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Jerry Van, Music Man © Judy Lavoie

Jerry Van, Music Man

Original Watercolor on Paper by Judy Lavoie

IMAGE SIZE: 30" x 22"


This painting was juried into and an award winner in the Tennessee Watercolor Society's 2012 Exhibition*, winning the "Region 1" prize! Scroll down for more details.

"This watercolor painting, of local musician and friend Jerry Van Asdale, is one I painted in my brain long before it landed on paper! I took reference photos nearly 2 years ago, when Rick and I happened upon Jerry and his friend Mike, playing music on a sunny afternoon in front of his wife Dona's pottery studio and shop, The Castle. Once I viewed my photos, I was inspired to capture what I saw in a painting - visually, capturing Jerry's fuzzy beard against a dark background, and, emotionally, depicting the character of a very special person, so much admired for his kind and gentle nature, compassion, extensive musical talents, and dry humor. I apologized to Mike for eliminating him from my scene (artistic license)!

From a technical point of view, this "character study" was somewhat like my painting "When She Was Three". I have learned, even in my paintings of animals with light fur, that hair is not one solid color. Light hair is full of pastel hues which play against the very whitest strands to make it look realistic in a painting. But this time I was throwing one other twist into my challenge to paint Jerry: painting in watercolor vs. acrylics. In the painting of the little girl, I used acrylics, so I could paint on the fine platinum strands of her hair with a fine brush and white paint. In traditional watercolor, no white paint is used; the whites are unpainted areas of the watercolor paper. For a painting such as the one I was embarking upon, being representational, this meant I'd have to pre-plan where my "whites" would be. Since the painting was already done in my head, this wasn't a problem.

To contrast with my main subject, Jerry, I balanced the painting with a relatively solid background of rich dark tones. A fun watercolor "trick" I used is in the dark blue area of the top right. Here I lightly sprinkled salt (using Kosher salt because it's big chunks) on the painted area before it had completely dried. The crystals absorb the pigment from around them as the paint dries, creating an unpredictable starry effect. I did this to create some texture and interest in that corner, without being too distracting.

As with my earlier watercolor, "Jesus Saves," I decided to use a limited palette to do this painting - just blue, red, and yellow. I choose 3 different primary hues than with that previous painting - American Journey brand (from Cheap Joes Art Stuff) Joe's Blue, Rambling Rose, and Sour Lemon. I found it a bit more difficult to mix reds, rich dark colors and shades of grey with these particular three colors compared with those used in the previous painting. Always good to stretch yourself as an artist, huh? If you really study Jerry's painted beard, you will see lots of purple, rose, blue, and other colors among the flesh tones."

* This painting was also selected as one of 30 for the 2012 TnWS Traveling Show, which brings award winning paintings and others selected by the juror to four additional gallery and museum locations around the state for the rest of the exhibition year.

Seventy paintings from several hundred digital entries were selected for the 2012 Tennessee Watercolor Society show by internationally renowned artist Gerald F. Brommer. Over $14,000 in cash and merchandise was awarded for the winning artists. Two paintings by Judy Lavoie were accepted to the show (this one and "Jesus Saves"), and both received awards!

These exhibitions feature exceptional original artwork, from extraordinarily talented artists, working in both representational and abstract styles. The Society's website, features the paintings from past Exhibitions.

[NOTE: Judy's painting In The Spotlight was accepted and a top prize winner in the 2016 Exhibition. Elles Tobacco Planter was selected for the 2014 Exhibition (also chosen for the Traveling Show). Prior to 2014, any artist could have up to two paintings accepted; In addition to Jerry Van Music Man, Judy had a second painting in the 2012 Exhibition, "Jesus Saves," also an award winner. In the 2010 Exhibition her painting "Decadence" was an award winner, and "Nature Paints a Picture" was also accepted. Her painting "Out to Pasture" was juried into the 2008 Exhibition, the first one she entered. Judy has earned the status of a Signature Member of the Tennessee Watercolor Society.]

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