That’s a Chicken with the Body of a Snake

4 Sep 2011

When I flipped through the Fall issue of Watercolor magazine—celebrating their 25th year in print (whoop whoop!)—I was super impressed with the feature article on "25 Artists to Watch." It 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 from the article that 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, 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 artists are finding that watercolor isn't a known quantity, but a gateway to working in a lot of new directions. Knowing that the practice is growing so far so fast is why so many of us practically live from issue to issue of Watercolor magazine. A digital subscription or print subscription can really make a difference in how excited you are about the art in your life, too. Enjoy!

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

 


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