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Mary Blake 2013

Mary Blakemary blake

Watercolors


December 7, 2013-January 4, 2014
Reception: December 13 • 5–8pm

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I love detail—in shapes, textures, colors, shadows, the glint in an owl’s eye, the fuzzy edge of a feather.  I have been drawing and painting for many years.  I have chosen to paint watercolors because of the fluidity of the medium, and because I like paper.

I start with an image which appeals to me emotionally.  I both see and feel the subject, and know I want to get that image onto paper.  Because I usually spend a lot of time on each painting, I choose images that I want to spend time with, to get to know better.

My current wildlife series is a good example of this.  As a former volunteer at WildCare (in San Rafael), I was able to work with ill, orphaned, and injured wild animals.  They are challenging to work with, and challenging to paint.  Each animal has its own character, with strengths, weaknesses, needs, predictable and unpredictable behaviors.  I want to show the complexity of who they are.  I try to convey the power in their talons and beaks, the specific shapes, colors and textures of each individual.  In many of my paintings, an owl or vulture stares back at the viewer, demanding to be taken seriously.  Because I had the opportunity to work with these animals closely, I began to know them and I see their vitality, their absolute will to live.    

When I began to paint animals, I needed a technique that would express their power and individuality.  I experimented with “erased watercolors,” an innovative method which grew out of my work with monotypes. I was rolling paint onto a Plexiglas plate, and then using water to blot out the areas intended to be white.  As it turned out, I always found the plates themselves to be more interesting than the prints they produced.  So I experimented with a reversal of the traditional watercolor process, where the image of the finished work is more like the plate itself.  This process forces me to give up some details and colors, and to find an essence.  Since the background and foreground are one and the same, the image seems sculpted or carved. 

I try to work with integrity, always painting the best I can.  It is a slow, tedious, frustrating, wonderful and exciting process.

(415) 578-8247

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Web site:MaryBlakewatercolors.com 

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