The Watercolors of Michael Francis Reagan
My approach to watercolor is somewhat unorthodox. I build up layer upon layer of glazes, sometimes using sandpaper to scratch out layers of paint and then paint again and again over that altered surface. I rub color out and wash in new color over the surface. The trick is to keep the painting fresh and alive with the earthy tones of nature. This results in a painting that is closer in appearance to oil or acrylic than what is thought of as the traditional look of watercolor. My palette is almost exclusively Winsor and Newton tubes of Prussian blue, French ultramarine, warm gray, warm sepia, burnt sienna, green gray, cadmium yellow, occasionally opaque white, and finally the wonderful Caribbean blue from Old Holland Watercolors. All are painted on archival paper, usually Arches but sometimes Strathmore.
These paintings reflect my personal vision of place and time. They are what I know - the woods, the mountains, the rivers, lakes, oceans, and birds. I think of them as visual poetry. Moments of time stopped. A feeling stirred by a bird calling at twilight, or the scent of wood smoke on the wind, or the reflection of a passing hawk on the water, or the great stillness of the mountains I live in.