About Paul Pitsker

My watercolor paintings depict narrative dilemmas, light-hearted vignettes, or staged existential dramas on a microcosmic scale. My interest is in "delicate subjects," a term meant not just literally but also figuratively, as in, for example, a contemplation of the fragility of life, or of the inevitability of darkness -- ideas we tend to avoid confronting on a more than occasional basis. While my literal subjects are generally small creatures such as insects or small birds, they are presented considerably l arger than life, often on an empty stage with melodramatic lighting fading into a dense, velvety darkness. My paintings are moody elegies that rely on word play, dark humor, and the intrinsic beauty of fragile subjects to relieve the tension of life and death scenarios and puzzling encounters.

One of my goals in working with transparent watercolor in recent years was to make work that looks distinctly different from most traditional watercolor paintings. This I accomplish by avoiding the usual textural and "watery" effects of the medium, instead building up vivid contrasts using dense layers of carefully controlled staining pigments. The application of an opaque black pigment (iron oxide) is also unusual in watercolor, and it also contributes to the intense contrasts and depth in my work.

From a distance the results may appear almost photographic, but a closer inspection reveals the tiny brush marks, scratchouts, pencil lines, and other artifacts of an obsessive and intensely personal painting process.

Realistic watercolor
Blinds, 2013, 25 x 18 in., realistic fiction in watercolor
 


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