Tag Archives: watercolor

Scientific Whimsy

20190705_195219.jpg

20190705_201033.jpg

Donna Atwood of Moravia, New York, is a former Science teacher turned full-time professional watercolor artist.  Intuition is her guide.

20190705_195724.jpg

20190705_200010.jpg

20190705_201018.jpg

She applies the watercolors (usually one hue per piece as a starting point) onto a variety of papers. Then she plays with abstractions and visual textures, adding found and household objects – plastic bags, rags, torn window screens – and weights to hold everything down until the next morning.  When she removes the objects, she assesses what she has and begins to deliberate.  She asks her husband what he sees, like a fun Rorschach test game and they laugh at the disparity of their visions.

20190705_195600.jpg

Ultimately, she makes her own decisions about what she sees, as though the paper truly speaks to her alone.  I delighted in her enthusiasm, positivity and passion as she spoke of this process when I met her at the First Friday event last night at Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, New York, where she is the featured artist this month.

20190705_195759.jpg

Once Donna decides on the spirit animal, she goes to work rendering the composition focusing on the eyes.  Tiny details are emphasized, allowing for the animal to disappear into the colorations.  These are paintings that need to be seen in person.  The photographs do not do them justice.  They truly imbibe the artist’s joyful spirit.

20190705_201039.jpg

20190705_195615-1.jpg

Donna Atwood originals and prints are available for sale at Gallery 54 (54 E. Genesee Street, Skaneateles, New York 13152).  If you would like to meet her too, perhaps ask her further questions about her process, Donna will be doing a demonstration at the gallery today (1:00-3:00 pm).  ❤

20190705_201030.jpg

  • Excerpt from the gallery web-site

Even though Atwood was a science education major in college her interest in creating art, which began as a child, continued to flourish. It wasn’t until 2012 that she started practicing watercolor, she says describing her artwork as abstract impression. While she creates her share of surreal landscapes her preference, as the Gallery 54 show will demonstrate is for paintings of animals.

“I decided to create surreal animals and found many different ones lurking in patterns,” she notes. As she describes her work, the backgrounds start out as abstract colors and shapes, but “by manipulating shapes in to eyes, ears and a noses,” she can get the viewer to see” what she sees . . . “the face and body of a creature.”

Atwood is particularly fond of finding animals that are endangered or under represented in artwork generally. Many people, she notes, relate to specific creatures or what she calls “spirit animals.” She likes that viewers of her paintings relate to her whimsical version of “their animal” and that the colors or faces in her paintings make them smile.

“Keeping the background of a painting as untouched as possible allows the animal to grow from it,” she says, adding, “I want to express the presence of the animal, not highlight every hair or whisker.”

Atwood’s work has received awards at the New York State Fair and well as numerous local art exhibits. A resident of Sempronius, NY she has had artwork shown at the Cortland Public Library, the Dryden Community Cafe and the Gilded Lily gallery in Connecticut. Following her show at Gallery 54 she will have an exhibit at the Cortland Guthrie Hospital, from September through November and currently has work displayed at the Tully Artworks Gallery.

20190705_201023.jpg

Gallery 54 July Hours
Monday – Wednesday: 10-5
Thursday, Friday & Saturday: 10-8
Sunday: 10-5

20190705_200402.jpg

20190705_201015.jpg

 

Advertisements

The 4th of Watercolor

Basket Case, 7" x 10, watercolor, 2000, $50
Basket Case, 7″ x 10, watercolor, 2000, $50
Force, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Force, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Treasure, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Treasure, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
The Castle, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
The Castle, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50

I spent the bulk of the day preparing more watercolor paintings to sell.  This required price tags, inserting them into plastic sleeves and adding a piece of foam board for stability.  Plus photographing them and giving them all titles to make everything easier to inventory.

