Working in watercolors, Norwegian artist Stig-Ove Sivertsen recalls the Pablo Picasso print that hung in his childhood home—a reproduction portrait of Picasso’s muse, Sylvette David. The work shows her in full profile; while representational, it betrays a primitive abstract quality that recalls his earlier Cubist-inspired works. The work’s lasting impression on Sivertsen is telling. Picasso explored a wide range of styles and subjects throughout his career—nothing was exempt from his search. Moving easily between abstract and representational modes, Picasso fearlessly sacrificed one reputable style after another in pursuit of a genuine and “in-the-present-moment” expression.
Sivertsen does, too. “I find it difficult to talk about genre or style in today’s art world,” he says. “Picasso was light years ahead of his time. Today, there are almost no rules. Maybe that ‘everything goes’ attitude is the current movement? For my own part, I, too, have a ‘schizophrenic’ expression that ranges from abstract to photorealistic. The times I feel most successful in my painting are when I work intuitively and start without a preconceived point of view.”
The overriding consistency in Sivertsen’s watercolors is an exploration of the medium. “I suppose I like watercolor because of its challenges and difficulties,” he says. The mutable quality of watercolor and the random nature of its chance effects complement his adventurous spirit. “The medium forces one to work more freely; it’s how an artist should approach work: curious and playful. You must be bold to succeed, especially on a large format. You need to force some bravery into the painting.”
See more of Siversen’s diverse work in the June 2017 issue of Watercolor Artist, available at northlightshop.com and on newsstands April 18.
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