Artist Statement The inspiration for my work as an artist comes from all areas of my life. I try to capture and transform any subject into expressive visual language. I have been fascinated by the human figure – especially unique gestures, moods, facial expressions, light and relationship with the surrounding color. All of these evoke an impulse to make a painting. However, to create is not just to copy surroundings. I strive to lay down my emotion and passion through composition and harmonious color. I have tried to capture people revealing their hidden beauty. When I paint I like to be spontaneous…to stop thinking, just trust my intuition. Sometimes I just leave something out or give little hints, this way I awaken my viewer to use their imagination to (mentally) complete my piece in a personal way and engage them deeper into my work.
Bio Valya Hristova, was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria She has a Masters degree in Conservation and restoration at N. Pavlovich University, following a Bachelors of Art, in addition to intensive 4yr Art High School. She received a “Best of show“ award 1978 at Contemporary National Gallery at Sofia while still a student. She worked at Archeological museum for 12 years, giving her the opportunity to work on pieces from great masters of the past from prehistoric age to 20th century. These allowed her to learn about different art techniques and their evolution. She came to USA 1991. She worked as a restorer, professional artist and art instructor.
She taught oil and pastel painting at Monrovia College, watercolor at Brand Art studio at Brand library in Glendale, Burbank Creative Art Center and Arcadia.
Her work has been juried in many national and international exhibitions: Brand National, WW, Annual Signature American Watermedia International Exhibition, CWA. PSME(pastel) International, PSSC international online
Gary Friedman works mostly in watercolors but has experience in oils, pastels, pen and ink and gouache. His landscapes and street scenes, done in impressionistic style, use negative and positive shapes, a warm color palette and techniques that push the limits of traditional watercolor.
He received a B.A. degree in instrumental music from Cal. Univ. of Northridge and a Master’s degree in Education from LaVerne Univ. He’s taught art, ceramics, band and orchestral music for 36 years in public schools. His summers found him traveling to painting workshops all over the world. He’s a member of several art organizations including Santa Clarita Artist’s Association (program chair), Valley Watercolor Society, Westlake Village Art Guild, Simi Valley Art Association, Mid Val Art Association, Thousand Oaks Art Association, Watercolor Society of West Texas, California Art Club, National Watercolor Society, North West Watercolor Association and American Art Association. His YouTube channel “Crazy Brushstrokes”, features short tutorials on painting, design and composition.
In his demo, he painted another version of his friend Tony the crepe maker from his recent trip to France. Gary also teaches a weekly art class via Zoom. His website is garyfriedmanart.com and Instagram account is prolific_gary. e has created several “movie-ettes’ of his painting process and have geared these demos specifically for MVAL. He discussed composition techniques and the principles of design as he workedand included tips I’ve used from my many years studying with watercolor masters. Shown here are pure gouache, one on cardboard and one on watercolor paper. H
We had three MVAL members all demonstrating at once for a special holiday experience! Carmen Daugherty, Dilmit Singh, and Mary Archibald. Each artist introduced themselves and the project and tools they would use.
Dilmit went second and painted a lovely painting of a rich red pot in a lush green setting. Dilmit is a self-taught artist who derives inspiration from her natural surroundings. She paints in both oil and watercolors and strives to capture light, shade and shadow. Watercolor allows her to be loose, airy and sketchy and the buttery spread of oil color gives her the freedom to capture the robustness of people, places and things.
Carmen went third and showed us the stages she goes through to create beautiful poinsettia greeting cards using negative painting. She painted multiple beautiful watercolor poinsettia Christmas cards and demonstrated the stages of using negative painting technique and how to add lettering using Posca Pens.
No self judgement, just pure absorption; the joy of colour and the feel of the crayon or felt pen or brush on the paper; the power of creating a world all your own. It’s important to get back in touch with that experience, to take a playful approach to learning art.
As children we can work intuitively, as adults we can layer on top of that what we can learn about how art works: line, form, composition, colour, value, mark-making, surface… Something I call informed intuition. Working in this way gives us the opportunity to experiment with and really get to know our materials before we head into the nuts and bolts of art-making. We can relax, consult our intuitive knowledge and learn to trust it. Ideally this happens all along the way, making the painting: you make a change, a mark, a brush stroke, add a colour or a value, then you pause and consider the next step.
In fact-- the process for me is a constant interchange between intuition and more directive, intentional decisions. Making art is usually solitary and sometimes lonely. I have found a lively community in my students and I try to nurture a sense of “place” for them in my courses. As a self-taught artist who has been painting for over thirty years, I can relate to both the dream of making the paintings we see in our minds, and the frustrations of mastering the tools, techniques, and mindset to achieving them.