Artist Update: Ann Pember - Creative Catalyst Productions

Artist Update: Ann Pember

August 24, 2015 5 min read 1 Comment

In 2003 we filmed two watercolor instruction videos with Ann Pember in our Creative Catalyst studio:  Vibrant Orchid  and Painting in the Flow of Watercolor On High Plate Illustration Board.  We wondered where Ann's artist path had taken her since that time and now we know...  Thanks for getting back in touch with us.

Filming videos at Creative Catalyst was a wonderful experience. Not only did I enjoy and grow from the process, but I had a great time getting to know Lynn and Jim and their pets. The videos helped get my work out in public and along with my hardcover book, increased my name recognition. Both videos have been well received and are examples of the 2 different ways I prefer to paint. I love to mingle rich color in controlled sectional washes on cold pressed watercolor paper that allows lifting, with my board slanted to make the paint move. This results in lovely, glowing wet-in-wet paintings. The other technique has become my favorite; painting on smooth surfaces, such as plate illustration board, Yupo and similar surfaces. The results on these can resemble oil paint. One can achieve beautiful rich washes and deep glowing darks since the paint sits on the surface. It is great fun to paint this way and I prefer this technique for painting demonstrations. The filming and editing were artistically and expertly done and the results are what I believe are the best videos available. They really show what the artist is doing and are a great learning tool; as good as taking a live workshop.

Adirondack Memory by Ann Pember  Adirondack Memory by Ann Pember 

Since filming at Creative Catalyst I've been busy painting, writing and teaching. I've had paintings selected for  more than 230 national juried exhibitions, including those of the American Watercolor Society, Rocky Mountain National and Watercolor USA. They have won more than 60 awards, including Best of Show Gold Award at the Montana Watercolor Society National last fall. They've been featured in more than 40 books and publications, including 6 of the popular Splash books by North Light Books. Entering juried exhibitions has given me goals to work toward and by entering many I've learned to take rejection  as well as acceptances. Sometimes receiving many rejections has spurred me on to grow and create better work. I currently have a major 3 month exhibition, along with my long time friend, Mina Angelos, AWS, at the Museum Gallery of Plattsburgh State University. It is a retrospective spanning 23 years of painting.

 Dancing Water by Ann Pember  Dancing Water by Ann Pember

I have self published three digital books in PDF format; available on CD, or as a download, "Make Flower Paintings Glow In Watercolor" in 2015, The Magic of Painting On Smooth Surfacesin 2014 and “Make Dynamic Paintings In Watercolor” in 2008.  My hardcover book, “Painting Close-Focus Flowers in Watercolor”, was released by North Light Books in 2000 and is almost sold out. Producing these art products has required learning to use a computer to create and market them. It has been challenging and I'm thankful for a tech savvy webmaster who keeps my website prominent in Internet searches. Recently I was notified of impending changes to the copyright law and it would allow free digitized use of art without paying the artist. This is a huge blow to all artists and I am hoping the bill will be defeated. Please contact the copyright office with your concerns. I just found a YouTube free download of my hardcover book, Painting Close-Focus Flowers In Watercolor, on YouTube and was able to have that removed as copyright infringement. We, as artists are being forced to wear many hats in getting our art to the public and making a living doing so.

Ferry Crew  B by Ann Pember   Ferry Crew  B by Ann Pember 

I've been invited to teach numerous workshops and act as juror of many national exhibitions and online shows, taking me around the country and even to Hawaii. Recently I've been traveling less and painting at home more. My work is growing slightly more abstract with using a closer point of view. The light pattern on my subject has become most important as well as directly painted passages of luminous color and a combination of hard and soft edges. I paint landscapes, flowers and, people. In workshops I emphasize using good materials that support what you intend to create, a good use of values and washes of  beautiful color painted directly. Many students have only painted by glazing in layers and they are painting timidly, often not going dark enough for a good value range. They are afraid to use enough paint and are not adept at mixing colors. Their paintings are often too hard edged and over worked, or weak in color. They find it helpful to paint with a limited palette of primaries. That forces them to learn how to mix other colors. Painting directly means that you add enough paint for a dark before the wash dries, with the goal of not needing to glaze another layer to achieve that. Think of Charles Reid's work. Painting on the smooth surfaces facilitates this method and most students enjoy trying that. I always have my videos available for sale in classes, but paint actual demonstrations for students. I urge beginners to start with just a few brushes, good paper and the primary colors and then work often and regularly. Practice is the best teacher. We don't always know when to quit.  If you don't know what to do next; do nothing. Leave the painting where you can see it daily and turn it upside down or sideways at times to see it differently. When something leaps out at you in need of change in; shape, value, or color then act.

 Irresistible Iris by Ann Pember  Irresistible Iris by Ann Pember

I have always had an urge to draw and paint since being just old enough to hold a pencil. I've nurtured that over a lifetime and never  lose that "need" to paint. Like playing an instrument, it takes one into an alpha state and becomes a form of meditation. That for me, makes it difficult to speak about what I'm doing during a painting demonstration. It can be done, of course, but is not natural. That said, I am writing another digital book about artistic inspiration. In it I suggest that students get quiet and centered before painting. Paint in a quiet or soothing environment and eliminate distractions. Do all the left brain work ahead of time. Choose a subject you love, compose it well and get the lighting and drawing right. Meditate on what you imagine it will look like when completed and how it will feel. Then paint that. I hope to paint as long as I am able and expect and hope my work will continue to grow and change.

Story Time 003 by Ann Pember  Story Time 003 by Ann Pember


Water Edge Studio |  14 Water Edge Rd.  |  Keeseville, NY 1294

 (518) 834-7440

1 Response

Pat Waughtal
Pat Waughtal

October 30, 2016

I am a landscape painter and paint in watercolor and acrylic. I travel the National Parks enjoying the scenery and taking pictures. Your methods are perfect for the paintings that I am conceiving in my mind. I am ordering your DVD, Painting in the Flow and can’t wait to try your techniques on Yupo and illustration board. I have never used a CD book, but may give it a try. Thanks for sharing your talent.

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