While taking children’s classes at the Nelson Art Gallery in Kansas City I was mesmerized by the architecture of the museum, the smell of turpentine in the adult class, and the beauty of the art.
Although I really didn’t study formally until college I was always drawing and painting watercolors.
As a young artist I was fascinated by Rembrandt and Vermeer, then later Monet, Vuillard and Sargent. Because we lived close to NYC I went often to the Met, MOMA and the Frick, later visiting contemporary galleries everywhere. Before I moved to Virginia I rarely painted landscapes although I drew all the time and did a lot of pen and Ink sketches. When I was in college we were encouraged to produce abstract or non-objective paintings, both of which seemed foreign to me, so I changed to printmaking and etching.
Just after college we moved to Central America where I studied drawing with Spanish sculptor, Benjamin Saul, for 3 years. From him, I learned how to put together a solo show, but mostly how to live as an artist, always exploring the world of music, literature and architecture. Another wonderful opportunity happened when I painted in Brittany with William Woodward’s summer graduate program thru GWU which included visiting museums in Paris, Venice & Florence.
It seems that I have always worked in series. For a long time I have been obsessed with painting figures in interiors. The figures are taken from life drawings of a nude model and the interiors are mostly composite fragments from elegant buildings in Rome, Nice, or elsewhere. I always carry a sketchbook and do lots of small watercolor studies which provide inspiration for larger pieces, both figures and landscapes.
Before these looser, more painterly pieces, the figures resided in simple American architecture, porches in old houses remembered from visiting my grandmother or other older relatives long ago.
Before moving to Virginia my work mostly focused on expressive colorful painting of figures in invented interiors. While living in the Shenandoah Valley and later Loudoun County, I became beguiled by the expanse of farmland, the variety of crops, from winter green crops like rye and alfalfa, later the golden and green patchwork of summer, and later the subtle autumn palette.
Moving between mediums is something I have always done. I often use watercolor to capture fleeting moments, sunsets, quickly moving light and almost always turn to watercolor to work out compositions or color for a larger painting. Often while painting an oil, I refer back to the watercolor for the treatment of values in both landscapes and portraits, as the watercolor is often more adept, though loosely rendered.
A word from Antonia on Commissions:
Actually I find commissions to be a challenge as well as an opportunity, because I am usually pushed beyond my comfort zone which can be both exciting and satisfying. Often I am exploring color, size and subject choices that are new to me, so I approach the work in such a different way that the process becomes exhilarating.
While you are creating something to please someone else, you still need to retain your integrity. That is almost positive if one is positive as well as flexible.
I do have a website: AntoniaWalker.net