When I paint something shiny or sparkly with watercolor, my viewers seem to think something magical is going on, and they always want to know how I did it. So I like to challenge myself with still life compositions that include lots of shine. “Pop” features sixteen gumballs on a piece of aluminum foil. I liked how the gumballs reflected my lighting equipment and the colors of their neighbors, and watercolor is uniquely suited to achieve that effect. I found the foil particularly rewarding—I formed it into little nests to keep the gumballs from rolling around, but it quickly became my favorite part, providing bonus areas of pure abstraction and even more reflection and shine.
“Pop” is one of my most cheerful watercolors. I painted it during a stressful period where I found myself reaching for bright colors again and again. The pinks and reds were almost medicinal. The repetition of the round shapes comforted me, and it was soothing to be in control of these colorful little worlds during a chaotic period that was thankfully brief.
I was immensely honored earlier this year when "Pop" was selected to be the signature image of Champaign-Urbana's annual Boneyard Arts Festival and was featured on billboards, posters, and all other branding for the festival. It beat over 100 other entries for this honor!