For the love of gouache
published
January 5, 2017
In the beginning ....

For the love of gouache, the conversation began. It was a phone call, a friend, telling me to get myself to the Wildling Museum of Art and Nature in Solvang to see an exhibit, to see these extraordinary small gems in gouache. And it was true, what I found, exquisite landscapes rendered in a tiny format in opaque watercolors. I was entranced, inspired, so much so I told any artist working in landscape to go, to see. Some of us went so far as to decide, then and there, to try our hand at the new medium.

In the months that followed I was in contact with seven or eight artists discussing brands, materials, substrates and techniques. The challenge was not only learning a new medium but the constraints of painting a large swathe of land in such an intimate size. We would meet in pairs to discuss our successes and failures and amazingly, after two years many of us were still enthralled, some even beginning to exhibit their own paintings.

Early in 2016 six of us met to share our work and in looking at the accomplishments of the group I started plotting for a show. I seemed to be the common denominator in the group linking each artist together not only by histories but also from friendship, admiration and the excitement of wanting to exhibit with these amazing women.

Photo by Monica Wiesblott

Each of these five women are remarkable artists in their own right and incredible makers. A show was selfish on my part, I want to hang with these women, in friendship and on the wall! I took examples of our paintings and proposed a show to the Wildling Museum which has been enthusiastically accepted. And so the journey began.

In our excitement there was no knowing where this road might lead us, how it could stretch us, pull us apart and bring us back together as a stronger group. Three of us are dedicated studio painters and three of us are committed to working directly from nature. As a newly formed group we learned quickly that we needed direction, cohesion and a common thread that would feed each individual voice while keeping us connected and sharing a vision for the exhibit to come. It has been uncomfortable at times figuring out the details, it's new territory for us all, making a proposal and then creating work. Most commonly an artist will make work {and make work alone} then plan a show. So we grow, we learn and we strengthen our connection by discussions and group painting dates where we share and build on our budding idea.

We are only now in mile one of getting to our destination at the museum this coming Fall. Already I'm the richer for it, having five extraordinary companions and fellow travelers. It will be a grand journey that we all look forward to sharing.

To be continued....