Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Summer Rose

"Summer Rose" is currently on view on my solo exhibition "Near, Far and Farther" at the Danville Art League. The exhibition is featuring my travel watercolors I paint on-site.  "Summer Rose" began as a painting of a real rose which I began at the Southern Illinois Art Workshop.  Carol Garver of the Danville Art League was in attendance at the workshop and she invited me to have a solo exhibition at Danville.

I always have 'in-progress' paintings so students can see how I develop a painting. It is important for students to see the stages of a painting, that you don't finish a detailed, layered painting in one frantic session. Mostly, it is important to let a watercolor wash dry completely before adding another layer of paint.  Working on a second painting while the first one dries is a great strategy for getting more done and not picking away at a painting you should let rest!

You can see that in the August 'Watercolor Explorers' Club' workshop at the Ewing Manor in Bloomington, "Summer Rose" was not quite finished. After the workshop, in my own studio, I finished the painting.  Primarily, I emphasized the background, darkening and defining the leaves that surrounded the rose.  I also brought some of the pink tones (permanent rose) into all the petals to create optical harmony.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Two of my paintings being viewed at opening reception of
"High Bridge" at Korean Cultural Art Center of Chicago

A Tale of Two Exhibitions

This summer my paintings and mixed media drawings were included in two curated exhibitions. 

The first exhibition, "High Bridge" was co-curated by Kim Massey at the Korean Cultural Arts Center of Chicago which opened June 1.  Two of my large-scale paintings were selected and placed prominently in the exhibition space. It was a joy to see the entire show which included two of my former MFA students Sigrid Wonsil and Davida Schulman. Featured above are two paintings of mine and the opening reception.

"High Bridge" has real meaning-connecting among artists of different cultural and geographic backgrounds.  Interestingly, I took Sigrid Wonsil with me to Estonia where we were guests of the Estonia Printmakers Association when I gave a master class to the Academy of Art in Tallinn, Estonia during the "Mana Propria" international drawing exhibition.. Several years later, Sigrid took Kim with her as a fellow artist as guests of the Estonia Printmakers Association.  Sigrid was born in Austria, emigrating to the US as a child, Kim married an American who was overseas in Korea, so all three of us journeyed through artistic friendship to Estonia.  Many bridges indeed.

The second exhibition "Faces and Figures" in the Cincinnati area was curated by Danny Brown and featured thirteen artists. I had twelve paintings and mixed media drawings in the show, especially my latest Sphinx and Marilyn painting. I am pleased three works were large-scale drawings (similar to ones curated into Mana Propria) since I am mostly known for my paintings. Below are three views of this exhibition.

My Ostraka:History IV watercolor at
Faces and Figures exhibition
 Watercolors painted in Greece at
Faces and Figures exhibition

My Ostraka: History I drawing at Faces and Figures exhibition


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Our May Watercolor Explorers' Club Event at Ewing Mansion, Bloomington, IL.

It was a great morning exploring a spring color triad.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to make a rose bloom

My best-known rose paintings were done in graduate school and people have asked me to do a rose painting demo many times over the years. I start them at workshops and finish them at home or at other workshops.  I think it is very important for artists to see the stages in making a painting.  We can be in a hurry and want to make everything perfect all at once. 

These pictures, showing three stages helps you see how to develop a painting start to finish.  I cover pigments you should use and how to mix them and get started in my watercolor workshops.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Small statue at Temple of Isis ruins at Dion, Greece

My dear friend Xenis drove me to this site where his daughter had done some archeological work and he knew I would like the site.  He was right. It was mesmerizing. I went back for a day of painting, taking 3 inter-village buses to get there. It was worth it.  The place was silent but for the song of birds and frogs who began singing after I settled into my painting. I was alone with the ruins and the small statues. The site was filled with six inches of fresh spring water, adding a beautiful blue to the scene.

This painting was exhibited first in the "Virginia Woolf and the Natural World" exhibit at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky along with three other Greek watercolors I did on site. It was also seen in my solo exhibition "Journeys" at Quincy College, Quincy, Illinois. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Ostraka:  History II: xiv  
70 x 140 inches

Nefertiti has haunted me since childhood-seeing a replica in our best neighbor's house in Chicago.  David Salle made a reference to this stunning masterpiece. Salle wrote about Alex Katz in March T & C. Katz apparently started his list of favorite artists with "jackson Pollock and the guy who made Nefertiti" (who was court sculptor Tutmose.

I lost count of how many paintings of mine use her image and I do not tire of attempting to replicate her stunning beauty.  This is a large sumi ink and gouache painting also done in my Cincinnati studio.  It measures 7o x 140 inches.

The studio was mercilessly cold in winter, since I was the only tenant other than my son's rock band that practiced there.  The isolation and lonliness probably fueled lots of "what ifs?" such as positioning the seductive face of Nefertiti between two seductive archaic Greek vase designs.

Special thanks to Owen Jones's 'Grammar of Ornament,' a book which has been in my collection since graduate school.  He set me on a rich path of discovery of ancient designs and symbols.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Watercolor Explorers' Club

You are cordially invited to participate in the inaugural session of the Watercolor Explorers' Club.  We have an auspicious beginning: the Ewing Cultural Center has invited us to premier at the Ewing Mansion, so save the date: 
Date/Time: Friday, March 22, 10 AM to 12 Noon.  
Location: The Ewing Cultural Center is on the corner of Emerson and Towanda Streets 
in Bloomington.

Morning's Itinerary: Executive Director Toni Tucker will give us a short tour of Mrs. Ewing's watercolor collection.  Following the tour, we will paint at Ewing, in their spacious conference room.
Topic: Choosing subjects that have meaning to you.  Please bring family heirlooms or mementoes from your travels. I will make a group still life to which you add your special heirlooms or mementos. We will paint from our specialized still life and I will review watercolor and composition basics and my demo will focus on mixing vivid colors.

Cost/reservations: All Watercolors Explorers’ Club events cost $25 per session.  An optional 1/2 hr group mini-critique will follow for anyone interested. Future watercolor sessions will mostly alternate between Friday mornings and Sunday afternoons at various inspiring locations once a month. Please call ahead or email to reserve your spot.  I am happy to answer any questions you may have.  

Ms. Kukla received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Cynthia has exhibited her paintings, watercolors, works on paper and sculptures on four continents in over fifty solo shows and over two hundred fifty curated or group exhibitions. In 2006, Cynthia was inducted into the Watercolor Honor Society which has only two-hundred members nationwide.