I visited Michael Pearson’s show “For the Love of Watercolor”. I was drawn in by the show name. I hate watercolor. Decades ago I took a watercolor art class and did horribly. I decided the challenge of mastering this medium was something I could live without. I also gained a true appreciation for what it takes to do watercolor well. Too often I find works lacking in depth, contrast, texture and density. With this I hear the excuse, “…But it’s just watercolor”. The lack of fundamental visual elements in a work is due to the artist not the medium. Good art is good art.
Good art was evident in Pearson’s work, “Jeffrey Long Ago.” The piece loosely reminded me of a work by Lyonel Feininger, “The Glorious Victory of the Sloop “Maria”. The strong geometric shapes and line unify and draw you into this piece. Pearson’s work had a similar affect but the subject was a portrait of a man that offered contrast in fine, softer detailed lines of the face. The hue was lovely. The essence of a human being was captured brilliantly.
Another piece by Pearson stood out, “Afternoon Shadows.”
This severely cropped perspective offered an interesting view of the architecture. Don’t be fooled into thinking this was a small piece. The scale was impressive (roughly 24x18) and added to the visual experience of this work. Two aspects disturbed me: the faded balustrade in the horizon and the direction of the light source. However, these aspects did not distract from the creative, artistic execution of “Afternoon Shadows.”
When visiting a show it sometimes pays to have a general look around. You might discover more watercolor works to enjoy. “Felicity” by Atelier on Bay artist, Pam Hagan, was a delightful piece. Hagan captures the joy and innocence of this child beautifully. The soft hue, shadowing and fine detail in this work were a pleasure to behold.
In a conversation with the artist, I mentioned that portraits could present a challenge for gallerists. The figure must be appealing to clients that have no connection to the person portrayed. These two portraits by Hagan and Pearson were of a quality that anyone can enjoy.