Kellene Champlin Watercolor Paintings Kellene Champlin Watercolor Paintings

MORNING SUN – the adolescence of a watercolor

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Adolescence Sure. You remember – your kids’ if not your own: Adolescence. What an awkward time working through all the mental, physical, emotional growing pains. Often, it’s not pretty. For years I have referred to a particular stage of my paintings as its “adolescence.” Well before I get to this stage, though, I have considered many things as I plan a painting. I select a view or an area of a photo, I edit what to include and what to leave out. I make sketches and little thumbnail sketches to compose and recompose. I work out value studies to arrange lights, middle tones, and darks. Once I decide on a composition I pick and choose and try out colors. I want to see how they blend and work with each other to fit my purposes – the subject and focus, mood, local color, invented color, shadows... Thinking I have so many of the decisions made, I lightly sketch the composition on the prepared watercolor paper. Growing pains Now here it comes: I like to block in major shapes and areas with a pale version of the approximate colors I plan to use right on the prepared watercolor paper. I like to fill the whole paper, except I leave the whites untouched. NO details allowed! This is where it can get artless and childlike to look at, sometimes downright awkward. Just occasionally, I sail right through this stage, painting directly into the composition I sketched and lightly colored on the watercolor paper. Most others at this...

I don’t know anything about art, but…

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“I don’t know anything about art, but… I know what I like.” I suspect I heard this first early in college when we self-righteous art students were oh, so offended by it. We were arrogant, of course, because we had art knowledge and we actually created art. We rolled our eyes and commiserated about how philistine the masses could be. Young and foolish, but feeling oh so wise. As we mature and get practical - Out in the real world, we work and pursue careers (many in the visuals arts), we raise families, travel, nurture friendships, share with colleagues, people in general.... We learn to accept that maybe not everyone has the opportunity, time, or interest to accumulate knowledge and practice in the visual arts. As maturity, practicality, and wisdom take over - The last time I remember hearing a facsimile of “I don’t know anything about art, but I know what I like.” was several years ago. I didn’t cringe. I wasn't the least bit offended. Was I more tolerant, broadminded, did I care less…? I gave a lot of thought to this, given that in my earlier years I had such a hard time getting past that notion. Most every line of work - industry, business, trades, technology, sciences... has its own language from a small to a huge degree. It's often by necessity, sometimes "by design." Let’s see – I speak art, artists, techniques, education, MS; I speak some music and theater, baking…. I don't speak medicine, insurance, construction, technology, engineering... I’m...

I Want This Painting to Live With Me!

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This watercolor painting needs to be mine! Have you ever had a painting just catch your eye? What captured your imagination? Maybe it’s what is happening:  it reminds me of …, I could get lost in it, I keep coming back to it, my brother would love that fishing scene, it would relax my patients.... Sometimes it’s just a peaceful calming sensation. Does it draw your attention because you like the colors? I need those colors in my home, in my office. Often it’s subject matter: It's the children, I love crashing waves, flowers- I must have flowers. Occasionally it’s design: diagonals lead me, the depth, the perspective. Why buy an original painting? Because no one else will ever have it and a print cannot be authentic in color and texture. Anyone can own a print. If you are or want to be a collector of originals, you don’t compromise. An original has the potential to become more valuable.  Just knowing you own an original is rewarding. But I don’t know much about art you say! That is not a deal-breaker.  Of course, it’s fulfilling to acquire knowledge about art, artists, media…, but a painting that appeals to one’s senses is ample. Lots of people know instinctively when something "looks right." I’ll bet many more people live with an internal sense than there are people who can describe aesthetic features or critically analyze why they do or do not like a painting. Some people like impressionist art that “suggests” a subject rather than realist...