Friday, May 28, 2010

Bev Jozwiak at The Cole Gallery

The Cole Gallery in Edmonds represents forty artists and hosts a rotating feature exhibition of each artist. The current artist featured by the gallery is Bev Jozwiak. Jozwiak is a signature member of the Norwest Watercolor Society. Curator, Denise Cole, claims that of the workshops offered to artists, Jozwiak’s are the most popular.

Jozwiak’s featured watercolor paintings depict figurative and avian subjects. Her figurative work in this exhibition is split between young women and children. One of her avian subjects is a rooster; the rest are crows. Whether she is painting birds, a bride’s maid or women waiting for the No. 9 bus, Jozwiak’s approach is both energetic and memorable.

Her colors are intense and her contrasts lively, but the source of her “Wow” factor, and she does have the “Wow” factor is her expressive and deliberate brush strokes. Jozwiak’s painting style is intensely personal. Her work appears to be driven by a kinetic relationship with her world.

The edge of a shape is a critical transition in artwork. Edges are said to come in three flavors: hard, soft and rough. Jozwiak’s edges move beyond the standard. Her edges can be jagged, gestural, bleeding, spattered and at times the pigment simply fades out into a solitary pencil contour line defining the shape.

Jozwiak paints with bold brushstrokes. Paint is often thick and opaque. She characteristically mixes pigment on the paper rather than the palette, which results in surprising color juxtapositions.

Her compositions are engaging. Most of her children are active. In Budding Artist a child is painting. In Life’s Little Treasures children are curiously searching the ground for that perfect little object to take home and put in a jar on the shelf. The young women in Jozwiak’s show are waiting. In Bus Stop Conversation and Waiting on #9, they are waiting for the bus. In “All Dressed Up...” the subject appears to be waiting for a date to show up. All of Jozwiak’s figures appear to be embedded in their own reality. The gaze of the figures is always behind the frame rather than out of the frame toward the viewer. Directing the gaze of the subject behind the frame, the artist contains the energy in the image she has created. We are allowed to peer in, but the subjects do not notice us. The effect enlarges the virtual world of the subject.

Jozwiak is playful as well as expressive. When she paints crows, she represents a bird that is familiar with the human world. In Traffic Cop II a crow is shown perched on a traffic signal light. In Crow Bar II a crow has found its way into a traditional still life of grapes, wine glasses and bottles. The crow has a grape in its beak. These scenes may sound cute, and while Jozwiak works with humor, her images go beyond cute. Even in these tame situations, her crows have a mischievous wildness and about them.

The Cole Gallery is located in downtown Edmonds at 107 5th Avenue. They are open seven days a week. The Bev Jozwiak feature exhibition continues through June 11, 2010. A selection of her work is on permanent display at the gallery.

Jozkwiak's website is at -
The Cole Gallery's website is at -

Friday, May 14, 2010

This is an 11 x 15" watercolor I painted in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle as part of the 27th WorldWide Sketchcrawl.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Claudia Postema was Wise Designz

The Wise Designz Gallery is hosting an exhibition of the watercolor and mixed media work of Claudia Postema entitled, “Morph into Expression.”

Postema is a North Everett artist known locally for her watercolor paintings. Her oeuvre includes a variety of subjects, including: still life, animal portraits, landscapes, marine and more. This show was designed to illustrate a turning point in Postema’s art. Historically she has exhibited traditional watercolor technique with a tight or realistic representation of her subjects. However, Postema has, according to Josie Wise, the curator of this show, “moved in a new direction” with her art and is now pushing her paintings toward expressionism.

Unfortunately, the only paintings hanging on the wall are Postema’s new expressionistic works. In order to compare the new works with her earlier works, it is necessary to flip through some nearby racks holding prints of her prior paintings.

The subject matter of her most recent work continues to be recognizable, but the presentation has shifted from a realistic reporting to an emphasis of the abstract gesture and form of the subject as well as the introduction of a more passionate palette. The aggressive framing accentuates Postema’s artistic direction.

