Alex Tolstoy presents a collection of delicate, light-filled watercolor paintings that engage the viewer’s imagination. Find more of her portfolio on her art website.
Watercolor—what a quirky medium—the paint has a mind of its own. My style of painting is loose, vague and rather undefined where the viewer supplies most of the picture. Things are often left to your imagination.
My painting wanderings began as a child (don’t we all start out as artists?) but were put aside when school and studies got to be too time consuming. I studied to become a mathematician and worked in Underwater Acoustics for over 30 years and as an applied mathematician for over 40 years.
People often think that science and art do not mix, but that is a fallacy. Many scientists I know play musical instruments, sculpt, work in glass and generally do artistic things. Art and science can engage all parts of the brain. Research science involves imagination to find parts of a puzzle that people have not seen before—like art.
For me, however, that yearning to create art never really went away. I promised myself that when I turned 60 I would start painting again. For my birthday that year my husband Ron Colbroth, who is a professional photographer, gave me a complete painting set which included oils (which I used as a child), acrylics and watercolors. What I found is that oils were just not as easy as I remembered, acrylics were hard to clean up and watercolors were impossible. But then I took some watercolor painting classes and at one point, something clicked. I then became obsessed with the medium. What a wonderful addiction!
Painting can be ever so relaxing. The business side of art as a career is time-consuming, but no more so than any other field (I ended my career in science running my own business for over a decade). For people who want to transition over to the professional side I say, “Do it!”
It can be wonderful to meet other artists and share a laugh, but you do need to develop a thick skin for rejection by jurors. You just have to realize that everyone has their own taste and things are rarely personal.
Some people will love what you do, some will hate it. Just please yourself and try to learn and evolve as you can. There is always room for improvement, and change can be good.
Today I now paint professionally, full time, and describe myself as a watercolorist. Lately I have been incorporating crackle paste into my paintings—so satisfying and such fun. I just can’t get enough. And as for limiting subjects—no restrictions! Animals, plants, birds, still life, scenery, food and more—all are fair game.
This selection of paintings has a theme—the senses. These include smell, taste, touch, hearing, sight and a sense of well-being. My painting can be affected by them all, and vice versa. While all my work is watercolor (plus some crackle paste) the subjects are unlimited. And these shown here are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
Anyway. Here is an homage to blurry images, cracks and wrinkles; and to variety.
Artist Alex Tolstoy invites you to follow her on Instagram.