Watercolor Paintings by Tatiana L. Phelan
Growing up in Colombia, in a city that thrives at high altitudes (Bogotá sits at 8,660 feet above sea level) amidst the Andes Mountain Range, I cultivated a deep appreciation for the significance that mountains represent for humanity. They offer not only endless natural resources but also serve as symbols of spirituality.
Given that much of the country lies within the Andes, my parents and I frequently embarked on journeys through the Cordillera Central, the highest range of the Colombian Andes. In less than an hour's drive, the shifting altitudes reveal entirely distinct climates, cultures, and regions, adorned with breathtaking waterfalls and canyons.
My collection of watercolor paintings pays homage to my upbringing in a land steeped in these enchanting landscapes, as well as to the Pacific Northwest, where I have been embraced and where I embraced a nurturing environment for my family. Both locales boast magnificent mountains nestled within the grandest ranges of the western world—these places signify not only my home but also the legacy I aspire to pass on to my children.
My artistic compositions endeavor to recreate "magical atmospheres," inviting contemplation, mindfulness, and a celebration of life. The bubbles featured in my artworks symbolize elevation, movement, and ceaseless change. These bubbles embody the particles of nature's vibrant elements, ascending skyward, defying the grip of gravity, and simultaneously allowing me to introduce harmonious color contrasts.
In my portrayal of Mount Saint Helens, the bubbles become a captivating embodiment of delicate daisy petals ascending towards the sky. These bubbles encapsulate the essence of the daisies, carrying their vivid hues and intricate textures. Their defiance of gravity unites all components of the painting in a harmonious dance. The ascent of the daisy petal particles within the bubbles signifies not only motion and transformation but also weaves the innate beauty of the flowers into the tapestry of the majestic mountain landscape.
My compositions draw inspiration from "Magical Realism," a narrative technique that interweaves fantastic or mythical elements into seemingly realistic fiction. This concept was first introduced in literature by the Colombian Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whom I have admired since my childhood.
Learn more about her work in the interview we did with her.