October 3 – Mystery can add alluring appeal to painting.
This cryptic sense of the unknown reigns throughout the works of around 70 artists exhibiting at the New Mexico Watercolor Society’s Fall 2021 exhibit at the New Mexico Fine Arts Building Expo. The annual show runs until October 24.
Woody Duncan’s watercolor of a gravity-defying sculptor balancing one foot on a ladder and the other on his 21-foot three-headed creation raises questions about risk, symbolism, and enigma.
Duncan came across the wire sculptor while visiting the Form & Concept gallery in Santa Fe.
According to Form & Concept, the sculpture symbolizes a process of collective mourning. Artist Tiger Mashaal-Lively wove the dresses from personal clothing and heirlooms donated by friends, family and community members.
Duncan told Mashaal-Lively about the play titled “The Solacii” and photographed Mashaal-Lively working on it.
âIt was different, it was fascinating,â said the Albuquerque artist. âEverything was covered with fabric. It wasn’t quite over.
Two weeks later, he learned that someone had vandalized the room. Santa Fe Police are investigating the incident.
âApparently someone set it on fire,â Duncan said. “Much of the fabric was gone.”
To create the paint, Duncan began to experiment with a new method, a primer called Gesso Juice which produced a white acrylic background.
âI used a corner of a credit card to scratch the surface,â he said. âIt left a lot of streaks and textures. I’ve always enjoyed mistakes in watercolor. The watercolor medium works strangely on gesso; it doesn’t absorb into paper. It has a lot of ridges and textures. “
Duncan has been a watercolourist for 35 years. He worked as a college teacher in Kansas before retiring here 17 years ago.
Los Ranchos watercolorist Joyce Rapp captured the portrait of a mysterious land iguana while on vacation in the Galapagos. She photographed the lizard, then painted the picture at home.
âI didn’t need a telephoto lens,â she said. “They are not at all afraid of people. I like to paint from my travel photos.”
A retired software programmer, Rapp started watercolor when she retired 11 years ago. She read books on the subject and took classes.
âI have always loved seeing watercolors and have no formal art training at all,â she said. “I’ve never tried anything else. I love the look. And it’s not messy.”
Unlike many artists, she doesn’t start with a drawing.
âI will project the image and then I can fine-tune it if necessary,â she said. “It saves time because what I really like is the painting part.”
She hopes to travel to New Zealand afterwards.
Originally from India, Mary McWilliams came to the United States to obtain a doctorate from the University of Arizona in 20th century literature. She taught part-time when she and her husband moved to San Diego. They also own a house in Placitas.
Seeking to acquire a new skill, McWilliams started painting in 2018 and took a few courses.
âPeople told me all the time that watercolor was very difficult,â she said. “I took that as a challenge.”
Citing Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes 10,000 hours to master anything, she began painting five hours a day.
Three years ago, McWilliams became a member of the New Mexico Watercolor Society. Last year, she took second place on a competitive show.
His painting “Are you looking at me?” emerged from a photograph of an older woman squinting in sparkling jewelry, augmented with a nose ring.
âI was mesmerized by the look in her eyes and her jewelry,â McWilliams said.
She likes to focus on portraits of those most of us ignore.
âI want to shed some light on people who are not seen as beautiful by society,â she said. “There is beauty everywhere.”
If you are going to
WHAT: New Mexico Watercolor Society Fall 2021 Exhibition
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday to Sunday until October 24; (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on October 24 only)
O: Expo New Mexico Fine Arts Building, San Pedro and Copper entrance.
HOW MUCH: Free at nmwatercolorsociety.org