Artists, who won ribbons in February 2020 show, are sharing their thoughts and inspiration for creating their winning paintings.
ALISON HENDRY – FIRST PLACE - "UNCONDITIONAL LOVE"
I am a hopeless soft-hearted sentimentalist. I cry in the movies, when I read books or listen to great music, so when I saw this month ’s theme, I was thrilled. THIS I can paint.
I trolled through many photos asking myself, “What touches my heart”? Peace, quiet, serenity, my daughter, my family, my friends, my pets. I found a photo that spoke to me and I felt, “This is the one I want to paint”. Robin Avery once told me, “You like things up close and personal, like you are having a conversation with the subjects.” She is SO right.
I cropped in close and once transferred to the watercolor paper, after much drawing and grumbling, as noses are difficult for me, I started with my usual light washes, underpainting and glazes. I played with phthalo blue instead of ultramarine blue as I am finding it lets me layer more often despite being a scary pigment to play with. I layered darker and darker for shadows and tried to balance that with the light. I was frustrated with the fur on the cat in the early stages, but persevered and used a clean damp brush to soften it when I felt the hair was too stiff.
I could hear Carla Gauthier in my ear when I painted the nose, “A little warmth on the end works.” I messed up one of the eyebrows twice and thankfully because I work on 300 lb. Arches paper that can take some scrubbing, I got it in the right place.
I hope “Unconditional Love” is shown in my precious daughter and my beloved cat. Know that I am thankful for the gifts from the teachers and fellow artists at WAS-H. You all help me to become a better artist.
TAMARA KONTRIMAS – SECOND PLACE - "HORNET’S NEST"
“Hornet's Nest” was inspired by a nest I harvested from one of the eaves of my summer cottage in Nova Scotia. Removal caused the nest to break open revealing the cavity in such a way that it resembled a heart right down to the inner chambers. The cottages in the area are known for accommodating as many strains of familial relations as exist; parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, second cousins, in-laws, significant others and friends of significant others. With all of the various personalities inhabiting such a small space, things can get thorny. “How fitting?” I thought. “
This is the perfect metaphor for the cottage, based in love, with all of its attenuating complications.”
DANIELA WERNECK - THIRD PLACE - “GONE WITH THE WIND”
My painting “Gone with the Wind” was inspired by the classical movie with the same title. This movie marked my childhood a lot. I remember watching it several times. - Ah!!! how I wanted to be strong, brave, rich and beautiful like Scarlet O’Hara!
Recently, after watching it again, I decided to paint it. The most memorable scene for me was the one which shows a landscape with strong orange sky in the background and a huge oak tree at the front. They were the two things I wanted for sure to be part of the painting.
As a figurative painter, I need people in my art, so I remembered that about 8 years ago, one of my nieces had posed for me over an oak tree nearby. I looked among the photos I had, and I selected a few to use as a reference for this composition.
The house is supposed to be “Tara” the house in the fiction.
SARAH KITAGAWA – Honorable Mention - "WITH AN OPEN HEART"
“With an Open Heart” - Botanicals are a favorite subject for my watercolor works. I find overlapping layers of pigment, in a delicate dance with water, and the paper surface a rewarding, meditative experience. I enjoy both growing and painting the many stages of the grand herb’s fronds, fruits and blossom. I use the live plant, several reference photos, a simple 3 value sketch, and a palette of 5 or 6 pigments, 300 lb. arches and a lot of patience to create the design, depth, richness of pigment, and textures.
SUSAN GIANNANTONIO – Honorable Mention - "CHAUTAUGUA NOCTURNE"
My favorite paintings are usually ones I paint when I have the most fun. In fact, when I teach, my #1 priority is to create an experimental atmosphere for students to have FUN because the fun almost always shows up in your paintings. The opposite is also true--when you work hard, often your finished product looks laboriously stiff. Just think about the idea of "executing" a painting. Executing?! I don't aim to execute anything - I'd rather give birth to something fun to paint and enjoyable to view.
Without giving away too many surprises I have used unusual tools to create my painting, traditionally painted, the fun began when I started breaking rules! To begin I put a large blob of fresh Chautauqua Nocturne”, which was painted as a demo in my summer water media class. Although the underpainting is Mars Black on my palette. Then I applied my paint with tools that were entirely experimental. Now that I've discovered this technique, I love to surprise my students with a similar demonstration. I look forward to February's Paint-in, February 20 Senior Class and upcoming classes to reveal my secrets.
LES MCDONNALD - Honorable Mention - “BARNYARD”
“Barnyard” is a scene from a trip to Mexico about 25 years ago. We were there on a quail hunt. We had come in that morning, had lunch and were not going out until later that afternoon. I took the opportunity to walk around the little town, Santa EnGracia, and shoot some photos. The whole little village was pretty rustic, but I took some amazing scene photos. It has turned out to be a wealth of reference material.