Discover more from From Jessica Wesolek's Studio . . .
A Little Gallery Show . . . with little stories
And Tips and Tricks
“Four Vessels and a Chair” (Sold).
At the beginning of July, I told you about how I would challenge myself for World Watercolor Month - by making a small watercolor painting each day in July. As I think I mentioned then, I *always* fail at challenges. I already make art everyday, so a challenge is kind of a frosting on that cake. My life is very complicated and something always gets in the way. You can’t always frost your cake. (that sounds like one of those things your mother would have told you, right?)
So the fact that I got 16 little paintings done is a minor miracle. And four of them sold. That is another miracle because I only showed them on Instagram, where I only have a post reach of about 30 (out of 1333 followers). The the truth is that most Instagram posts get seen by only about 1% of followers. Mine is 2%. I should celebrate? Some frosting please.
Four Vessels and a Chair came from a project I am doing making paintings from a lower case letters. This one was h. Can you see it?
“Waiting to Go Out” Sold
I had some 5”x7” sheets of Shizen watercolor paper, which is very textured. It makes for a different look, so I thought I would use it for this painting. I often paint chairs, so this was fun.
Whenever you see an adobe courtyard wall around Santa Fe, you will probably see Hollyhocks in summer, and a Kiva Ladder year round. These are ladders made of latillas (slender sapling trunks), and hand bound with rawhide. They were functional for the Pueblo People, but are only decorative these days (unless you are on a Pueblo). This painting is 4”x6” and was painted on a favorite deckle edged watercolor paper you can only get from Leather and Earth shop on Etsy. It is 135lb with a soft, velvety cold press surface, and it stays flat when you apply washes! Not inexpensive, but worth it.
“I Can Promise You This: You Shall Not Want” (A promise to my rescue dogs)
Back to the Shizen paper. I told you in one of my first posts here on Substack about losing my wonderful Sky and Chevy to *very* old age, and about bringing home Blue and Sierra. Remember - we went to that party at the mansion and they created havoc?
What I haven’t told you yet, is about Sky coming back to us in February. It is a wonderful story which I will share in another post. But we now have three rescue huskies under the age of two. They fill every day with sweetness and wonder and love - and chaos and wild antics. They are awesome.
Mailboxes are another thing I paint all the time. They have so much story. On some of my road trips, I will notice a mailbox that does not seem to have a home - the road or path to a house is not evident. I love to explore possibilities like this - and what about that letter that fell onto the road? Maybe a Raven will pick it up?
“Blue Gate with Red Yucca”
Blue gates and doors are thought to ward off evil around here, so I love to paint them. And I love Red Yucca. But it doesn’t love me so much. I bought two plants several years ago and one has made it - flowering every year and even making me seeds. Last year I really splurged and bought four plants at $25 each! I was assured they would grow in huge pots over winter, but they did not agree with that. This year, I am starting some seeds to plant in the ground in fall. We will see what happens. The seeds are amazing and I will be painting them before planting.
I didn’t want to paint every stone in the walk, so I tried an experiment and it worked, but probably because of the paint. I used my M.Graham Trans Orange Oxide (my favorite take-off on a Burnt Sienna) and painted over the whole walkway at once. Then, with a damp brush, I lifted from each stone. Worked great.
Unfinished business is a big theme in my life. I am also a fan of roadside attractions. I first painted this subject in 1996 - shortly after moving to Santa Fe permanently. I have sold prints of it, but never the original. When I found it in a drawer, I felt like doing it again - with a lot more texture this time. Those mountains are Tundra Pink - a Schmincke Supergranulating watercolor color. Those paints go nuts on the Shizen texture.
I took a class on Etchr from Mark Rosenbhohm, who makes wonderful sketches of old houses in New Orleans. The photo we worked from had a scene like this and it made me think of family. I wanted light colors so I used a Terra Vert by Yarka (White Nights), and a Potter’s Pink from Scjmincke. Can’t remember what the blue was.
“Call of the Wild”
This one was also related to my dogs. Huskies never forget the call of the wild, and will go for run-abouts if they get a chance. An important part of raising Huskies is fences and gates that aren’t left open.
“Laundry Day” Sold
Sometimes, I conjure up neighborhoods that look like they would be fun to live in. In this one, the folks love their brightly colored houses. I feel a series of these paintings coming along. I will be exploring this neighborhood for awhile.
I love conversation pieces because, well . . . they are interesting. But this one is so big, it would be hard to see around it to talk to somebody about it.
I have painted this scene a few times with different colors. The last chair was purple, but the whole thing seemed a bit dark. So I tried turning the light up a bit. Also used gouache to overpaint a green wall. I let the texture show through in keeping with the rest of the painting.
One of the teachings of the Vietnamese Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, goes something like this:
Remain in the world of waves, while abiding in the nature of water, which is calm and self-leveling.
My life is always full of waves (I am a life-surfer trying to keep my balance), so this really spoke to me, and I painted it. The boat is not grounded on the water - it is floating even above normal floating - creating a feeling of great calm.
“Little Red Rowboat”
And the rowboat from the last painting sunk into my head and popped back out into this simple birdbath. I wonder what the birds are thinking they should do with it?
and finally . . .
“The Apple Tree”
And back to that colorful neighborhood to find a tree with magic apples. At least they are big enough to be magic.
I offered all of these paintings at a sale price of $100 (usually $150) for the whole of Watercolor Month - matted in a gallery mat and ready for a standard size frame - 8”x10” or 10”x10” (as shown above).
The sale should end today, but I am giving it one more week, because so few people have had a chance to see them.
Here is the shop link incase you would like to own an original painting of mine, at an amazing price.
I hope you have enjoyed my little Gallery Show!
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