Massachusetts based watercolorist Sally Meding was recently presented with the FM Brush Company Award of Distinction for her work "Across the Finish Line" at the New England Watercolor Society's 2021 Annual Signature Members Exhibition. Meding has been living, painting, and teaching in the United States since 1990 and her work is included in private collections in the US and in Europe.
|"Across the Finish Line" by artist Sally Meding|
Sally was kind enough to agree to be part of our Artist Spotlight series here on the blog. Take a moment to learn about Sally, her life, and her work. All photos appear courtesy of the artist. Our questions are in bold, the artist response follows.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be an artist?
"I wanted to be a ceramics artist in high school but was persuaded that my other love (biology) would be a better career path. (I did what I was told!) After completing a BS, MS, and PhD, I had my son during my postdoc studies, and it was when he was sleeping, that I would begin to create. I picked up my ceramics again and tried a watercolor class at The Art League in Palo Alto, CA. I fell in love with watercolor immediately! I couldn’t get enough of it. I found my nirvana and it wasn’t in the lab. I realised I was drawn to watercolor because of its transparency, vibrancy, and unpredictable effects. The glow obtained through transparency was like a light was held behind the paper. I was smitten."
Do you have a philosophy or guiding principle when it comes to creating your art or being an artist?
"For my abstract art, my philosophy is usually to create a plan; a small value study in black and white before painting. I use a reference photograph or still life that is interesting and break it down into large shapes with smaller ones around and/or directed at my center of interest. I choose a limited palette of colors and preserve my light areas (as it is hard to get them back once they become too dark).
Occasionally, I will paint spontaneously, for the sheer joy of painting especially when I have new paint colors that I want to test drive!
For realism, I also create a value study before painting my subject and test colors on my swatch pad for color accuracy."
What advice would you give to artists just starting out?
"Firstly, to purchase a small professional watercolor pad that is 100% cotton (eg, Arches cold press pad). The cotton paper allows so much more time to manipulate the pigment before it dries, and the colors are much more vibrant.
Secondly, purchase a limited palette of colors (two yellows, two reds, and two blues plus a neutral black or grey) and experiment to become familiar with mixing/glazing these colors.
Thirdly, as artists are most often visual learners, I would recommend trying a class where the teacher regularly demonstrates all the techniques (step-by-step), provides line drawings (while you learn to draw) and walks you through color theory online or in person."
|"Roads to Redemption" by Sally Meding|
To learn more about Sally and her work, be sure to check out her website and follow her Instagram accounts:
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