Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Media Spotlight—Watercolor Artists 2013

Jarien de Ham—Watercolor

Jarien de Ham
I have been painting Chinese-style paintings for a decade. I hesitate to call myself a “Chinese brush painter” since I am not Chinese. I am an admirer of Chinese culture, art and philosophy from an early age. From looking at Chinese art, I have tried to translate what I see in my own environment into paintings with a Chinese feeling. We are surrounded with cypress trees and headlands surrounded by fog which work into the spontaneity of xie yi style. The mood is fresh and often nostalgic. Even though meticulous style, called gong bi, looks more difficult and shows off technical ability of brush control, to me it is simpler, while still beautiful. I have been fortunate to travel to China and study for a month at a time at a prestigious art school several times. I will be going there again soon and hope to absorb more of the aesthetics and incorporate it into new pieces.

Montana de Oro, Rough Water © Jarien de Ham

Inspired by local landscape. The tiny person is
dwarfed by powerful forces.
Man Walking, Lone Pine Tree © Jarien de Ham

A casual scene not depicting any particular place. This
is xie yi or spontaneous style. My goal was to compose
a painting in traditional Chinese style.

Ardella Swanberg—Watercolor

Of all the media I have studied, I love watercolor best. I started using watercolor when I was a freshman in high school and the art teacher told the class, “Well, it takes twenty years to become proficient with watercolor.” I thought at that moment, “I better get started!” Watercolor intrigues me because of the brightness of the colors and the way they mix on the paper which is an entirely different effect from any other medium. In the time since I graduated from college, I have experimented with print making, oil painting, and weaving but I always come back to watercolor. I was astounded when I took my first watercolor workshop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had been painting all my life but never knew anything about quality paper and paint. It is amazing how much better you paint when you buy fine quality supplies. Now, I am careful to select the most permanent paints, the most stable paper and archival matting and framing.

Cerro Romaldo © Ardella Swanberg
Cayucos Cove © Ardella Swanberg


Sarah DeLong—Watercolor

Sarah DeLong
I recently moved to Morro Bay at the end of 2011 from Grinnell Iowa. I have traveled throughout the United States but only a few times on the west coast.

I got hooked on watercolor over 26 years ago and I am in my element painting near a rushing stream or setting on a dock in a harbor. I am mainly a landscape painter but have painted people, animals, flowers and more recently fishing boats. Watercolor has allowed me to have a loose realistic interpretation of a subject. I love the transparent and glowing colors, soft and hard edges and the blending of colors one can create with watercolor.

I am a signature member of the Iowa Watercolor Society and have won a 1st, 3rd and two 5th place ribbons in their Annual Jury Show. I have exhibited in many shows in Minnesota and Iowa. In 2010 the National Transparent Watercolor Society accepted my painting called “Oaxaca Basket Weaver” painting into their annual jury show.

Morning Fog in Wisconsin © Sarah DeLong
Evening in Morro Bay © Sarah DeLong

Deb Festa—Watercolor

Deb Festa
Deb paints with passion and joy in her heart. She is known as the Happy Painter because of her vibrant color combinations and her spirit of life. She has been selling her art for over forty years, (ten years at the Gallery at Mariana Square) and loving every minute of it. Landscapes and florals are among some of her favorite things to paint.

Deb is a self taught artist who gets so immersed in her painting that it becomes a form of meditation. She feels blessed to have the natural beauty around her, which is a constant inspiration to paint and to create dynamic ways to share her artistic vision with others.

Deb’s artwork is in 43 states and 20 different countries. She loves to track where her paintings travel to. She has had over 60 solo exhibitions, many group shows, and a television appearance.

Deb’s purpose is to capture and share the serenity and joy of nature – a serene refuge from the modern world.

Burano, Italy © Deb Festa
Festa’a Paradise © Deb Festa


Virginia Mack—Watercolor

Virginia Mack
Capturing the moments: I love being afloat in my kayak in the back bay of Morro Bay gliding by the birds making quick watercolor sketches of them. I occasionally paint a quick scene of the rock or the peaks from mid bay. The waves, the tide, the wind all become a part of the paintings. I feel continuous with it all.

Watercolor is my medium for these paintings. Its fluidity and unpredictable ways add to my sense of capturing the moment.

Curlew © Virginia Mack
Kayak View Peaks © Virginia Mack

Susan Wood—Watercolor

Susan Wood
I love watercolor. It’s challenging, it’s translucent, it spontaneous. At least I think that the best qualities of good watercolor is translucence and spontaneity. I don’t want to paint to be exactingly realistic—I want to paint an expression of what I see.

Each medium presents challenges—and watercolor has several. Some colors are opaque, some transparent, some are staining, others non-staining, some are “sedimentary.” White is not normally used in watercolor—the white you see is the paper—so if I want to leave something white, I don’t paint there! Watercolor is much lighter when it dries than it is when still wet. Watercolor can be painted very wet, very dry, or anywhere in between for different effects, and the heat, humidity, and light will affect how quickly it dries. I paint “en plein air”—in other words, outdoors. This adds it’s own challenges, as the light and air conditions (and the water conditions if painting at the ocean) are in constant flux.

Painting outside in watercolor is a constant adventure.

Sweet Spring Reflections © Susan Wood
Windy Dunes © Susan Wood