Watercolorist Kris Preslan did not attend art school. In fact, during an art class in college one art instructor told her she should quit painting. And she did for 40 years. But after she tried an art class in painting at Michael’s craft store that all changed. From that first class, Kris went out into the world of art and found the information she needed to improve her art. She created her own art school by consuming books and magazines and workshops.
Today Kris is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, a signature and life member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and member of The American Watercolor Society, Watercolor West and other national and state organizations.
Her favorite subjects are landscapes and urban scenes, but more importantly, she strives to paint with strong pigments and a wide range of values. She often captures – through vibrant realism – the memories of places she has been and to which she hopes to return.
Kris says that “Challenges are fun for me. I look at a subject and the words ‘I wonder if I could paint that’ pops into my head. Some workshops I’ve taken were just to broaden my abilities, to go ‘outside the box.’ That was my way to find out where I belong. I decided I need to paint subjects that I would be proud to hang in my home. That often means recreating a memory bank of places I’ve traveled and enjoyed.
She used to think that watercolors were all “wishy-washy mid-tones.” Through her eyes now, “colors are usually bold and definite.” “
I love taking a photo or photos that make me smile and then painting from them the way I remember the place … the people I’ve encountered, the culture, the sounds, etc., and to see if I can combine all of it on a piece of watercolor paper.
In her “passion statement” she says, “My veins have pigments in them instead of blood, so let me tell you what I see in a typical day.
“I see clouds that are darker along the bottoms. I see trees that are at least four shades of mixed greens in the summer and browns and lavenders in the winter — with holes in them for birds to fly through. “I see blades of grasses that point all different angles and sometimes umber tufts of moss.
“I see people seven or eight “heads” tall with their tiny hands hidden inside their jackets. These are not people I know … they don’t go into albums but become photo references for “someday.”
“When I travel, my Canon camera lives on my shoulder ready to go to work for those shots which will be translated from my brain to my hand so the viewer of my finished product will see what I had to express and why.
“The hardest part of learning to paint is to summon the courage to try when you’re not sure of yourself and your abilities. This is where workshops teach us that we have to start at the beginning, there are no shortcuts for anyone, that criticism makes us stronger and better, and that with patience, perseverance and passion we can achieve our goals. After all, it’s just shapes, right?”
Signature member, American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society signature and life member, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, signature member, Watercolor Art Society-Houston, Signature member, Watercolor West, Signature Member, Northwest Watercolor Society signature member. Published in SPLASH 12, 14. 15, 16, 17, and Splash Retrospective. Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Art, and art publications.