Watercolors & Oils
Landscapes, Flowers, Still Lifes
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My main interest is the pure beauty of the land which surrounds us: expansive skies, open fields, marshes leading to the sea, rivers and tides. In my landscapes I try to capture the "feeling of the place." Watercolor is interesting for landscapes because the colors flow together with water and create unexpected effects, just as nature does - in the ever changing hues of land and sky. On the other hand, using oils makes it possible to work carefully over areas especially where continuous and even tones are desired to give the illusion of space.
Flowers deserve a spontaneous approach, I think. Flowers are colorful and fresh. More specifically, some plants are delicate and others are bold, some soft and quiet, others loud and bright. A few well-chosen colors in a few fast brushstrokes can capture the essence and portray each flower's characteristics. That is what I attempt to do in painting my flowers, as well as the fruits and vegetables in my still lifes. The watercolor medium gives a light touch to the subject in this case. An oil painting can be more dramatic. More colors can be layered on each other in an oil, adding a richness to the finished painting.
A nicely arranged still life is a joy to paint. The colors and various shapes all play with each other. Negative space is an important part of an interesting painting. That is the area around the object, for instance the background or the table top. Often I make the negative space define the edge of the vase, fruit or flower. Objects and background become a pattern of engaging pieces, with color and form playing an important role in the finished painting. The freshness of watercolor adds to the excitement of a still life. A painting in oil, on the other hand, can be worked on for a longer period of time, and a more controlled look is usually created.
Copyright 2002-2008, Varick Niles: http://www.varickniles.com/varick/.