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Cher McMacken

watercolor & oil

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Chasing the light…

As artists, we are always chasing the light. It defines our work. My inspiration comes from the way light moves through the vibrant color in a flower petal or reflects off the beautiful formations here in the Southwest.

I chose my painting of the Blumenschein poppies to represent my process. I have been greatly inspired by the work of Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn, after seeing their original paintings in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. Even though I had studied these artists in college and art school, seeing the original work was an entirely new experience. Since then, I have been preoccupied with creating the “feeling” of touching the light as it is either reflected or transmitted through the petals. In my landscapes I want the viewer to experience the light at that location — hazy, bright, shadowy, etc.

To achieve this, my oils are done in layers of glazes — much like a watercolor painting, in that the white of the canvas reflects through layers of transparent color. It has been an enlightening journey to learn which pigments work well for this. I still have much to learn.