Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Licita Fernandez, Painter

I am adding the website of the artist Licita Fernandez to the Friends' Websites on my blog -- Find her work at
Her words:

Licita Fernández
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Licita FernandezMediums:  As a professional artist (one who sells her/his art) I started out primarily with watercolors for about 30 or so years.  I’ve also worked in oils, acrylics, collage, Prismacolor pencil, monotypes and charcoal.  As a watercolor artist, I focused on botanical subject matter, especially cacti and other succulents.  I found in the forms of the plants not only beauty, but humor, rhythm, and sometimes foreboding.  Especially with the cactus paintings, I relish the juxtaposition of thorny and sometimes unattractive shapes that produce exquisite flowers. 
Many of these paintings are realistic, but my favorites are when I used only my imagination in creating a composition.  But the cost of framing and (at the time) the concept that watercolor was just drawing, lesser than a painting in acrylic or oil, turned me to acrylic on canvas.  That’s been my favorite medium for the last several years.  I’ve also made some forays into mosaic, but need a bigger space where I can make a mess.
(Above) My favorite from a series I call "Ain't Misbehavin'...", named after the 1929 Jazz classic by Thomas "Fats" Waller.  This series features objects on shelves; the lyrics to the song go something like this, "Ain't misbehavin', just sittin' on the shelf, savin' all my love for you.

Style:  I would put my watercolors under two categories: Botanical Realism and Whimsical Fantasies.  My acrylics on canvas are very colorful and whimsical in nature; realism is not my primary goal.  So I call my acrylics on canvas Whimsical Fantasies, although a few have realistic objects in them.
Favorite Quotes: “You have nothing to fear but fear itself,” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
“Yesterday was the past, tomorrow is the future, and today is a gift.  That’s why we call it the present,” Eleanor Roosevelt; also by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  
Favorite Books:  I’m a voracious reader, so this is a tough one for me to answer.  I finally gave away most of my books and now get them from the library.  Books that I bought and I’ve kept to reread are Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold, The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber, Their Eyes Are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Passion Dream Book by Whitney Otto, and Volume 1 (1935-1936) and Volume 2 (1936-1937) of The Komplete Kolor “Krazy Kat” George Herriman edited by Rick Marschall.  I wish I had ALL the volumes.  I’ve read hundreds of library books since I stopped buying books and have too many favorites to mention here.
Favorite Movies:  I love Fellini films and any movie that has Sofia Loren in it.  I especially love her movies Love Italian Style and Divorce Italian Style.  Other all-time favorites are Marx Brothers’ movies, Mae West’s Diamond Lil, and all of Mel Brooks’ films.   For its fantastic stage sets, the 1910 German noir film, “The Somnambulist” has had an impact on my art.  And I can’t forget Betty Boop cartoons, especially Minnie the Moocher.  I guess I’m dating myself here, but I am 67!  Krazy Kat comic strips and Max Fleischer’s Betty Boop have really had an impact on my art.

I’ve been creating art since I can remember.  I’ve always considered myself an artist, and that I would grow up to be a professional artist.  I absorbed the stark, arid landscapes of El Paso, Texas, where I was born and resided briefly before I moved with my family to San Diego.  In San Diego, where the desert meets the beach, I continued my love affair with the desert as can be seen in my earlier art.  I moved to the San Francisco East Bay to finish my education at the University of California at Berkeley. Initially drawing my inspiration from botanical subject matter, especially cactus and other succulents, I found watercolor to be the medium that best enabled me to express myself.  Cacti captured my imagination because of the contrasts of the thorny and oftentimes bizarre forms with the stunning, vulnerable flowers that cacti produce.  I found in nature harmony, rhythm, beauty and contrasts.  I also discovered I could express happiness, joy, panic, fear, power, foreboding—various emotions, moods and states of being through my depiction of botanical landscapes.  
During this realistic period, I depended on my photographs for my subject matter, but I periodically took a vacation from the intense concentration required of realism to paint from my imagination.  These paintings are whimsical, humorous, and fanciful.  Some are abstract.  Also during this period, I created Prismacolor pencil drawings, graphite and ink drawings, often using the same imagery (botanical) but many times diverging into other imagery.  After working in watercolor for decades, I tried my hand at acrylics.  Although having also worked on printmaking (monoprints) and in gouache, acrylics have become my favorite means of conveying my artistic vision.