Most of the newer works are florals and most of the florals feature sun flowers. Sunflowers are an ideal subject for expressionism: they are big and colorful, they have a head and in the right light even appear to have a face. Postema’s uses color and design to make her sunflowers more expressive.

In two paintings titled Red Sunflowers on Blue she exploits a complementary color scheme to create dynamic tension between subject and background. The images are unsettled and tentative in their appeal. Her painting “Blue Sunflowers” plants manganese blue sunflower heads on a rich red background. Red is a powerful color and in this case has overpowered the subject.

My favorite piece was a work titled “Lemon Drop”. The painting presents three sunflower blossoms against a mottled gray background. The blooms in this painting are bright, celebratory and upright. This image is a testament to fruition.

Other favorites include a mixed media piece entitled “Sunflowers”, which has swaths of cheesecloth embedded into the textured background and a painting which seems to carve the organic form of nasturtiums out of rectangular fields of background color.

If you have time to see this show, make sure you peek in on the Hewitt Avenue window to see a series of four paintings of grapes. This series represents delicate and mysterious clusters of grapes painted over a wet-in-wet underpainting, which takes advantage of watercolor’s fluid characteristics.

Wise Designz is located at 2908 Wetmore Ave. in downtown Everett, Washington. They are open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday. Wise Designz is also part of the Everett Art Walk, which takes place on the third Saturday evening of every month. The Claudia Postema exhibition continues through the end of April, 2010.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This is a view of the "Castle House" at Fort Warden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington. I painted this in watercolor on the Spring Equinox, 2010.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dawn Westmoreland at the Espresso Americano

The current show at Espresso Americano features a collection of thirteen works of art: primarily pastel paintings, mono-prints and assemblages by Dawn Westmoreland.

The first piece that caught my eye as I entered the coffee shop and perhaps my favorite piece was a portrait of a woman. She is portrayed as an aging, but iconic “party girl.” She is clad only in an earring, bracelet and necklace, which are three-dimensional metal jewelry pieces fastened to and emerging from the painting. The figure is smoking and I am thankful that the cigarette is merely painted in place. At first blush the woman in the painting seems shallow or superficial. Yet, as I spent some time with the image I began to feel a deeper significance. While the figure may in part represent superficiality, she also appears honest, open and content. There is a dignity to her appearance that challenges my authority to judge her condition.

This image questions reality. Ordinarily I consider jewelry to be an ornamentation that augments an illusory image of an otherwise real person. But, here the woman is a mere representation and the jewelry is part of the reality of my three-dimensional world. The ontology of the piece seems to be backward. Any work of art that has the strength to unsettle my sense of reality deserves my attention.

Next to the portrait is another piece, which is an assemblage of consumer products with some fixtures thrown in. The box frame collection of artifacts includes a doorknob, a Delta 88 trim piece, a circuit board and a faucet. Perhaps this piece is designed to encourage me to see common items around me as artful. Perhaps the cluttered collection of logos and formerly moving parts is offered as a modern consumer’s landscape. Perhaps not. I just cannot tell and this one leaves me empty. In the end it comes off as a random assortment of stuff and I have trouble connecting with it.

Three of the other pieces in this show worth seeing include a mono-type titled “Red Phish,” that’s “P-H-I-S-H.” The work appears as though pigment were transferred with cheesecloth. The delicate red lines remind me of capillaries.

Another compelling piece is a mixed media abstraction of a treed landscape. The “trees” are covered in bits of colored glass or plastic, which for me represented a flowering or blooming. The effect is decidedly upbeat.

The show also contains a black and white print entitled “Flowers.” The image is a delicate, well balanced and intricate floral I take to be a Clematis. This print emphasizes the botanical design of the flowering plant without the distraction of color.
Espresso Americano is located in the Everett Public Library at 2702 Hoyt, Everett. They are open Seven days a week, closing at 6:00 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays and closing at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. This exhibition continues through the end of March, 2010.