Ambassador of the Week: Kevin Deck

Meet Kevin Deck, this week’s top American Watercolor Weekly Ambassador!

After Glow – Mick or Mack
This historic grocery in my hometown neighborhood interested me long before I started painting. I took dozens of photos at different times of the day and night, searching for the right feel. This night scene captures a quiet, lonely moment, after closing one night with fluorescent tubes beautifully distorting everything in their path.

From early childhood I have been interested in making things. This love of craft and design has found expression in plein-air sketching, printmaking, graphic design, digital media, furniture making, music, architecture, and most recently in watercolor painting.

The majority of my current work is transparent watercolor with a mix of pen and ink washes. My figurative work includes natural and urban landscapes, regional subjects, and work inspired by travel. My abstracts spring from compositions found in my completed works or photography.

KA-CHUNK Records
I snapped the inspiration photo for this painting walking along Maryland Ave in Annapolis, Maryland. When I got back to my studio I was captivated by the layers of rich detail, reflections, and shadows in this street scene. Can you find the KISS mask, the Dead poster, the stacks of old 45s?

I paint what interests me. The things that jump out of the ordinary, the mundane, the default, as I observe life. From a crack in the pavement, to shadows from a tree striking a storefront, to fading light on a canal in Venice. I often get lost in the intense light, the lush shadows, the reflections, shapes, and colors, that make up our world.

My work begins when I settle on a subject with a strong composition. Next comes an accurate drawing. Before paint touches paper, I plan my approach from large graded washes to finer details. I get completely absorbed in the process and lost in the moment. I critique everything. I make scores of adjustments and finally call it done. I work on one painting at a time. The joy derived from this act of painting is difficult to put into words.

I was born in Memphis in 1959 and moved to the Virginia suburbs in 1966. I studied architecture at Virginia Tech and graduated in 1982. After working five years in Tidewater, my wife and I moved to Roanoke where we raised four children. I continue to work as an architect in Roanoke for a firm specializing in senior living design.

Storied Marquee
The historic Grandin Theatre in Roanoke, Virginia is the crown jewel of the Grandin Village, a vibrant neighborhood node just two blocks from my home. And it’s front facade is the most iconic of all in the area. So with some trepidation, I mustered the courage to interpret this beloved scene. The painting portrays a late afternoon scene with golden sunlight, trees, telephone poles and street signs washing and shadowing the storied marquee and facade beyond.

These artists and educators have inspired me:

Edward Hopper, Flemish painters, Andrew Wyeth, Richard Estes, Jim Dine, Charles Reid, Joni Pienkowski, Dean Mitchell, Andy Evansen and the research and writing of Betty Edwards.

Education: 

Bachelor of Architecture, Virginia Tech1982

European Study Abroad, Virginia Tech, 1981

Licensed Architect, state of Virginia, 1986-current

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.

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