“Breathless Reds and Phantom Blues” watercolor is the seventh painting in the “Pots and Jars Series.” The series started with “Pots and Jars,” using natural colors of browns and blues in a realistic, representational technique. The next in line paintings in order are: “Hot Pots,” “Fire Pots,” “Ruthless Reds, Rogue Oranges, and Virgin Whites,’ “Passionate Primaries,” and “Red Hearts and White Lips.”
I originally started the series in a more precise style, and later went looser with “Rogue Oranges” and “Passionate Primaries.” I felt I needed to try to become less tight with more fluid interpretation to attempt a change in style.
I did return to my original style with “Red Hearts.” I made the decision to stay with the style of high color, hoping it would be my best choice to get the most success out of my watercolor paintings. This style allowed me to paint in layers by stacking pigment, resulting in clear, intense color. “Breathless Reds” took over one hundred hours to complete without using white paint or frisket.
My approach, when painting in this style, is to paint each pot as a controlled wash area. I made up this name to identify the limited area to paint one at a time. The area that is painted does not touch another “wet” area, thus becoming a “controlled area” to paint. Each “controlled wash area” is painted separately and in layers to completion. Each layer goes on the previous dry layer without pre-wetting the surface. The color wash is prepared and tested for the right consistency of pigment on a separate piece of white paper. When the desired amount of pigment is produced with the right color for the size of the area to be painted, it is brushed on and manipulated in short, hatching strokes throughout the controlled area. This might sound like ‘pig latin,’ but this is a tried and true method of painting I have developed by learning the properties of watercolor.
OK! So, I proceed in the upper left corner of the painting and continue to the right, back across to the left, and continue to work down to the lower right corner until all areas are completed. At this point, I study each ‘pot’ and make sure the composition is correct. I do some small adjustments to make sure all the edges, color, and tonality work together and flow.
My idea was a great success! It was a tremendous effort that paid off. First, the title of the painting was colorful and descriptive with feelings. Second, the painting technique produced dazzling, saturated colors that are luminescent. Michael Johnson, my archivist, called my colors ‘out of gamut,’ meaning the computer analysis could not read the intense colors, so he had to interpolate them!!
This has been one of my most successful paintings. It has been exhibited all around the United States. I still own this great painting, and enjoy all its amazing colors.
These are the following dates of “Breathless Reds” exhibitions:
“Watercolor West Annual Exhibition XXIV”, Brea Civic and Cultural Center Gallery, Brea, California. November 7-December 18, 1992. Juror of Selection and Awards: Katherine Chang Liu.
“Vista ’93,” Church of the Beautitudes, Phoenix, Arizona. February 7-21, 1993. Juror of Selection: Ellery Gibson. Juror of Awards: Robert S. Oliver. Honorable Mention.
“Western Colorado Watercolor Society National Exhibition,” Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, Colorado. October 1-28, 1993. Juror of Selection and Awards: Judi Betts.
“Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Exhibition, 1994,” The Foothills Art Center, Golden, Colorado, July 31-September 11, 1994. Jury of Selection and Awards: Mary Todd Beam and Charles Le Clair. Third Place, “The Colorado Watermedia Award”
“Kentucky Watercolor Society Annual National Exhibition,” Julies Friedman Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky, October 6-November 18, 1995. Juror of Selection and Awards: Marilyn Hughey Phillis. Best Of Show, The National City Bank Award.
“The National Watercolor Society Member and Signature Show,” Joslyn Fine Arts Gallery, Torrence, California, April 11-May 2, 1998. Juror of Selection and Awards: Michael Daniel.
“The Missouri Watercolor Society 2016 International Exhibition,” St. Louis Central Library, St. Louis, Missouri, April 2016. Juror of Selection and Awards: Elizabeth Wyckoff. Second Place.