Allison Spreadborough Exhibition
May 1 - May 31
I’m a watercolor artist and Northern California native most inspired by the natural environment of the California coast, mountains, and deserts. My work draws parallels between natural forces in the world of form through art, geology, botany and formlessness. It’s hard to explain, but I hope that the sense of flow I feel while painting is communicated to the viewer as a sense of spacious consciousness. The composer, John Cage says it well:
“When you start working, everybody is in your studio–the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas–all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.”
My primary painting practice combines plein air painting along with studio and intuitive painting. When working in the field, I first find an appealing scene, then I draw a thumbnail sketch or two to identify value and composition. These studies are completed using a pencil and field notebook. When I feel that I’ve captured the essence of the scene, I tape watercolor paper to a plastic support and freehand draw the composition using the thumbnail study for reference.
The watercolor technique I use is called wet-into-wet painting. To employ the technique, I wet the paper and paint fast so that the paper dries with soft edges. It’s a suspenseful way to paint but it’s wonderful to see what happens as granulating and transparent colors mingle. This technique also allows me to observe and react to how evaporation impacts each section of the painting. I usually build up three wet-into-wet glazes before the painting nears completion.
Although I usually begin paintings in the field, I most often finish them in the studio using a mirror to critique the process. Although this technique can be involved and elusive, the creative potential is infinite and I enjoy the process from beginning to end. I love it when the final result looks fresh, luminous and spontaneous.