SECOND PLACE: Golimaar by Mohammad Ali Bhatti
Painting is my passion and I enjoy working with diverse mediums, styles and subjects. Among all watercolor medium is dear to me for many reasons, such as its magical technique, boldness, minimalism and interplay of tone values. I paint landscapes, cityscapes, flowers. However, portrait painting is my childhood love. I have been painting watercolor paintings since my school days, and painting portraits to keeping my rhythm going beside my oil and acrylic paintings. I keep searching for faces and cityscapes which are expressive and inspiring. When found, I photograph them in a very natural setting and crop them as suited to my compositions.
This painting Golimaar is from my latest cityscape series. The view is typical of Karachi (Pakistan) streets. Golimaar is an old neighborhood from my childhood memories. I photographed it when I was visiting Karachi a couple of years ago. I paint with spontaneity and boldness, allow hues to blend and bleed naturally. I pay attention to subtle values and contrasts as suited to my composition with minimum details; and follow the basic principle of watercolor medium.
THIRD PLACE: Fetching III by Kathleen Stafford
After spending around 30 years living in various regions of Africa, I found myself at the edge of the Sahara Desert in Niamey, Niger. It was hot. The temperature was often over 110 degrees. Due to global warming, the desert was encroaching more and more on the pastoral life along the river Niger. The Wodaabe people were being forced to come live in the city since the Sahel where they previously had herded cattle was disappearing. Their traditions came with them – the brightly colored many-patterned clothes they preferred, the way the women carried water from a well or the river then in calabashes and today, sometimes buckets balanced on their heads. Seeing them walk long distances, even in that heat, I could only admire their strength, their grace and their resilience.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brooke’s Garden by Karen Lindeman
Brooke's Garden was created from a painting session with my granddaughter that started last fall. I often let her come into the studio and play with a set of nontoxic watercolor paints I used in about the 3rd grade. A couple of her abstracts have been so good I've sent them home with her mom to frame when she gets a little older. While she is painting away, I usually start one of my own next to hers (otherwise I start painting on hers before I know it!). I use mine to demonstrate what I want her to try. Ironically, while I've been teaching her to be creative - use spatters, be free with big drops of color, and a spray bottle, I found out that her preschool teacher has been making them color in the lines lately…ooops. Brooke was using a lot of sienna and black, and I suggested we try some pretty colors for spring, so she started putting in some very bright color every once in a while, and I started using the same bright colors on my own paper.
I sent her home with her painting and set mine aside. When I got back from Christmas break, I started on a much-needed clean out of the studio, and true to form, got sidetracked when I noticed that this particular work had some good shapes in it already, and the lines were interesting. So, instead of cleaning, I ended up spending the afternoon painting negative shapes, toning down the bright colors with complements leaning to greys, adding linework, and "creating" flowers out of the shapes I saw. I was a little surprised and really pleased when I stopped. The saturation of color was beautiful, and it really felt like a spring garden. More abstract than I usually do, but overall, really nice with a feeling of spring, breezes, life, and an honesty to it that is refreshing. I would like to paint a few more works to complement this painting. The trick is can I get that saturation and lightness - and all those greys - again????
Brooke tries to get out every good brush I have, besides the ones I give her, and rather than stop her, to teach her to use those carefully, I let her do some calligraphy on this painting. Notice the crayon dots and some of the black lines in lunar black. That is actually still in this work. The rest of the line work is done with #2 graphite, lunar black watercolor, colored pencil and watercolor pencil added after the painting was about 85% complete last week. This is typical of the way I work on any painting. I start with a horizon line, an idea and color, and I do almost all of the drawing at the END of the painting. I realize this is sort of backwards to the way most people work, but it explains why there are no pre-drawings of any of my paintings and often very little underdrawing. It is just what works for me.