by Sara Jane Parsons, Council District 9
Watercolor on paper, 2019
Courtesy of The Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists
I was the child chastised for staring, but I've always loved faces. People facinate me. I want to learn their stories and understand their motives. My portraits start with simple graphite drawings derived from un-staged photos. I constantly refine my image as I paint, searching for what feels right. In this piece, a self-portrait, something I hadn't attempted in years, I hoped that my expression would draw the viewer in and make them wonder what might be going on. I want the viewer to interact with my piece creating a story that resonates with them.
Watercolor lends itself well to the delicate translucence in the subject matter I enjoy painting. Skin, petals, light shining through trees or glowing on snow, it can all happen with just water, color, and paper. The translucent nature of the paint also allows for layering and the constant creation of new and interesting colors that I could never create by mixing in a palette. It's a conversation with color, a sculpture on paper, as I layer, lift, and layer some more.
I've been working seriously in watercolor for the last 10 years. Watercolor is a natural medium for me, being a mouth painter as I work quite closely to my easel. Watercolor allows this closeness without the potential toxins or smells that come with other media. It's lightweight, fluid, and once set up, I don't worry about my colors drying up. I can come and go from my work and it's always ready for me. I can work independently in a way that is not possible in most other aspects of my life.