Multimedia Muse

“Try it and see.” That’s the phrase that inspires artist Philip O’Reilly to create his multimedia works. Combining seven years of art training and more than 30 years of teaching art with his worldwide travels and exposure to traditional crafts, the London artist has a rich well of inspiration and techniques from which to draw. And he doesn’t hesitate to use them all.

Although watercolor is his basic medium, O’Reilly’s continually adding more materials to his repertoire. Gold leaf, wool felt, ceramic and holographic foil are just a few of the materials he incorporates into his pieces. “I use whatever I know; I don’t have any qualms about it,” he says. “All of the things I know are falling into place when I work on a piece.”

That’s not to say, every piece always turns out for the best. While he refuses to set anything in stone, he doesn’t like to overwork a piece and tries only to move forward. “This is something I learned working with feltmakers and potters. It’s like making a pot; it’s a one-way process. You go back when it’s finished and decide if it’s a good pot or not. You can’t keep going back and forth like a painter scratching paint off the surface, or you’ll destroy its essence,” O’Reilly says.

O’Reilly’s work left the figurative realm a long time ago, but he insists it’s all still based on observation, especially those he makes in the midst of another country or culture. “I don’t want to illustrate anything. I’m just trying to get a feeling into the picture. Once I’ve got that in my mind, what comes comes. It’s led by the image.”

In addition to his extensive travels in Jordan, Israel, Turkey and India, O’Reilly’s inspiration comes from his years of teaching. “You’re pulled from teaching into painting,” says O’Reilly. “I find I’m stretching myself, and the more I know the better my work is.”

William Borden studied industrial design at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where a freshman painting class sparked his interest in the transparent watercolor medium. After graduation he went to work as a designer for the Ford Motor Co., but continued to pursue a second career in fine art. Over the years, Borden’s work has appeared in a number of exhibitions, including those of the American Watercolor Society, the Allied Artists’ of America Exhibition, the Rocky Mountain National and Watercolor West. Borden is a signature member of the American Watercolor Society, and a member of the Watercolor U.S.A. Honor Society and the Knickerbocker Artists. Now painting full time, he lives in Hanover, Indiana, and conducts occasional workshops. He’s represented in his home state by Clifty Creek Gallery (Madison), Vera Curnow Gallery (Rising Sun) and Hoosier Salon Gallery (Indianapolis).

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