Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Media Spotlight—Watercolor Artists 2009

Ardella “Jo” Swanberg—Watercolor

Of all the media she has studied, Ardella loves watercolor best. She started using watercolor when she was a freshman in high school and the art teacher told the class, "Well, it takes twenty years to become proficient with watercolor." Ardella thought at that moment, "I better get started!"

© Ardella “Jo” Swanberg

Ardella is intrigued with watercolor because of the brightness of the colors and the way they mix on the paper, which she says, “is an entirely different effect from any other medium.” She finds drawing to be an important part of painting, and she draws to explore the design of a painting or to record a moment.

© Ardella “Jo” Swanberg

Ardella has experimented with print making, oil painting and weaving but she always comes back to watercolor. The past few years she has been making and altering books and using oils, acrylics and goauche.

According to Ardella, “I paint because I have to. Some people have to write, build things, repair cars, surf, run or garden. I have to create paintings. So as long as I am doing it, I try to do it well.”

© Ardella “Jo” Swanberg

Deb Festa—Watercolor

Deb Festa’s watercolor and acrylic paintings are filled with bold, bright color. Deb is inspired by the beauty of California’s Central Coast...

Poppies on Highway 46 © Deb Festa

Portovenere Italy © Deb Festa

...and Yosemite, Hawaii, and the California Missions.

When asked where she likes to paint, Deb shared that she generally paints in her studio in Los Osos, California. “My studio has six windows, which give me perfect light. It is as if I were painting outside.” Deb also stated that for her, “painting is a very spiritual experience” – as a result, Deb prefers to paint alone and in total quiet.

Deb’s favorite brushes are not watercolor brushes but acrylic brushes that she uses for both Watercolor and Acrylic painting.

Deb teaches aspiring artists and gives watercolor and acrylic painting demonstrations to local groups.

When asked to share a shortcut or tip, Deb replied, “A shortcut for me would be painting from my photos that I have taken over the years. I don’t paint from memory. I sometimes use many photos for one painting. When I am painting flowers, I have fresh flowers from out of my garden or from farmers market that I look at while I am painting. I can use one flower to paint a whole painting, by moving the flower in different directions.

Deb’s favorite master of all times is Michelangelo, “The David, Pieta and the Sistine Chapel are so moving. The energy that is felt when you step into St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is amazing. I have been very blessed to visit Italy and stand next to these beautiful creations.”

Pt. Pino Lighthouse, Onterey, CA © Deb Festa

Hope Myers—Watercolor

After taking art classes filled with still-lifes and figure painting, Hope branched out and started painting florals. Hope had so much fun with the color she decided to do the same with boats, landscapes, and just about everything her brush touches.

Hope’s paintings are infused with color, and for Hope, “Color is the most important part of a painting.”

© Hope Myers

Hope gives art demonstrations to share her colorful technique to local art associations and groups.

These days, Hope paints whatever catches her eye - as long as she can play with the color a bit!

© Hope Myers

When asked about inspiration, Hope said, “Monet’s rich color, use influenced me, along with Titan and Michaelangelo. And I was lucky enough to take three classes with Robert Reynolds. His color use is definitely more subtle than mine, but he is my favorite watercolorist.”

© Hope Myers

Susan Wood—Watercolor

When painting watercolor paintings, Susan’s goal is to achieve the quality and essence of her subject without getting exactingly realistic.

Whale Rock Reservoir © Susan Wood

Susan especially loves to paint in places that are quiet and out of the way, where she can “feel nature around me, hear birds, or water, or trees or grass blowing in the breeze. If there’s something to smell, that’s even better, like the scent of flowers or pine. Any place that engages as many senses as possible is best, a place whose aliveness elicits my own aliveness, and whose calmness elicits my own calmness.”

Towards Morro Bay © Susan Wood

Fortunately, Susan lives in a place where it is not difficult to find such a place, we have many scenic and winding roads that are not heavily traveled. She likes going on Old Creek Road, or Santa Rosa Creek Road. Occasionally she will hike in somewhere, but says, “that’s a lot of work, and I am often too lazy to lug my equipment.”

Afternoon Road © Susan Wood

Susan loves watercolor that is spontaneous and loose, that shows a beautiful quality of light and transparency—like in the paintings of Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, John Singer Sargent, and Joseph Turner to name a few.

Beachwalk 3 © Susan Wood