Bill Baffa Watercolors


Artists Magazine - Cover NEW

Artists Magazine is one of the world’s leading magazine for artists. I was reading an edition of the magazine and noticed that they had a juried annual international show for "60 and over artists." Since my painting “ Bits & Bridles” was selected to be in the 147th American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibition 2014, I said why not try and get some magazine exposure with this painting. And so I entered it into this competition. And that's how I was selected as one of nine to be in the 2015 March issue of the magazine.

With the success of this painting, I decided to make a series of equestrian related paintings. My second painting in this series, just recently finished, is called “Lets Go Riding” and it appears on the Watercolors page of this site, as well as in a post on this page. I will be entering it in various gallery exhibitions and competitions soon.

Shown below is the full page article in The Artist’s Magazine that talks about my painting “Bits & Bridles” including a brief summary of my career.

Artists Magazine - Article

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I always work from photo references for my watercolors. Of course the photo is just a beginning. After manipulating the image in numerous pencil sketches, I finalize the layout to create a strong composition. It’s at this point that I render the final pencil sketch on Arches 300 pound cold pressed watercolor paper and begin to add color.

Then I want to lay in my background washes first. The easiest way to paint in the background is to mask all the parts of the painting other than the background. That is what you see here. All the shapes that need to be masked out are completed.

You mask in two ways:

(1) Using “Art Masking Fluid” (it’s the light yellow/creme color shown here) I mask the smaller shapes of the non background area and all along the edges of the larger remaining shapes of the non background. In this painting, that would be all the leather straps and metal.

(2) Using house painters blue masking tape, I block out the large areas that were not masked out with the masking fluid, taping directly on top of the masking fluid sections. After all the masking is completed, I’m now ready to paint in the background and work on some details as well.



I remove all the interior blue masking tape (except for the outer edge tape) and use a rubber cement eraser to pull up the rest of the dry masking fluid. Notice how sharp the edges are. Now I'm ready to start painting the rest of the painting.



Now I start to paint in the various leather bridles and straps leaving the metal for last. I start to think 3 dimension, texture and shadows.



I keep aging the leather, start working on the metal and start toning down brighter colors and adding layers of blue tint overall to unify the overall tone of the painting. I blend some edges into the background and the final step is adding all the final fibers to the horse blanket background. Shown here is the completed painting: “Saddle Up.”

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The American Watercolor Society is one of the oldest art organizations in the country and had it’s beginning in 1866 to promote the art of watercolor painting in America. Each year the society holds a juried international exhibition of the best contemporary watercolor artists throughout the world. AWS welcomes more than 3,000 visitors to it’s Annual Exhibition each year and is noted for its outstanding quality and professionalism.

The month of April is a magical month for me as I have been attending the AWS exhibition every year since 1958.The event showcases paintings by many of the foremost watercolor artists in the world.
AWS Show April 2014 - Small

I started painting in ernest 4 years ago, after retiring from a full time career as an advertising art director in New York City. And I began entering this pristidgous art exhibition the last 2 years and was pleased when I was selected to be in The Annual American Watercolor Society’s International Exhibition for 2014.

One of the highlights of my being in the exhibition was to attend the Opening Reception shown here and meeting many of the artists and seeing my painting up there with all the other 147 selected paintings. A proud moment to be sure. 

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In the "Calendar" section of the Sunday New York Times, where art gallery shows are reviewed, my painting "Harbor Reflections" was featured. The painting won “Best in Show" at the 8th Annual Juried Landscape Exhibition called “Landscape Impressions” jurored by Howard Rose at the Main Street Petite Gallery of the Huntington Arts Council in Long Island, New York.


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