May 16, 2022

Charlie Doodle

Unique Art & Entertainment

22 NM artists juried into watercolor exhibition

3 min read

bright spotFrom COVID commentary to languid landscapes, 22 New Mexico artists juried into the 47th Annual Western Federation of Watercolor Societies 2022 Exhibition.

Artists from 10 watercolor societies in nine western states will showcase their work.

The show is on exhibit at EXPO New Mexico from May 6-June 4. It’s the first live event for the group since the pandemic.

Corrales painter Tina Stallard offered a regal portrait of her cat as window light floods his golden face. Stallard grew up on a Nevada hog farm before moving here 27 years ago. She works from what was once a family room.

“I always worked in watercolor,” she said. It’s “the light, the effervescence of it.”

A self-described “control freak,” she recognizes the irony of choosing a medium so difficult to control or direct.

“I guess what I love about it is sometimes you get a surprise,” she said.

Stallard created the painting after photographing her green-eyed, 18-pound Norwegian forest cat Pete lounging on a pillow-strewn couch.

“He’s very big, very orange and very commanding. He’s a poser anyway,” she said with a laugh. “He’s a sweetheart; he’s a very chill cat. The sun was coming in just right. He just glows. He has this habit of when he sits down, he crosses his legs.”

The board president of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, this marks the second time Stallard has juried into the bigger show. Again, she painted a portrait of a younger Pete.

David Collis’ first introduction to watercolor came when he was in kindergarten.

The Sandia Park artist returned to the brush after a 20-year detour into an engineering career.

His painting “A Place for Magic” surfaced after a visit to Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park.

“The Long House is kind of an off-the-beaten-path kind of place,” he said. “You have to get a special pass to hike into it. There’s a lot of challenges in that painting.”

Collis painted the scene from his own photograph.

“There’s a lot of things that show depth,” he continued. “You’ve got to be sure you get that depth. There are certain shadows in certain areas that make the impression of depth. When you look at it, you can kind of feel you’re in a cave.

“When I took the photograph, it was magical,” Collis continued. “My viewfinder just lit up with all the colors.”

Past president of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, Collis said he becomes completely absorbed in his watercolors. He also paints portraits, still lifes, old buildings and mines, and his grandchildren. He prefers watercolor to oil or acrylic because of its “magical softness.” This marks the fifth time a painting of his has been accepted into the show.

Los Ranchos painter Joyce Rapp’s “Depression Era Dolls” is an homage to her grandmother.

“I was inspired to paint after my mother died,” the former software programmer said. “The family lived on a farm during the Depression in rural Illinois. She told us how she didn’t own a doll, so she played with the chickens. I focused on the chickens to bring out the color.”

The painting shows Rapp’s grandmother cuddling a pair of the birds.

Watercolor is the only medium Rapp has used. She began with books, then began taking local classes and workshops.

“It just takes you out of everything,” she said, “you get so absorbed in it. I like to do figures; just something in the moment they’re doing. I like to paint from my photos because it brings a memory back to me.”

This marks the first time Rapp, who serves on the board of the New Mexico Watercolor Society, has juried into the show.

“It brought me to tears,” she said.

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