Arlaine Morrison's 'Whitewater' to be displayed at Joseph House Art Gallery in July

June 26, 2013 

Artist Arlaine Morrison will have a piece of her art on display at the Joseph House Art Gallery's "Living on the River" exhibit. The July exhibit showcases artwork and pottery that highlights artists' interpretations of life along and on the Chattahoochee River.

A free and open-to-the-public reception is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday (July 13) at the gallery, 828 Broadway. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. It's free and open to the public. The gallery is at 828 Broadway. For details, call 706-321-8948.

In this Q&A, artist Arlaine Morrison chats about her art.

Job: Retired teacher

Family: Husband Jim, recently retired director of engineering, two grown sons Chris and Andrew and daughter-in-law Claire. Chris and Claire live in Edinburgh, Scotland and Andrew lives and works in Atlanta.

Background: College in Edinburgh, Scotland, majoring in education, lived in different parts of the UK teaching (elementary and middle school grades, then specializing in working with children with dyslexia as well as gifted children)

Hometown: Born in a small town called Selkirk in the Scottish Borders.

Current city: Suwanee, Ga

Fun fact: Worked as an au pair in Italy while at college which started a life-long interest in all things Italian… food, art, wine and dolce vita!

What artwork will you be showcasing at the Joseph Gallery's "Living on the River" exhibit? A watercolor called "Whitewater," a rafting scene painted on yupo.

What mediums do you use to create your art and why did you choose them? Usually I work in watercolor though I also use pastels, collage and increasingly acrylics. When I was young I used oils but when I came back to art on moving to the US in 1996 I started a class in watercolor and was hooked. I love the spontaneity of watercolor as a medium, the way the colors mingle and blend on the paper.

Tell us about the Yupo paper you use for some of your watercolor paintings. When I tried yupo for the first time I was amazed at its properties. It is a very slick synthetic surface and has to be dealt with differently from regular cold-pressed watercolor paper. There is virtually no "staining" and the paper can be wiped clean, glazing can still be done but with care. It is virtually indestructible and can take scraping, stamping and lifting techniques, also there is a purity of color which people often comment on. I find the paper suits my style of painting, which is loose and impressionistic; I have to remind myself not to get too carried away by the fun of creating texture all over the painting and to have quieter areas.

This exhibit is specific to a location. In general how do your surroundings and travels influence your work? I am very influenced by my travels, I am a very keen photographer and a digital SLR is my best friend, along with a patient husband who puts up with my constantly taking photos wherever we are. I also use a sketchbook whenever there is time, and make notes of colors, etc. Most of my paintings evolved from a photograph taken by myself or a friend who has given me the right to use it. The painting is never a straight copy of the photograph, just my impression of that moment and the way I remember it.

Who or what inspired you to begin painting and when did you get started? My grandmother painted in oils, and my favorite subject in high school was art, but I decided to pursue education as a career, probably because it seemed a safer option back in the late '60s. Painting was going to be something I did when retirement came along and when we moved to Atlanta that opportunity happened early. I took lessons locally from Lala Streett, a wonderful watercolorist and teacher, and not only did I learn techniques from her, but learned how to mat and frame my paintings, how to enter shows at the local and national level and how this helps in your development as an artist.

When I met Geri Davis at a workshop in Atlanta several years ago she asked me to join the Joseph House Art Gallery co-operative in Columbus which had just been set up; when I told her it was too far away for me she wouldn't take no for an answer and I have been a member ever since. I am so grateful to have met so many interesting artists in the area.

What are you future artistic projects and goals? I want to continue developing as an artist, perhaps achieve more Signature Memberships in the watercolor societies and get into more galleries. I recently took a workshop with Marilyn Hughey Phillis and would like to develop the abstract techniques that I learned from her. Her advice was "paint what you love," don't paint for other people or paint what you think will sell.

What advice would you share with young adults who are interested in pursuing a career as an artist? Don't take the "safe route"! If you really want to be an artist, don't get sidetracked. Take as many lessons and workshops as you can afford and be a "sponge," soak up every bit of knowledge they have to give. And draw every day!

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