Contemporary Watercolorist Kirk Lybecker’s photo-like watercolor renderings span from ordinary, even mundane, scenes to spectacular flower blooms. The spectacular realism causes the viewer to check the label; is it a photo or a painting? In addition to traditional brush and wash watercolor techniques, Lybecker utilizes an airbrush, permitting seamless application of tinctures and dustings, giving his work photo-realism while taking the original scene farther with his pure and convincing illusion.
I don’t think of myself as a photorealist, I tend to think of myself as using photography for it’s ability to remember detail. As much as there is new media, photography is still the lingua franca of the visual world. The point of the work is to make a painting that uses photography for its benefit and paint for it’s benefit.
I do like a painting that is vague. I want something that I would wonder about long after the paint is dry. What was I thinking?
I am a big fan of drawing. Photography does a lot to order objects but it does not do a great job of either changing them or giving context. The only way to rearrange the structure of a work is through drawing. I also think that if I did not have to I would never have put down a pencil to pick up a brush.
There seems so little about what I do that I can say. I think of myself as an intuitive painter. There are situational things that just appeal to me. I do have a taste for things in transition though it is rarely in the upward direction. I do not think of my work as a metaphor for the decline but rather the change to things unforeseen. Thinking of it more as the disappointment of the new.
Speaking of the unforeseen, most of what I do comes as a surprise. It does not seem odd that the pursuit of technical mastery gives no clue to the eventual weight of emotional content. So I find myself working on the things that I can control and which I like to do. Painting as a puzzle with no clearly defined rules no consistent method of solution (possibly no method of solution at all) and certainly no clear end.
Kirk Lybecker is a nationally recognized watercolorist who has been featured on Oregon Public Televsion’s Oregon Art Beat. His paintings are in numerous prestigious collections including Yale University & University of Oregon
View the Oregon Artist’s work currently showing at Northwest by Northwest Gallery using the slideshow above.
For information on Kirk’s work, please call us at 1-800-494-0741, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pacific Time, Or click to contact us.