There’s something to be said about being obsessed. The strong focus and concentration required to acquire and finesse a skill demand time, practice, thought, and . . . obsession.
For Walla Walla watercolor artist Roy Anderson, obsession is part of the road to expertise — and because his interests are varied and diverse, he has a variety of things to obsess about.
“I am a guitar-playing, fly-fishing, watercolor artist who likes to do still life, portrait, wildlife, and landscape paintings,” Anderson explains. Married to Joyce, a colleague watercolorist who teaches regular painting workshops at Walla Walla Parks and Recreation, Anderson collaborates with his wife to provide exhibitions of art for galleries, restaurants, wineries, and art centers throughout the region.
Art Is His Obsession
A full time painter, Anderson launched his second career in 1995, the day he retired from civil engineering, or as he puts it,
“I am retired. Art is my obsession. Art is my day job.”
Training himself through an extensive array of workshops, Anderson began publicly exhibiting four years later and has shown his work at the Bonneville Power and Army Corps of Engineers, WSU Tri-Cities, Port of Walla Walla, Whitman College, Walla Walla Community College, and area furniture stores, restaurants, private businesses and professional offices.
For the last 20 years, Roy and Joyce have shared a studio at the Walla Walla Airport in one of the former military complex buildings: “Artport Gallery” announces the sign to the right of the door, upon which Roy has painted an image of the airport control tower standing behind the studio.
“It’s a great getaway,” Roy says of their work space, pointing out that it has light and heat. That it has no water or bathroom is no big deal considering that the windows face north with an open view of the tower and flightline, the studio is spacious, there is no telephone, and it’s an easy two-mile bike ride from the couple’s house.
Obsessed by Subject Matter
In this retreat of artistry, Anderson delves into and completely explores a particular subject matter, painting it from one perspective and another until he feels it is time to move on.
“I work within a theme,” Anderson explains. “I determine the theme based upon future exhibition or current obsessions.
“When I coached soccer, I painted portraits of every player.
“When I started teaching ukulele, I painted portraits of every student.
“When I caught a fish, I painted its portrait one inch bigger and brighter than it was.”
Anderson’s most recent obsession, and the theme of his month-long Art Event and upcoming special show at Wenaha Gallery, revolves around musical instruments, specifically those in his personal collection that he has used in his frequent, free, and public performances, which include providing regular music at the Walla Walla Senior Center.
Obsessed by Music and Musical Instruments
“I wanted to eulogize my personal collection of instruments,” Anderson says. “The ‘Dove’ guitar has been with me 60 years. I am committed to the guitar as much as I am to painting — my music composes my art, and the two are one in this exhibition.”
Anderson will perform musically during a special show at Wenaha Gallery Saturday, March 3, from 1 to 4 p.m., in between two historical lectures to be given by artist and writer Nona Hengen of Spangle. The music adds dimension to the art he is exhibiting, Anderson says, and he will be playing on the very instruments that he so carefully painted.
“Adding sound is very important to viewing each painting — just as it was in producing it.”.
In describing the style of his painting, Anderson says, “Think of stained glass on white paper,” as glazes of transparent watercolors are layered, one over another, on watercolor paper substrate.
“The technical aspect is the most challenging — how to mix and apply the pigment onto watercolor paper. With proper training, watercolor painting is easy.
“The final product is more brilliant than any other painting medium.”
Watercolor: The Perfect Medium
It is, he feels, the perfect medium, and considering that he has created a LOT of paintings in this medium — from fish to ukuleles, from animals to people, from mountains and meadows to a series of domestic rabbits — he is in a place to state his position with conviction and assurance. Maybe even a little . . . positive, confident, enthusiastic obsession.
“Every piece of art is a statement. The subject is always larger and brighter than reality.
“I want the viewer to see and feel. When a painting brings forth a memory or an emotion, it is a success.”
Roy Anderson is the featured Art Event artist at Wenaha Gallery from Monday, February 12, 2018, through Saturday, Saturday, March 10, 2018. He will be at the the gallery Saturday, March 3, showing his work and playing live music from 1 to 4 p.m. Joining him that day will be artist, writer, and historian Nona Hengen of Spangle, WA, and glass artist Gregory Jones of Pasco.
Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.