That’s a Chicken Head with a Snake Body

New Watercolor Artists Take Medium in Straaaaaaange Directions

When I look back on the latest watercolor artists that I have discovered I get incredibly excited because many of them are doing things I have never seen before. Their work confirms what I know is happening out in the art world: that watercolor painting is making an impact on how new and emerging artists work.

Here are a few of the artists who have caught my eye.

Justin Gibbens: At first glance, you think you are looking at an Audubon-style nature watercolor illustration, but then you realize the incredible beasts that Gibbens depicts are truly out of this world. Underlying themes of mutation, evolution, and biodiversity give the artist’s work a sense of the cautionary tale combined with a wicked tinge of humor.

Basilisk by Justin Gibbens, 2010, watercolor, gouache, ink, and tea, 40 x 52. Courtesy Punch Gallery, Seattle, Washington.
Basilisk by Justin Gibbens, 2010, watercolor, gouache, ink, and tea, 40 x 52. Courtesy Punch Gallery, Seattle, Washington.

Kathleen Conover: A painter unafraid to take risks. With a background in metalwork, jewelry design, textiles and costume design, printmaking, drawing, painting, and modern-dance choreography, Conover has always been steeped in fields that demand creativity and uniqueness of vision. She recently worked on a painting series, Industrial Evolution, inspired by the country’s rapidly changing industrial landscape.

Change Is In the Air by Kathleen Conover, 2011, watercolor on acrylic-prepared paper, 22 1/2 x 30, private collection.
Change Is In the Air by Kathleen Conover, 2011, watercolor on acrylic-prepared paper, 22 1/2 x 30, private collection.

Michael Lyons: Attracted to scenes of high contrast and the ability to capture a series of moments in watercolor, Lyons works quickly and embraces everything about water-based media. That includes the fact that watercolors can fade with time-a relation to the temporality of life that really resonates with the artist.

Wellfleet Refuge by Michael Lyons, 2009, watercolor, 11 x 15 1/2, private collection.
Wellfleet Refuge by Michael Lyons, 2009, watercolor, 11 x 15 1/2, private collection.

I’m thrilled that so many watercolor artists who are taking the medium in new directions and proving that there is no known quantity when it comes to creative expression. Knowing that the practice is growing so far so fast is why so many of us practically live to discover what new watercolor instructors and artists are out there, which is where Shirley Trevena’s Watercolors comes in. Take a look at her colors and shapes to fall in love with the medium all over again. And don’t even get me started on her abstracts. Amazing! Enjoy!

And who are some other watercolor artists that I should know about—artists you love or those who are working in really unique ways. Let me know!

 

Save

Save

Related Posts:

Categories

Artist Daily Blog
Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

2 thoughts on “That’s a Chicken Head with a Snake Body

  1. Thanks, Courtney. I always enjoy your posts, and you’ve introduced me to some great artists.
    One thing I wish you would address sometime is Michael Lyons’ observation about watercolors fading.
    While it’s true that all watercolor makers I’m aware of produce certain fugitive or only moderately lightfast paints, artists don’t have to use them. There are many, many colors out there with the same lightfastness as good oil paints. I have personally spoken to Mr. Graham about the lightfastness/archival quality of M. Graham Watercolors vs. oil paints. He says they are on the same level.
    This is important to watercolorists because the main reason collectors pay more (a lot more!) money for oil paints and acrylics is that many years ago, a large proportion of watercolor hues were fugitive, so watercolor paintings did not last long.
    The more watercolorists who insist on using only the most lightfast paints, the closer we can come to charging and getting what gorgeous, topnotch paintings in one of the most difficult mediums to master should actually sell for.
    Thanks a lot for reading this.

Comment