Saturday, August 2, 2014

Masters of Watercolor - Vol. II

Bolshoiya spasibo to Konstantin Sterkhov and the publisher Lan for this book of incredible watercolor art. Many of my best watercolor friends and heroes are included - Stanislaw Zoladz, Ong Kim Seng, Viktoria Prischedko, Sergey Temerev, Jeannie McGuire, Ted Nuttall, Eugen Chisnichan,  Xavier Swolfs, Barbara Nechis, Shirley Trevena, Linda Baker,  Iain Stewart, Samir Mondal,  my NAWA colleagues  Carol Carter, Keiko Tanabe, Mark Mehaffey,  Thomas W Schaller, and others. Not to mention the great Konstantin himself (with a fantastic painting that is in our own collection!).

I wrote the foreword:

Perhaps more than any other visual medium, watercolor has been bound by tradition, institutions, and its perceived limitations. As recently as fifty years ago, a person undertaking watercolor had the weight of the medium's history on his or her brush, unassuaged by the liberating developments such as occurred in oil painting, decades prior. Watercolorists were long-burdened by notions of what their medium should be, rather than emboldened by what it could be.

Eventually, watercolor caught up with the modern art revolution, and creativity exploded.

While the medium is still deeply rooted in, and to a degree encumbered by, its customs and perceptions, there has been a significant influx of ideas, techniques, and materials that have broadened its scope and critical acceptance. Indeed, a number of contemporary watercolor artists have expanded the repertoire to include subject matter and methods well outside of the conventional realm, sometimes on a scale previously reserved for canvases. While change and innovation often induce resistance among traditionalists and purists, the advancement of the medium depends upon trailblazers in order to survive and remain relevant.

This book, the second in a series, highlights the work of a number of artists committed to expressing a personal vision, while taking watercolor to places seldom seen. They respect what has come before without repeating it, and set an example for others aspiring to master a notoriously difficult and elusive medium.

I doubtless speak for all of the artists in my heartfelt thanks to Konstantin Sterkhov and the publisher, for providing an inside look at our backgrounds, thought processes, opinions, and creations -- a celebration of the magic we call watercolor.

*          *          *

The book is available here: