|Farm Visitors by Hardie Gramatky, watercolor, 1971.
I can't get over the fact that Watercolor
magazine is celebrating its 25th
year. For a
quarter of a century it has been the eyes and ears of watermedia artists all
over the country, and has featured dozens of amazing artists in its pages. To
honor the occasion, I pulled in a big favor and asked Naomi Ekperigin, the
editor of Watercolor
, if I could pick
her brain about the magazine's past, present, and future. Enjoy!
Artist Daily: What is the
appeal of watercolor painting for artists far and wide?
Naomi Ekperigin: I think
that overall, the major appeal is its portability. It's like the iPhone of the
art world--anywhere you are, you can just break it out and get down to work.
With that ease, you can continually practice and continually improve your
And if you're impatient like I am, the idea of waiting days for a passage to
dry--just to re-work it later--and then
months for it to dry completely is beyond unappealing. With watercolor, I know
what I've got--and what I need to change, add, or remove--almost immediately.
|Self-Portrait by Mary Cassatt, watercolor, 1878.
AD: What is your
single favorite watercolor painting or artist?
NE: Single favorite?
This is harder to answer than a math problem on the SAT. And, like many of
the SAT math questions, I am not going to answer it.
A light laundry list, though, would include:
Mary Cassatt (The woman could do no wrong. No one can ever come at me with
something negative about Mary C!)
Hardie Gramatky (Talk about expressive brushstrokes! There's just this energy
in all of his work. You can feel the passion and love he has for watercolor.)
Edward Hopper (Naturally.)
|Light at Two Lights by Edward Hopper, watercolor on paper, 14 x 20.
In terms of contemporary artists, I love Mario Robinson's work. I'm also very
excited about the artists we found for our "25 to Watch" feature.
Andrew Kish III's paintings are really evocative and a bit...dangerous. Jenny
Davis' portraits demonstrate such great skill and a unique voice for someone so
AD: What types of
watercolor artists are you especially excited by and want to feature in the
really do believe that I owe it to readers to explore the diversity of the
watermedia world. With that in mind, I'm aiming to feature more artists who
work with gouache, casein, egg tempera, and mixed media. I would never abandon
traditional techniques or subjects, but there are so many artists who are
taking time-honored practices and spinning them--just a
little bit--to create work that stands out from the crowd.
|Leon's Tire Service by Mario Robinson, watercolor on paper, 18 x 24.
is it about Watercolor that has
enabled it to stay relevant for so long?
NE: I think we've been able to celebrate our 25th
anniversary because watermedia has evolved so much even in just 25 short years.
First, it was deemed a sketching medium. Then, it was just for older
hobbyists--often called "weekend painters"--who wanted to return to
their favorite pastime. In the last 10 to 15 years, alternative surfaces and
opportunities for mixed media have inspired younger artists and experimental
painters to try their hand at watercolor. In short, Watercolor has stayed relevant because watercolor keeps changing.
If we just--ahem--go with the flow,
there'll never be a shortage of artists to highlight, inspiration to find, and painting possibilities to keep us engaged for 25 more years.