Mandala Rising, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Mandala Rising, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Primary Juncture, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Primary Juncture, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Sunlight, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Sunlight, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Solar Vortex, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Solar Vortex, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50

I will be selling them and paper collage works at an event at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY on July 23, 2015 from 5-8 pm.  It’s called Craft & Craft.  I’m one of twenty-plus vendors (crafters) and the other craft is beer.  So it is a beer fest with art thrown in.

Gusto, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Gusto, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Atmosphere, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Atmosphere, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Vision Board, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Vision Board, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Isle, 7" x 10", watercolor, 1999, $50
Isle, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 1999, $50

Hopefully, the revelers will bring pocket cash to buy art.  I am going to do a BOGO sale – buy one, get one free, although I am against doing one for half price.  The idea is to come home with less than I brought there – a lot less!  Customers will need to take at least two, lol.  I have a lot of paintings.  I mean, I didn’t realize there was this much stuff tucked away!  The bulk of these paintings were done between 1999 and 2002.

Really?, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Really?, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Maze, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Maze, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Destiny Tuning, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Destiny Tuning, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Energize, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Energize, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50

The paintings in this post are 7″ x 10″ watercolors.  I also prepped larger pieces – tags and titles, but I haven’t cut the foam board for those yet.  I will share them soon!

Gossip, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Gossip, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Violet Outburst, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Violet Outburst, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Escape, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2002, $50
Escape, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2002, $50
Explode, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2002, $50
Explode, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2002, $50

It’s funny how labor intensive this business/hobby is.  I’m not a fan of this busy work but it all has to be done, holiday or not.  Actually, it’s kind of therapeutic in a way.  A chance to reflect on the process of mark making and the pure joy I felt while making them.  #feelingexcited – and that feeling is like abstract expressionist fireworks exploding inside of me on the 4th of July. ❤

Galaxy, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2002, $50
Galaxy, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2002, $50
Wormhole, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Wormhole, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Internalize, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Internalize, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Inferno, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Inferno, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Fly Away, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Fly Away, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Earthling, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Earthling, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Starlight, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Starlight, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Echo, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Echo, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Swim, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2002, $50
Swim, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2002, $50
Deep Blue, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2002, $50
Deep Blue, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2002, $50
Brown-eyed Girl, 10" x 7", watercolor, 2001, $50
Brown-eyed Girl, 10″ x 7″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Inside the Labyrinth, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2002, $50
Inside the Labyrinth, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2002, $50
Mandala, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Mandala, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Modern Muse, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Modern Muse, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Depth of Character, 7" x 10", watercolor, 1999, $50
Depth of Character, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 1999, $50
Canyon, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Canyon, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Sound Stage, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Sound Stage, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Bleu, 7" x 10", watercolor, 1999, $50
Bleu, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 1999, $50
Rosey, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2002, $50
Rosey, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2002, $50
Exit Strategy, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Exit Strategy, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Chaos, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Chaos, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Blown Away, 7" x 10", watercolor, 1999, $50
Blown Away, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 1999, $50
The Void, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
The Void, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Mark, 7" x 10", watercolor, 1999, $50
Mark, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 1999, $50
Isolation, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Isolation, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Oasis, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Oasis, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50
Launch Pad, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2001, $50
Launch Pad, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Secrets, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2001, $50
Secrets, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2001, $50
Forest Fire, 7" x 10", watercolor, 1999, $50
Forest Fire, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 1999, $50
Connection, 7" x 10", watercolor, 2000, $50
Connection, 7″ x 10″, watercolor, 2000, $50

Grape Art Expectations

Now that school is in full swing, I’ve become a blog slacker.  I feel bad about that because I had made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be a quitter and then, you know how that goes, life happens, and all sorts of junk takes up the space of what was supposed to be art time.

scan0001

I’m in a full stop pattern with regard to creating new artwork with the exception of art samples of lessons I create for my students.  This is such a weird thing.  Like a music teacher who doesn’t sing or a gym teacher who doesn’t exercise.  Drawing becomes this foreign language that has the magical capacity to come back to me (like riding a bike) when I do a demonstration in class and that is always a little weirdly wizard-like.

