Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pastoral Journey with Katy Reeve-Weesner

"Giverny", Watercoulor by KATY REEVE-WEESNER

Hello All.

It is not often that one comes across a talent as exceptional and mesmerizing as Katy Reeve-Weesner's. Nor, is it an everyday occurrence, in the painting world, to languish in the quaint and pastoral English countryside that one sees in Katy Reeve-Weesner's lovely watercolours. That is, unless you are Katy Reeve-Weesner.

Yet, that is exactly what I felt as I stepped into Gallery 21 where her "Journeys in Watercolour" (Paintings) exhibit was running 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. daily. Although I knew that I was in Spanish Village Art Center located at 1770 Village Place, San Diego, California, I, nevertheless, found myself standing in the English countryside gazing at hillside villages and the black faces of fluffy sheep meandering there.

I felt transported, as if I had stepped through a time warp onto a winding country road in the Yorkshire moors, and I easily believed that I had always been there! This English born artist who now lives in San Diego, California and specializes in watercolours of English and European countrysides, had magically transported me to a land of fairy tales and "Little Bo Peep". What a lovely sorceress is Katy Reeve-Weesner...come disguised as a painter of "Journeys".

Another amazing thing about Katy is her avid dedication to sketching. It is, in her opinion, the key part, and one of the most important elements, in the creation of her paintings. Year after year, Katy fills sketchbook after sketchbook with drawings and notes from her travels. I have to admit that I was truly amazed and thrilled by the six or seven sketchbooks that were on display in a glass case during the show. Page after page of countryside scenes, Parisian cafes, people and animals beckoned the visitor through the glass. The sketches, (really, complete renderings) accompanied by flowing script, fairly tumbled from the pages and could easily stand alone as art. Katy told me that this year alone, she has already filled two sketchbooks and is working on a third! (All, by the way, filled within a three-week period). This year her sketching covers scenes in Savannah, Charleston and England. Wow! Those fingers are certainly not sitting idle. Sketching is a form of poetry all its own. And, Katy Reeve-Weesner is as poetic as they come.

"Poetry" that caught my eye at this exhibition included small miniatures where the scene flowed out of the frame of the painting and overlapped the mat board. As with "Boscastle", a 12" x 14" painting in which seagulls circle a harbor nestled in a hillside village. The gulls actually fly out of the painting onto the surrounding mat board, giving another dimension to the composition. Another piece that I admired was "Castleton", a painting depicting a lovely rural village with narrow streets and a black cat slowly traversing its course, all surrounded by rolling hills. "San Toma" gave me a glimpse of the canals of Venice where two gondolas carried passengers along the quay, and "Burnmoor Sheep" portrayed sheep in a meadow above a country village. My favorite of all in the show was, "Long Lane Sheep", (my Little Bo Peep transport) set in the Yorkshire countryside where black faced sheep mill about on a winding road, that runs through an English village reminiscent of Katy's childhood.

At the gallery, Katy explained to me that she started very young in her studies. Her great-uncle, and mentor, took her on many plein air outings with their sketchbooks well in hand. Drawing was adamant, the key to successful painting. It was everything. Later, she attended art college for five years and is a graduate of London's Central School of Art. Katy says, "it was an intense submersion", where once again drawing was adamant. Well, Katy, after meeting you and seeing your show, I'd say "mission accomplished"! As for the great-uncle ... You done him proud, Katy.

"Long Lane Sheep", Watercoulor by KATY REEVE-WEESNER

Katy Reeve-Weesner, the English-born artist, lives in San Diego, California and can be contacted through her website:

Written and posted by Cassandra Shepard, Studio 32
text and content copyrighted, 2010, all rights reserved

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