Leah Yand Part 2: Watercolor Exploration

I fell in love with watercolor in Professor Katie Creyt’s Watercolor 1 class. I was struggling to choose which medium, or mediums best conveyed what I wanted to say visually. I found that in watercolor. It had all that I didn’t know I had been looking for: it was unpredictable, it could be layered, and the mixture of water, pigment, and paper was constantly doing interesting things. I found a medium where my thoughts could flow freely. I could react instinctively, and it just straight up excited me to play with and constantly be discovering new effects, never doing the same thing twice.

Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22, watercolor and mixed media on Aquabord, 30×22 inches
Detail from Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22

It wasn’t until after I heard Melissa Lang, an amazing local Spokane artist who came to speak in one of my classes, that I decided to go deeper in experimenting with watercolor. I liked the work I had done previously, but always felt like there was a certain type of art I loved the most, but just didn’t know how to make it. Melissa Lang’s work woke me up. She makes abstract oil paintings and I just loved them immediately and couldn’t understand why. The next few months I made watercolors like crazy. After that semester I found all I wanted to do was experiment more, and each painting I made I found myself a little closer to what I had been looking for: an expression of me on paper. 

Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22, watercolor and mixed media on paper, 24×18 inches
Detail from Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22

The artwork I am making now is larger than when I first started this Exploration in Watercolor, as my series is now called. That’s why there is such a variety of painting sizes in the exhibition. Some of the smaller landscape paintings are early works I made in watercolor that hit the chord I had been searching for visually. I used aquabord for two of my paintings, which allowed me to take away areas of color and add them back in. The aquabord pieces probably changed the most out of all my paintings as I continued to work on and evaluate them. My works on paper were the result of me battling tape, paper ripping, and bringing new materials to accentuate what I was liking about watercolor. I used ink and a white paint pen to carve out areas of emphasis and take the paper back to white. I also added texture with acrylic paint and thin fabrics. The paintings in this exhibition are the result of countless hours of experiments, spurred on by feedback from my professors and classmates, and my passion to create what I’ve always wanted to say visually.   

Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22, watercolor and mixed media on paper, 24×18 inches
Detail from Watercolor Exploration Series, 2021-22

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