Watercolors judemann.com

In 1994 my husband Peter LaBoria and I sailed across the Atlantic in a small yacht. I had a sabbatical leave from teaching painting at Hamspshire College, and wanted to do serious studio work during my time off. I also wanted to spend time in the places we visited and not rush back to the studio to work on paintings. In order to spend the five months I had most productively, I decided to remain on the boat and try to learn to use watercolors.

Photo of Flight
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Despite over twenty years of experience at the helm and at the easel, we soon found that we were exploring two new worlds, sailing in Atlantic and European waters, and painting while while traveling by sail. We contended with meltemi winds and choppy seas and a whole set of new and unfamiliar levels of bureaucracy, in various languages. Simultaneously, I learned to consider landscape and seascape as subjects, and to work in a new material. It would be hard to say which was more challenging, the sailing or the painting.

In every respect this was a true oddysey.

While reading the text, you will learn something about the experience of the place. You will also read a brief description of the process or aims of the work itself. The effect will be similar to a lecture which provides a context for the images, one which gives insights into the formal and material concerns. This is as well a sailing story, and that will make it more about my life than might usually be the case with a formal artist's lecture.

Each painting is a record which gives me a precise memory of a time of day, a place, and the experience of getting to the site. As a group, they are a record of a sustained engagement with place, time and light. However, you do not have to know about art or have traveled to these places to undertake the essay component. The images are complete in themselves, but information about art never hurts the enjoyment of it. The world is a beautiful place, and the beauty is in the small moments of clouds and rain, as well as in working boats and deserted ruins.

Stonehurst Wharf
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Road and Walls
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For the last five centuries or more, one of the primary tasks of visual art and music has been that of providing solace and pleasure. Although that aim is suspect now, there is still a need to engage the eye and heart as well as the mind. If you do care about contemporary painting, you will be able to imagine the trepidation with which I engaged in such a nineteenth century project. At times I felt more akin to a British 19th century amateur in Cairo than I did a Modernist artist. Yet, the places themselves seemed to forbid any self-conscious posturing, calling instead for my attention and respectful recording. For every image you see, there are many more which were completed in the cause of recording and learning. In total, well over five hundred water colors have been completed during this project

You will find images of ancient ruins, simply built rural homes and working boats, trees and fields, and villages and cities from here (the East Coast of North America) and there ( the shores and islands of the Atlantic and Mediterranean). The accompanying text is the remarkable story of life experiences never imagined when we embarked on this journey.

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