Spring 2022 Featured Artist Paulette McDermott

Paulette McDermott in her studio
Magnolia, copyright Paulette McDermott

As a Chicago high school student, my art studies introduced me to one of the great impressionist collections in the world at the Art Institute.  Those works transported me to a world full of life and color. I couldn’t get enough of it.  It still does something for my soul to wander those rooms.  That led to Saturday classes at the School of the Art Institute where I learned the basics.   I ended my formal art training in my second year of college, but never stopped sketching and painting.  After several years of teaching high school English I went on to earn a Masters Degree in Computer Science and began my career at AT&T.

When I retired I searched about for something that would engage and awaken my creative spirit.  I enrolled in the botanical illustration program at the Morton Arboretum and completed the certificate program.  I had found my passion.  The Nature Artist’s Guild gave that passion a home.  All of the members are so talented, encouraging and hard working, and the Guild so generously provides the opportunity to continue learning and exhibiting. I am honored and privileged to be a member and to be this year’s Spring Exhibit featured artist.

Working primarily in watercolor and acrylic I have explored many other media such as pen and ink, graphite and colored pencil.  I want to celebrate nature in all her imperfections.  If I paint a perfect leaf I will often add a spot or a cut in the leaf where an insect may have enjoyed a lunch.  Color is what drives me. The transparency, the layers, and the reflections bring me full circle to the impressionists and J.M.W. Turner who have been great influences.  I also studied with Sarah Simblet at Oxford who gave me a whole new perspective on what can be done with pen and ink.  

A favorite quote that fully expresses what it means to me to be a nature artist:

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment”. – Georgia O’Keefe

Iris, copyright Paulette McDermott
Pink Magnolia, copyright Paulette McDermott
Swan, copyright Paulette McDermott
Aloe, copyright Paulette McDermott
Pepper Tree, copyright Paulette McDermott
Cone, copyright Paulette McDermott

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