Ken Januski - Watercolors

For all of his years in undergraduate and graduate art classes Ken almost never touched watercolor. He imagines this was due to the connotation it had, at least where he studied, of a dainty feminine type of art that had no place in 'real' art.  As he recalls the only time he ever used it was in an introductory art course at UC Berkeley where students were introduced to a number of media. Oddly enough he was struck by it then, even though he never continued using it. There is a type of magic in the way that watercolor works and the effects of light it can create.

Once he turned to bird art, after 20-30 years of abstract art, he realized that it was much more common there. So he began to experiment with it. As John Singer Sargent said 'it is making the best of an emergency.' That has always rung absolutely true. The only reason he can see to use watercolor is to make use of its fluid qualities and its ability to capture the sense of light. But that thrives on spontaneity. And if that spontaneity goes wrong you just get a muddy mess. So as far as Ken is concerned it is also the most difficult medium to use. He once saw someone write that it is easy to use. But in fact it's exactly the opposite. To use it well is extremely difficult.

But well worth the effort. So Ken continues to experiment with it, though it often gets the better of him and he gives up on it for months at a time. Most of these works are 3-5 years old. Eventually he'll post some newer works.

Well eventually has arrived so he has added some of his newest watercolors immediately below. Beneath them you can see the older work. Recently he started working with a sumi brush pen and found that it seemed like a good means of creating a linear structure for more abstract watercolors.


 Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor. 12x16 inches. Red Knot, Ruddy Turnstone, Dunlin at Cook's Beach. 2015.

Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor. 12x16 inches. Adult and Young Great Crested Flycatchers. 2015

Sumi Brush Pen and Watercolor. 12x16 inches. Ruby-throated Hummingbird on Monarda. 2015

Watercolor. 7x10 inches on Arches 140 pound Rough paper. Based on photos and sketches from Cape May in May, 2010.

Watercolor. Probably 7x10 inches. Since I sold this a number of years ago I don't recall the exact dimensions. Based on photos of Bonaparte's Gull seen in Cape May, NJ or perhaps Forsythe NWR in NJ in 2011 or so.

9x12 inches. Watercolor on Arches 300# cold press paper. Based on photos and field sketches of Freeland Rd. Tract of Canaan Valley NWR in West Virginia in September, 2010.

7x10 inches. Watercolor on 140# Strathmore cold press paper. Based on field sketches and photos of Kildeer seen at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia in the spring of 2011.



9x12 inches. Watercolor on Arches 300# cold-pressed paper. Based on photos and another watercolor done many years ago from same subject of shorebirds on Nummy Island, near Stone Harbor, NJ.



9x12 inches. Watercolor on Arches 300# cold press paper. Based on field sketches and photos of a group of Piping Plover on the beaches of Stone Harbor, NJ in 2011. I tried to accentuate how well the birds blended into their environment, to the point of near invisibility.

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