of grants from the Vermont and Maryland Arts Councils and of numerous private and public painting commissions, and her work is represented in numerous corporate and individual collections.

Vista, Joucas, Provence, 14" x 20"

Please go to Susan's website for more information on her paintings, workshops, and two popular blogs.