Every once in a while, I’ll find an artist on the web whose work I truly admire. I recently stumbled upon a Texas watercolorist named Mark Stewart, and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of his work. Of course, there’s no reason why you should read any of what I have to say… just go directly to his gallery pages and see for yourself.
At this level of excellence, artists are one-of-a-kind, but stylistic comparisons with other artists are part of the viewing experience. Somewhere between the watercolors of Andrew Wyeth and the southern portraiture of Mary Whyte (the subject of an upcoming article; watch this space), I find pleasure in the simplicity and near-realism of Stewart’s fine work.
Here’s a painting called Colonial Day. Bear in mind that these are watercolor paintings–a medium notorious for its free-flowing, mind-of-its-own paint. What I suppose I like best here: the artist’s willingness to combine go-with-the-flow with an extreme level of precision and control. If you’ve looked twice and wondered whether you are, in fact, seeing a photograph, look more closely as the drape of her skirt, the green patch on the right side of the road, and you’ll find yourself in a watercolor-photographic dreamland. The artist is in control of your imagination. As life should be.
One more simple pleasure: a still life that seems to want to tell its full and detailed story. It’s called Bonnet Chair.
So who is this man? He’s a working artist, one of perhaps a few thousand who can claim that distinction within the specialized world of watercolors. He makes his living by selling paintings, greeting cards, prints, and books–just like so many other artists who find their own way. For those who wish to dig deeper, he and his wife Sue enjoy writing about their lives, his process, his art, her feelings, and more. They do in book form (read it online), and also as a kind of ongoing dialogue. The conversations and interactions add texture to the visuals, but in the end, it’s the visuals that are so very compelling because they are so plain and so elegant. Here’s another, but I do hope you will visit the site and browse the gallery, and perhaps, support the artist as well.
One final note: I started a meeting today with a favorite quote (which appears in many different forms) from Albert Einstein:
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious–the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
I’m writing this blog article at the very end of the day, just before bedtime. As I was closing up shop for the day, I happened to glance back at Mark Stewart’s website, and I saw this quote, image, and artist’s photo blend together. A nice way to end the day.