BIO & AWARDS
Channeling obsessive/compulsive into art…
I joke about channeling my obsessive compulsive personality traits into art, but it's true I love all the details and that's okay. For thirty years I worked as a secretary/bookkeeper. Now I’m a full-time painter and printmaker. I primarily focus on the region where I live in Pittman Center, Tennessee—just on the edge of the Greenbrier entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. My artwork continues to be an evolution of creative ideas. My studio is full of treasures collected from the forest and river near my home. Lichens, nutshells, rocks, seeds, mossy sticks, and flowers--this reference material all goes into the gestation of my paintings and etchings. The variety and intensity of color in a dying leaf or the graceful line of a stem, the personality of a dancing blossom--these are nature's gifts that are all worthy of recording.
While growing up in Knoxville, I spent an enormous amount of time with my grandparents, who were prolific gardeners. My grandmother taught me to plant and love flowers. One of my first memories is laying in the spring grass with my face buried in the fresh blossoms of the daffodils--the intense yellows and greens, the scent, the details are all burned into my mind. My grandfather taught me to care for the fruits and berries of his orchard. The peaches with their fuzzy skin and incredible golden-pink hues, the bark with it's texture and sap--I cherish these memories. They taught me to appreciate all aspects of nature, and I try to convey this in my artwork.
As I grow older, my oil paintings are a new journey. I do not categorize my oils into a particular style. I prefer to allow myself the freedom to learn and evolve each time I pick up a brush for a new subject. I do love and study many masters--Rembrandt, George Inness and other Tonalist painters, as well as many contemporary painters. During 2020, I am studying under Jenny Buckner and Jane Hunt--both incredible artists I admire. Oils let me explore the landscapes of my local scenery, as well as places I've traveled to over the last 40 years. I also enjoy animal portraits--many of my own pets and those of friends. Flower studies are always a favorite of mine, as you may know from my watercolors. Our region is rich in the diversity of painting opportunities.
By embracing the details and imperfections of nature, I believe, my watercolors offer a unique perspective. My watercolor paintings cover a range of botantical subjects--leaves, flowers, berries, butterflies and a few landscapes. In recent years I have evolved into not only painting on paper, but also taking on the challenge of painting on vellum, which in my case means prepared calfskin. This surface was used before paper became affordable and common in the past centuries. The old illuminated manuscripts were done on skins. It has been difficult to find books on the subject of vellum painting techniques. I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to take a workshop class from Carol Woodin, who is an internationally recognized award-winning artist on vellum. There is something very special about artwork painted on vellum--a glow. The process is a very slow, dry-brush technique of applying watercolor layers. If too much water is used it will pull up the previous layer of paint. But if done correctly the layers of paint build up to create an vibrant image, which is unique to this surface and medium. I prefer using the "honey or natural" color vellum with hints of veining in the skin. It is so organic looking when doing a nature subject.
My etchings celebrate the combination of line, tone and color to depict a variety of flowers, trees and animals. Etching is an intaglio printmaking technique. A copper plate is incised by a corrosive solution, which bites into the copper creating the lines and textures that hold the ink. The botanical engravings and etchings from previous centuries are especially appealing to me and have had a strong influence on my work. After painting watercolor botanicals for many years, I decided to transfer this knowledge and ability into the printmaking medium. Seeing the etchings of Mary Quinnan Whittle, a fellow member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, inspired me to seek her out and take my first etching class. Copperplate etching is a challenging medium--not for those who are afraid to get a little dirty or put some muscle into the day's work. Etching is a fascinating medium begun in the 1400's and practiced by some of the finest artists in history. Durer and Rembrandt were especially talented etchers--of course, they were incredibly talented in a variety of other mediums also. These are artists I admire and study.
My mixed media work is a wonderful deviation to other materials and techniques. The mixed media work I do predominently incorporates gilding of gold and/or silver leaf along with the use of India ink. Gustav Klimt, along with other art nouveau artists, is my primary inspiration for this stylized work. I love gilding and the rich textures of metals and the arts & crafts era of decoration. My mixed media pieces usually cross the line between being a detailed artist and becoming an obsessive compulsive patient.
