My name is Bev Jozwiak and I’m from Vancouver, Washington. 2020 has been a time for reflection. Stay at home orders due to Covid-19 has given this artist some time to just think and paint. I graduated with a Fine Arts degree and an Art History Minor in 1976. I come from a family of artists, but I am the first one to be formally trained.
My Dad did wildlife pastels, his sisters did oil still lifes, my grandmother drew, and there was even a painting of the house she was born in painted by her mother, so I come from a long line of artists. I cannot remember a time, when art has not been a big part of my life. As a child (this ages me), one of our neighbors was a key punch operator, when that was a thing working with computers. He used to bring home the extra cards, and would give me boxes of them. I would make paper dolls and clothes for them, and give them to my friends. I just don’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating.
The road to “making it” as an artist is not an overnight endeavor. After graduation, I didn’t know how to make money with my art, so I got a “real job”. I worked at said job for 18 years, doing some art on the side. When I turned 35 I had my one and only mid-life crisis. I had always wanted to be an artist, and if I didn’t do it soon, it would never happen. I happened upon a book called Becoming A Successful Artist by Lewis Lehrman. It was an interview with 20 or so artists, all separately, asking them questions about how they “made it”. The one thing that stuck out to me, that everyone in their own way said; was that it is tenacity over talent every time.
It was a lightbulb moment. I got busy. In college, I was pretty good at everything from stained glass to printmaking, a jack of all trades, and a master of none. So the first thing I did was decide what one art form, I could hone in on. I decided for me that would be watercolor. I had done it some, but started trying to paint daily. I was finding it hard to be Mom, work, and paint enough. My husband could see me struggling, and told me to quit my job and go for it. I did!
My supplies come from Cheap Joes Art Stuff. I use use colors from many different brands including Winsor & Newton, Daniel Smith, American Journey, and Holbein. For brushes, I like Cheap Joes Golden Fleece #10 round (my favorite inexpensive brush that I abuse horribly, and throw out often), 1” Flat (I rarely use), and a small detail brush (#4 golden fleece, or just something small with a good point).
I also use the Cheap Joe’s Legend or Dream Catcher brushes when I need a brush that holds more water. #8 is my favorite. Have been using the Da Vinci Maestro #12 too, for that purpose. (my favorite mop brush, but it is expensive) My favorite paper is Stonehenge Aqua hot press by Legion. I guess if I narrow down what I paint, I would have to say it is things with eyes, tends to be people, animals, and birds.
With my skills getting a little better, I started entering local shows, and got into a small little gallery in my hometown. After starting to win a few awards, I decided to start entering competitions on a bigger scale. Since I live in Washington State, I decided I would try to earn my signature status in the Northwest Watercolor Society (NWWS).
You have to get into three of their International shows to achieve that status, entering only once a year; it was not going to be overnight. I started applying to bigger galleries, and also sending packets (back then things were done snail mail) to greeting card companies, calendar companies, etc. too.
I was finding some success, but jokingly said I had enough rejection letters to wallpaper my bathroom. You can’t have a fragile ego, and survive this business. Art is subjective, and what is one person’s cup of tea isn’t another’s. Along with those rejections, I managed to get some jobs doing some freelancing for card companies, and calendar companies. I even had a calendar one year with Hallmark.
Every time I would reach a goal, I set a new one. I got my NWWS signature, so I started applying to more. It took me many years, but I now have all the ones that I had my sites on, including Watercolor West (WW) Transparent Watercolor Society of American (TWSA), The National Watercolor Society (NWS) and The American Watercolor Society (AWS), and many more. It has been fraught with disappointments, and times of discouragement, but just enough “yeses” to keep me at it.
Getting my signatures, getting magazine articles written about me, being in the news, all of these things started getting my name out there. With that, artists wanted to learn what I knew, so I started teaching workshops.
I feel I have come full circle, from not having time to paint, because I needed a job, to not having enough time to paint, because I spend too much time traveling to teach, writing articles, entering competitions (and being the Juror too), and answering emails. Oh, and writing a book and creating a workshop DVD called “Painting Life with Life”. Available through www.chrisunwin.net. This year has brought me back to the thing I love the most, just being in my studio and being able to create.Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in