Mars 2016 Artiste du mois | Florence M. Cichocki

Congratulations to our March Artist of the Month, watercolor artist Florence M. Cichocki! Florence was a finalist in The Artist’s Magazine‘s Annual Art Competition! Her piece Coke Machine is below. Read more about the artist and the great impact her own father’s art continues to have on her life and career.

Northampton, MA ~

Coke Machine by watercolor artist Florence Cichocki

Coke Machine (watercolor, 12×18) by Florence M. Cichocki

I was born and raised in Maryland where I spent most of my adult life. In 2012 my husband and I moved to Northampton, Massachusetts to be near family. Early in my life I dreamed of being an artist and I can’t remember a time in my life that I wanted to be anything else. My father’s talent for drawing and carving had a great influence on me. When I was a child I remember spending long hours at my father’s side watching him draw and carve.

As a young women, I sought professional training and entered the commercial art field as an illustrator. While this was fulfilling, my desire to pursue fine art was so strong, that it took precedent over my commercial art and I chose to focus full time on pursuing a study in the fine art field. I had always loved watercolor; I find it so exciting, but I soon found it to be so challenging as well! That’s where my journey started. I would go to art shows and galleries to find watercolor artists who painted a style I admired, and I would approach them about taking lessons or giving me private lessons. I would travel near and far to study with accomplished artist. What followed was a intense preoccupation with and self study of the medium. I spent a number of years mastering an extremely realistic painting style. Watercolor is not always forgiving! It’s a very challenging medium and I find it to be an adventure in art every time I put brush to paper. I love realism in my art. As I look around my world, I see detail. Whether it is a broken piece of glass or light traveling through a marble, or the ribs on a twisted blade of thick grass, I see detail!

After many years of painting in watercolor I have accomplished a technique through repeated transparent thin glazes. I have learned to build up depth of color without applying excess pigment on the paper, thus keeping a translucent quality, which makes watercolor so appealing.

I never think about how much time it takes to do a painting. I love what I do, and I never consider time to be a factor in creating a work of art. I spend a good bit of time thinking about what I want to paint and when I come to a decision, I do numerous drawings on velum paper til what I see in my head is down on paper. I then make a final drawing on velum and transfer it to my watercolor paper. I never draw directly on the watercolor paper, all corrections in the drawing and composition are made on velum. I then transfer my drawing to my watercolor paper, and the adventure begins!

One summer while traveling through the New Jersey shore I drove past a dilapidated shack that had old doors stacked against it. While that caught my attention, what really turned my head was hidden behind the old doors. It was a very nostalgic Coke machine. I took some pictures as references for the painting that I had envisioned in my head. When I can, I try to work from physical objects, but because that is not always possible to paint from life, I take photos and use them to help me be accurate in my drawings.

I would say to anyone aspiring to be an artist to follow your dreams and seek out artists who would help you broaden your skills. Paint, make mistakes and learn. There is no limit to what can be achieved if you are willing to work hard and practice, practice, practice!

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