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Tanya Davis

Posted on Apr 24, 2016

Tanya Davis

My watercolors are intricate and representational. Most often I am drawn to reflections and transparency – the sheen on water, for example, or the patina of vintage ornaments. I work in layers, transparent washes one upon another until I’m satisfied. Sometimes there are 35 or 40 washes in one area; the work is painstaking. I’m closing in on my 600th piece over my 25 year career.

I’ve long since thrown out the conscripted rules of watercolor technique I was taught, including the idea that a watercolor must be quick and spontaneous. All the never and always statements that combine to a formulaic recipe with predictable outcome: meh. If you want rules and certifiable outcomes, go into math, not art.

There are layers of symbolic meaning as well, though most often this is obscure, not obvious. My work explores relationships, connections, and disconnections. There’s an element of autobiography – I comment on my own journey, because it is what I know firsthand. And because I am seeking… Clarity? Insight? Peace. This search is played out in my compositions and color harmonies, dark and light values.

Curling Wave-LGI
Sometimes there is meaning in the objects I choose to paint, sometimes it is in the way these things talk to each other, or the reflections hidden within. Often I pair still life objects by pure instinct. I do not know myself, why these things belong together until after the piece is finished and I write a description for my clients. Then: oh of course. This one’s texture is the inverse of that one. Or the curve of one object mimics the shape of another, in subtle repetition of form.

I grew up in Florida and the Caribbean, and majored in art at Florida State University. I’ve been a professional artist since 1989. Most of my work is in private collections near and far.

You can visit my working studio in the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Virginia. A related extracurricular, much of the past decade or so has been dedicated to volunteering for and at times leading an extraordinary artist colony, the Torpedo Factory Artists Association. I’m not on any organizational boards right now, but I want to say how much I appreciate the artists who step up to lead and innovate, here and elsewhere. Kudos, Judith, on A&M Studios and Salon!

Tanya Davis