Saturday, August 8, 2009

Stephen Quiller - Artist

Earlier this week, we visited friends in Creede, Colorado, a picturesque, out-of-the-way, high-altitude silver boom town where Stephen Quiller has lived and painted outdoors for more than thirty years. He works in watercolor, gouache and acrylic and has authored or co-authored seven Watson-Guptill books on the subject of watermedia.

Regarding their place in history, he says, "We have a great tradition, heritage, and history in our water media world. We are where we are today because of past well-known painters such as James William Millard Turner, William Blake, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, John Marin and Charles Burchfield, among many others. They continually tested and pushed the limits of watercolor and gouache. I know that if acrylic and casein were available during their time they would have explored these media as well. These artists realized that the expression was of utmost importance, and the media were there to serve the expression. They chose to work in the water media because of the unsurpassed beauty and spiritual qualities, and the spontaneity and immediacy the mediums offer. It also took courage to work in water media, much as it does today. Many galleries choose not to show works on paper for a host of reasons: glass, reflections, shipping, pricing in contrast to oils, and the cost of framing. However, the masters kept returning to, and spent much of their lives devoted to, water media."

We would add that, whatever other difficulties it might present, watercolor is by far the quickest and easiest medium for the plein air painter to carry around. If you run out of water, you can find more at the nearest drinking fountain, rest room or creek.

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