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.