Floral Water-Media Paintings Come to Life

September 6, 2013 Updated: September 6, 2013

Wheaton, Md.—It seems like the perfect setting for the Potomac Valley Watercolorists to display their floral watercolor paintings at Brookside Gardens in exhibition. 

Light grapefruit colored Brugmaglia, or ‘angel’s bell’ flowers hang before a background of forest green and dark aqua hues in Ruth Ensley’s painting Reina de La Noche, which translates to “Queen of the Night.” Words cannot describe this beautiful painting.

Ensley’s painting is just one among many presented by the Potomac Valley Watercolorists (PVW). Other paintings in the show include works by local artists from the mid-Atlantic region, including Sue Moses, Jill Poyerd, and Yoshimi Matsukata. 

Home to vibrant collection of plants flowers and wildlife, the Brookside Gardens is the setting of the last exhibit by the PVW before the upcoming public release of their first book titled “Potomac Valley Watercolorists Celebrating 40 years from 1974-2014.” The exhibit runs until Sep. 22. 

The 200 member group is comprised of water color instructors and artists who exhibit at prominent galleries, museums, and in nationally acclaimed shows, according to the PVW website. The PVW book is a 188 page collection of photographs and information on its members’ art works, inspiration and process.

“You can see a range of styles represented in the book. It’s all water media but there are artists that work in multi-media and abstractly,” said Yoshimi Matsukata, a member of the group.

Matsukata’s painting ‘Exuberance’ is presented in the Brookside Garden exhibition. In Exuberance, Matsukata paints a close-up image of a Hosta plant in a realistic style that is almost 2-dimensional. She uses bright yellows and shades of green to portray the Hosta exuberance— the name of the painting. 

“It was early spring, I felt the strength, the strength of life coming though,” said Matsukata about the moment that she painted Exuberance. 

PVW artists often acknowledge the challenges of using watercolor. Jill Poyerd describes a water color technique of pouring a wash of color in her blog. In the process, the artist pours pigmented water over the working surface, with a not entirely predictable result! 

“It’s a bit like harnessing the wind, you can’t really control it but you can use it” writes Poyerd of the technique. 

The luminosity and the transparencies that can be created with watercolor are some of the aspects of the media that keeps Susan Moses connected with the medium. 

“I like the convenience and the challenge of working with watercolor in the way it mixes with paper and I like to express myself and to share that joy with other people,” Moses said. 

Moses prefers to paint outdoors in the environment of her subjects. She enjoys gardening at her home in North Potomac, painting landscapes, the natural environment and capturing the innocence of children in portraits. 

Her painting “Agapanthus and Bee” was accepted into the Baltimore Watercolorists Society 2013 Regional Exhibition at Stevenson University in Maryland from June 30-July 31. 

On Nov. 2nd and 3rd, St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Arlington, Va. will host an exhibition, “The Spirit of Water Color,” featuring approximately 200 artworks by about 52 Potomac Valley Watercolorists. Works of art and the group’s book will be available for purchase at the exhibit.