Out & About

July 10, 2014

Painting a different scene

Artist turns from lush florals to mysterious marsh

KEESEVILLE  — Ann Pember’s artistic lens turns from lush peonies to Wickham Marsh.

She’s painting on Yupo, a plastic sheet.

“I can wash the paint right off, and that’s unusual with watercolor,” said Pember, who is holding an Open Studio on July 20 in Keeseville.

“It’s very slippery. If you feel the back, that is what the front is like. So, it’s hard to make the paint actually go on it.”

She likes the runs created when she works watercolor on Yupo.

“When you’re painting water, it’s wonderful,” Pember said. “The same with the stream paintings, it’s a similar one. It’s almost as smooth but it’s a board. It kind of creates those textures without a whole lot of help. I feel like I’m fighting with it if I’m working on regular paper. It just doesn’t do the same thing. That’s the newest things.”

Marsh imagery is her latest exploration in something different, though she may start a series of irises with a few peonies thrown in. 

Of late, her hands have held not paint brushes but gardening tools. She wears a harness when she’s landscaping the steep inclines below her Water Edge Studio.

“I have been out in the yard, cutting limbs from the trees and whacking hedges and power washing and staining decks, and all sorts of stuff,” she said.

After a decade of trying, she finished writing her self-published digital book, “The Magic of Painting on Smooth Surfaces in Watercolor.” The book has more than 325 illustrations and reveals six-full demonstrations of Pember’s techniques.

“I printed one up,” she said. “They will see it on their computer on a CD. I looked into self-publishing on some of the places online, and I didn’t fit their format. They always have a format. I just didn’t fit what they wanted to do. I had to use higher resolution for some things, and I didn’t have that for some of the older paintings that I wanted to put in. On here, they look fine. So, it let me use a lot of those pieces, and I think this helps to explain how I paint these things on smooth surfaces, and there are several.”

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