scan0007

scan0002

It’s not that I no longer believe in myself as an artist.  Last night I finally watched that movie filmed here in Syracuse – Adult World, about a girl who thinks she is going to be the next great poet and I have to say I found myself identifying with John Cusak’s professor character so much.  Yes, it’s great to believe in yourself but not everyone is going to be great on the first try was his mantra even though he had become a well-known poet in his youth.  I’ve been making art for many years but I am certainly no financial role model, no great business woman, and so I mostly give away my artwork, art that truth-be-told was made for myself as another character in that movie stated about his own, and not with the intent that someone else would get it and in the process get me, despite what I may have said in previous blog posts, lol.  So I guess that makes me both the successful and the emerging artist simultaneously.

scan0003

I’ve had many art shows in the past, peddling my paintings all over the place, wherever opportunity smiled at me.  My watercolors were particularly of interest outside of this area possibly due to their formal principles-led abstract expressionist style.  I sold four to one person visiting Syracuse from NYC several years ago when they were on exhibit at Pastabilities Restaurant here in Armory Square, four or five to a friend from Connecticut, many to my patrons in South Florida, several during a stint with a gallery in Rockville, Maryland and this one in Boston.  For a year about ten years ago or so, I was the house artist for a hair salon (known as the Best of Boston according to Vogue magazine at the time) James Joseph Salon. http://www.jamesjosephsalon.com/

scan0004

As I reflect on these photographs, I can’t even remember which pieces I’ve sold or given away as gifts and which are still in my possession.  They are all currently wrapped in brown paper and stored away in a hidey-hole.  Such is the way of the world for an artist with a lot of inventory who, for a self-professed organized person, keeps lousy records.

scan0006

My www.linkedin.com activity has summoned another opportunity though, and many of these pieces will see the light of day and maybe even get a chance to live on the walls of strangers’ homes instead of cluttering up my limited storage space.  I was invited to participate in an event called Grape Expectations, a wine tasting benefit to raise money for Catholic Charities of Oswego, NY.  It’s happening Sunday, September 28th, 2014 from 3-6 pm at the River Vista in Fulton, New York.  Kathy’s Cakes will cater and Canvas Moon’s going to perform.  Tickets are $25.

http://www.ccoswego.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Catholic-Charities-Fundraiser2014.pdf

scan0008

scan0009

It will probably blow my mind if someone comes up to me and says, “I read your blog” or something to the effect that acknowledges I am in some way successfully navigating a marketing strategy that will catapult me from rock bottom to someplace else.  But of course, you can only go up once you hit bottom and that is the kind of optimistic course I choose to plot while wearing my Dorothy costume and humming Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

dorothy costume 001

 

 

Jasper’s Legacy

There is this book called Why Cats Paint.

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Cats-Paint-Theory-Aesthetics/dp/0898156122

In it, the author presents a number of cats throughout the world who put their paws in paint and create abstract art.  I bought the book as a joke.  I had it for several years before I sat down and read the text.  What’s great about it is it’s written in a serious manner, like a master’s thesis, with various theories and evidence of proof to support them.  It’s hilarious but also brilliant, especially the part where the author convincingly suggests the cats are actually painting representationally.  That if you turn it all upside down you can spot clear contour line imagery much like they do on that show Ancient Aliens when they are trying to convince you that some stone mountain in South America is really an Egyptian sphinx.

Sometimes the Rosamond Gifford Zoo at Burnet Park’s animals make art that they auction off to raise money and there is a tiger who is an abstract expressionist master.  Her name is either Tanya or Tatiana – huge paw prints with the perfect juxtaposition of complementary colors.  Crazy, really.

Sunday was Jasper’s birthday and next Tuesday is his death day.  He was fourteen when he died.  I grew up with cats as pets but Jasper was the first pet I took care of all on my own.  He represented almost my entire career at work at that time (save the first year) and as well, he was the same age as the students I had just taught that school year.

