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March 2, 2004 > Watercolor Collage by Lynn Slade

Watercolor Collage by Lynn Slade

A casual glance at Lynn Slade's work may draw viewers closer since much of the subject matter is engaging landscapes. A closer inspection, however, reveals unexpected texture and relief that can project the image to another plane. The watercolors are actually a combination of hand stained torn rice papers (called "Washi") on canvas in a technique she calls "watercolor collage " Lynn laughs as she talks about her passion saying, "It's fun." There is a definite impression that this is true to the last fiber of her being.

When the mood strikes, Lynn is quick to snap pictures or paint a "loose" interpretation of the scene. The paper textures used in the studio begin to define the painting and the blend of paint and paper creates a vision beyond watercolor alone. Lynn composes her paintings, often using composites of several views or images. For instance, one of her favorite paintings is of a group of butterflies she found swarming. Many photographs were taken and Lynn selected the composition to create a mammoth 30'x30' artwork which she adds, is not for sale.

As she displays the paper used as overlay, Lynn talks of the combinations that can create just the right opacity or combination of colors or combination of threads. The art appears to be a composite of watercolor and collage. Paper is always torn, not cut, and Lynn paints many different colors and types until "I have a variety that I think I am going to use. I then construct the painting with these little pieces of paper." Details and adjustments can be added by brush or the addition or removal of torn paper. She says that the layers of paper give "depth of color." A critical look at her paintings reveals a variety of colors that blend to create the image. She says, "The more paper you put on and the more layers you put on, the more intriguing it gets. Every paper over every other paper changes color and does different things. It just keeps changing as you build it up."

Paintings can evolve and surprise Lynn because laying dry paper gives one effect and when moistened by the matte medium used to adhere it to the canvas, the papers can bleed and create a different effect. "All of a sudden, you have something else going on in there. Sometimes you get a great little section from the combinations that transform and come to life." Lynn says that she is an intense person. "I like a lot of color; I like things really bright!"

Use of watercolor is relatively new for Lynn. She says that six or seven years ago she took watercolor painting classes. "I liked the things you could do with the color, but it was never strong enough." Many years ago, Lynn was a weaver who made things on her own loom. "I think I was missing the tactile part of creating art." A subsequent class with an artist named Gerald Brommer sparked her interest in the painted paper technique and, as Lynn says, "I was hooked!"

Tri-City visitors and residents will have a chance to be "hooked" too when they visit Lynn Slade's exhibit March 6th - April 2nd at Ohlone Arts Gallery, 43319 Mission Blvd., Fremont (Mission San Jose District) near the intersection of Washington and Mission Boulevards). Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. For gallery information, call (510) 657-2977. Lynn can be reached at (510) 651-2161 or at

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