This week, we are pleased to welcome mother of four and a talented watercolour artist, Roberta Shaw as an artist on the Calgary Art Market. The fluidity of her watercolours is balanced carefully with thought-out composition creating a certain “clarity” in her work. In this article, Shaw breakdowns her inspiration and evolution as an emerging Calgary artist.
Your style is very clean but still organic/fluid in nature. How would you describe your unique aesthetic?
I love working with watercolor which has been my primary medium for several years now. My work tends to be minimalist, I love the challenge of conveying as much visual information as possible using the simplest wash of colour. Learning how the paint behaves on the paper and how I can manipulate it into suggesting the form I want is an ongoing process. My favorite part of art making is allowing the watercolor to create interesting shapes and forms that I build into my imagery. It always feels like a magical process.
Your watercolour technique appears to be influenced by illustration. How did you develop it?
I started with drawing which I’ve always had a passion for, then I studied printmaking in University and learned so much about composition, and layering and the physical process of making art. I’ve spent the last ten years building upon those foundations and becoming confident using new mediums. My confidence as an artist and a teacher has also increased with experience.
As your style has evolved what challenges did you see the most growth from?
I’ve always loved anatomy but I used to avoid attempting portraits. Hands, feet, the body all came naturally to me but painting portraits was completely out of my element. I started embracing what was the most daunting for me and have turned it into a strength.
Artistic growth is something that needs constant inspiration. Where do you find yours?
I love nature, I spend as much time outside as possible, gardening, hiking, exploring. I often use art as a way to catalogue what I see in my environment. I started as a science major and observing nature, the body, and how intricate those forms can be always makes me want to sit and draw or paint them.
Finally, we like to wrap up our introductions with something fun about yourself. Can you share a strange talent that you whip out from time to time?
I am not a very good singer but I can make up a song about any subject deadpan. It’s a ridiculous ability that I only use when trying to convince my four children to do something they don’t want to do. I probably should be writing show tunes on the side, but I can’t do it all!