And then there are my books...yes, I love to make handmade books with coptic threaded bindings. Usually with marbled papers or Asian silk fabric, but leather bindings are to come soon, possibly incorporating some of my enameling decoration. This is a learning process for me. It's the love of sewing I learned from my Mom and Grandmom, as well as the love of leather and books. I have enjoyed making several sketchbooks and blank diary books. Stay tuned for the next creation....
AWARDS & EXHIBITS
2016 Chosen as the Featured Artist at the Art Happening exhibition by the Sevierville Commons Arts Council in Sevierville Tennessee.
2016 "Cardinal Flowers" accepted into the juried exhibition Maker Moxie at the Peter's Valley School of Craft in New Jersey.
2015 Distinguished Media Award in the 17th Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition in Gatlinburg, TN for my "Rudbeckia" etching.
2014 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Artist of the Year. Chosen for "Morel" watercolor on vellum (calfskin), which will be printed on the 2014 brochures and marketing merchandise. Includes solo exhibit at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts Loggia Gallery, Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
2013 "Flowering Quince" etching received a Distinguished Media Award: Printmaking in the 16th Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition in Gatlinburg, TN.
2013 Winner of the Sevier County Arts Council booth award at the Gatlinburg Fine Arts Festival.
2012 "Flowering Quince" etching received an Honorable Mention in the Fifteenth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition presented by The American Society of Botanical Artists & The Horticultural Society of New York.
2010 "Shortia galacifolia" etching received the Award for Drawing and Printmaking in the Thirteenth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition presented by The American Society of Botanical Artists & The Horticultural Society of New York.
2009 "Little Pumpkin" etching received the Distinguished Media Award: Printmaking at the 14th Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition.
2009 Solo Artist of the Year Exhibition at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts - Loggia Gallery - as winner of the Grand Prize in the 2008 Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Art Contest. Solo exhibition.
2009 Regional Fine Art Exhibition at the Dogwood Arts Festival - group exhibition.
2008 "Blue Woodland Phlox" Grand Prize winner of the national Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Art Contest--featured on the brochure cover of the 59th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage & National Park Experience in April 2009.
2008 Sevier County Invitational. Group show of 10 award-winning artist invited to participate at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts - Gatlinburg, TN.
2007 Sevier County Bank, Main Branch, Sevierville, TN. Group show of selected winning work from the 13th Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition.
2007 "Mosaic Panel" mixed media received Best in Show at the 13th Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition.
2007 "Mountain Spiderwort" received the Second Place Award in the national Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Art Contest.
2006 "Flame Azalea" received the Second Place Award in the national Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Art Contest.
2005 "Peacocks and Friends" received the Purchase Prize at the 12th Sevier County Biennial Juried Exhibition.
2005 Callaway Gardens Cecil Day Butterfly Center, Pine Mountain, GA - solo exhibition August thru December.
2005 Columbia State College, Columbia, TN - group exhibit.
2019 LEAVES: My Journey in Watercolor. Self puplished book of my watercolor leaf paintings.
2016 catalog for the juried Maker Moxie Exhibition at Peter's Valley School of Crafts in New Jersey--"Cardinal Flowers".
2010 & 2012 catalogs for the Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibitions--"Shortia galacafolia".
Interview with American Society of Botanical Artists: www.asba-artt.org/article/15th-annual-interview-andrea-wilson
"Flame Azalea Spring" published in "The Botanical Artist", Vol. 15, Issue 1 - March 2009, Pg. 14.
American Society of Botanical Artists www.asba-art.org
Southern Highland Craft Guild www.CraftGuild.org
Foothills Craft Guild www.FoothillsCraftGuild.org
The Horticultural Society of New York www.hsny.org
The Southern Highland Craft Guild www.craftguild.org/andrea
Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage www.springwildflowerpilgrimage.org