Kristin Otwell


         I have been exploring nature with watercolor for over 40 years.Trained as a scientific illustrator, my subject matter has included succulent plants, rocks, leaves and trees rendered with a combination of detailed realism and a focus on abstract design.

In a new body of work entitled “Transfigured”, I looked closely at the way nature takes back what mankind has made through a process that is both amazing and beautiful.  With watercolor paintings and mixed media constructions, I pay homage to nature’s process of transfiguration achieved through rust, decay, age and decomposition.  Old wood buildings, rusted items on the salvage pile, and miscellaneous found objects have long intrigued me.  I find these things strangely elegant and in re-interpreting them through a piece of art, I hope they are “transfigured” yet again.

Below are small watercolors of details from several abandoned barns along the Mendocino coast.  I love the textures of the weathered wood and rusted hardware and the contrast of the mysterious dark spaces inside the barns.

The next group of watercolors are all painted from photos taken at our local landfill’s salvage pile.  The strange juxtaposition of discarded metal items often create surprisingly beautiful abstract compositions.

I often see potential subject matter while taking my daily walk with the dog.  Both of the below images were gleaned from items dumped along the trail…a terrible practice, but a lovely find for me.  The crushed drainage pipe was in a huge 10 foot high pile in an abandoned rock quarry.  The pipes formed a giant sculpture of twisted forms.

Author: mcohen15

I am an artist and teacher who travels extensively throughout the world. I am using this blog to share my experiences with my students and friends.

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