Sunday, August 16, 2015

Artist Appreciation Month

I have been invited by Patience Brewster
to write about what has influnced me in my work.
This is in honor of August as Artist Appreciation Month.
First, yay! that there is such a thing, and second I am very happy to participate!

And if you are not familiar with Patience Brewster, they are a small company creating handmade collectibles and Christmas ornaments.  Each one a whimsical, enchanting delight.

Celeste Star Fairy by
Patience Brewster

Now to the assignment at hand!

I am a relative newcomer to watercolor painting.
I spent most of my career working in acrylic, gouache and pen and ink.
But once I discovered this illusive medium I could not teach it to myself fast enough!
After many years working as a commercial artist and a visual art teacher
I began to take watercolor seriously in a small community college night class.

I hold a BFA in Illustration so of course watercolor and I crossed paths in college 
but it wasn't until that first little night class that somehow a spark developed.
What a ragtag group we were, a construction worker, a group of long retired ladies,
an accountant, stay at home moms and two impressive special needs adults.
Our teacher was a local artist, who honestly looked like she bit off more than she 
could chew with our group.  
But as the weeks went by I found a new passion and haven't looked back since.
When the class ended I studied watercolor magazines,
you tube videos and practiced through tons of trial and error.  

So you were expecting famous names from art history?
Of course painters such as Winslow Homer, John Signer Sargent,
Georgia O'keeffe,  and so on all come into play as I continue on this track.

However, as a Still Life painter, my absolute favorite contemporary artist is Janet Fish.
She is an oil painter but much of her working style lends itself very well to the study of watercolor.
I admire so much her study of light, mixtures of pattern on pattern and her glorious color.

Janet Fish, “Provence” (1995), oil on linen, 50 x 50 inches.

The following is from an essay titled "Janet Fish and the Primacy of Perception" by Patrick Neal

Other Modernist painters working within the still life genre and relying on visual perception, would explore equivocations in size, distance, matter, memory, and the metaphysics of objects. More straightforward in her approach, Janet Fish, known for her effulgent still-life paintings, paints with a sharp focus, her objects solidly planted in front of us.
Fish’s singular achievement is the depiction of light as a materializing force — particularly transparency in the form of colored glass. Over the years, she has explored the structural and expressive possibilities of spectral light on ordinary objects: blown glass, plastic bags and wrappers, flower petals, ribbon candy, gummy bears, fleshy fruits, etc. In fact, with their opulence and rich details, her works harken back even further to the excesses of Golden Age Dutch still-life painting. A work in the show like “Provence” from 1995 is a vintage Fish still life — a pattern of rock candy, glassware, and clear plastic in predominant yellow and pink hues.
Janet Fish, “Ice Cream Sundae” (2004), oil on canvas, 50 x 60 inches

But it all began for me in that little community college night class.

If you are not familiar with Janet Fish I am so happy to have introduced her to you.
And stop by the Patience Brewster website.
It will make you smile.


  1. Janet Fish is amazing! I have seen a few of her works but not any of these paintings here, thank you for sharing the link to her paintings. Love the ornament! Wonderful post!

    1. Hi Celia! I have a beautiful book of Janet Fish's work that I like to just sit quietly with a cup of tea to look, read and recharge.


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