He had cancer and I had to put him down, something I thought I would never ever do to an animal.  Never wanted to do.  It still haunts me.  He was alive in my arms when I kissed him good-bye and then I had him killed.  Everyone said I had done the right thing.  I saw the MRI.  Cancer appears as white spots on it and his whole body was pretty much snowflakes.  He was very ill.  He’d stopped eating and although the specialist said he was not in pain, I knew that pain was imminent.  I didn’t want him to suffer.

I just loved him so much.

scan0016

I found him at the Humane Association on Taft Road in Liverpool, NY.  I had called ahead looking for a tiger tabby.  I already knew I would call him Jasper after Jasper Johns.  He had been brought there one day prior and was sitting inside a milk crate.  If you have ever been there, at least it was like this in the ’90s, you would know that the cat area is one large room with cats of all ages roaming freely.  Smaller kittens were in cages.  Jasper was a kitten too but he was fifteen weeks old and about four pounds.

scan0022

I didn’t see him at first because I was busy trying to get a giant monkey-like black cat off my back.  It was clinging to my wool coat with monster claws.  I managed to escape and walked up to Jasper.  I picked him up and said, “Are you my kitty?”  I put him down and waited to see what he’d do.  I kind of walked away and he approached  me.  When other kittens his size did the same (I believe they were his brothers because I was told he came in with four others from his litter), Jasper hissed at them forcing them to scatter.

scan0028

I walked to the exit and checked to see if he would follow me.  He did and that was that.  Because I noticed that he had target markings on his fur!  Definitely a sign that we were meant to be.

scan0008

Karen Tashkovski, Roi, 30" x 30", 2000, oil, latex & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Roi, 30″ x 30″, 2000, oil, latex & collage, $675

I made the bulk of my artwork during the Jasper years.  The cat paintings from the Echo/Rune series and Dream Time series were obviously peppered with Jasper references, both Jasper the man and Jasper the cat.  Lots of target markings and neutral colors, as well as stenciling and found object additions.

Rune-11, 18" x 18", 2005, mixed media
Rune-11, 18″ x 18″, 2005, mixed media, $200

I created hundreds of watercolors too.  Growing up I had a cat named Tiny who planted his foot in a watercolor painting I did in college, but Jasper never once wanted to paint.

Echo-3, 18" x 18", 2005, mixed media
Echo-3, 18″ x 18″, 2005, mixed media, $200

He was extremely feisty.  That hissing incident when we first met was not an isolated one.  He used to hiss at everyone except me.  Once he jumped on my sister’s friend (as she sat on my sofa) and bit her on the head.  The technician at the vet’s told me that she and Jasper were “blood-brothers”.  Yep, he did bite a lot too.  A lot a lot, and I was not the exception.  I still have scars on my arms to prove it.  Scarification, it turns out, was his art form.

Touch, 9" x 12", 2001, mixed media
Touch, 9″ x 12″, 2001, mixed media, $75

I have two cats now.  They are very cuddly and loving.  They do not hiss or bite.  More docile than feisty for sure.  I don’t know if they will turn out to be artists.  They are polydactyls, Georges (named for Georges Braque) with six toes on one foot and seven on the other and Pablo (Picasso, naturally) with five on each and both with nails intact; so with those giant tootsie paws they could well become the stars of the next Why Cats Paint if there is another edition planned.  They are already turning the wicker baskets into deconstructed confetti heaps, so, maybe sculpture is their thing.

Karen Tashkovski, Ruby, 11" x  7 1/2", 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50
Karen Tashkovski, Ruby, 11″ x 7 1/2″, 2001, mixed media paper collage, $50

 

Karen Tashkovski, Play, 18" x 24", 2000, oil, latex & collage, $500
Karen Tashkovski, Play, 18″ x 24″, 2000, oil, latex & collage, $500