Nancy Sullo

Nancy Sullo

Nancy Sullo has been painting in watercolor for more than 20 years. She has been in numerous juried shows, received several awards, and is a signature member of the Colorado Watercolor Society. Nancy teaches a variety of beginner through advanced watercolor classes.

"Although I paint many different subjects in watercolor, I keep coming back to people. It is the human connection that draws me in. I am interested in expressions, moods, and emotions. I try to capture a moment in time where the subject speaks to me and hopefully to my viewers.

"I work from spontaneous photos, many of which I took decades ago before I started painting. I often work from black and white photos, which can convey mood even more powerfully. In addition to finding an emotional connection in the photos I choose, I look for strong lighting and interesting composition.

"I start with a careful drawing. Then I am able to let go and paint loosely in the early stages, knowing I won’t lose the likeness. I like to create a sense of energy about the subject. I often do this by starting out with completely abstract strokes and shapes that create movement in the painting and integrate the subject and background.

I use abstract backgrounds to keep the emphasis on the subject. These are either totally abstract or merely suggest the locale. I start working on the background early. For a dark background I use fairly heavy paint, combining colors on the paper while the paint is still wet. I go into dark areas of the subject at the same time, creating some lost edges.

"My next step is to work on light and shadow. For watercolor, this means painting the shadow shapes. Sometimes it is necessary to lift a little paint where the earlier shapes have impinged on a brightly lit area. At this point I am still mostly not thinking of the actual subject.

"Now I start painting more carefully, pulling the subject out of what sometimes started as chaos. I continue to paint subject and background together, little by little developing the painting until it is finished. "