From Sophistication to Naivete

2018-07-23T21:16:53-04:00By |1 Comment

Ginger Bowen is one of 36 artists juried into an exhibition titled “Full Sun: American Women Artists Illuminate the Haggin Museum,” which opens August 2 in Stockton, CA. The show features paintings and sculptures by members of American Women Artists (AWA) influenced by 13 paintings from the Haggin Museum’s core art collection. Read more about Bowen’s inspiration below.

Ginger Bowen, 2018 Annual Master & Signature Members Show
Behind-the-Scenes Process

How Bowen Got Involved in AWA:
I found American Women Artists (AWA) through an art magazine article. I was enthused that they were an organization whose mission statement was to support women artists. I entered shows and eventually became a member in the early 2000s and worked my way up to a Master Signature member. It is an incredible organization of women who continue year after year to have excellent leadership. The fact that they are doing 25 museum shows in 25 years is an incredible feat. I’m so honored to be a member of this group of artists, and I highly recommend any women artists to keep trying and honing their skills and to join the AWA. It’s a great time to be a woman artist, and with the AWA it is only going to get better.

Harry Wilson Watrous oil painting -

Harry Wilson Watrous, “Sophistication,” 1908, oil on canvas, 28.25 x 24.25 in.
“She knows her place in society and is quite comfortable there,” Bowen says of the model. “She’s in a daydream with her cigarette and cup of tea, confidently sitting alone.”

Choosing Her Muse Painting:
I didn’t know right away which muse painting to choose. I actually was intimidated by the 13 paintings given for inspiration. So I just occasionally looked at them and kept coming up with nothing. Then one day while studying the concept and composition sections of David Leffel’s book, An Artist Teaches, and my notes on composition and design from Whidbey 9 with Ted Nuttall, it came to me to study the design of all 13 paintings. Right away when I saw “Sophistication” by Harry Wilson Watrous, I knew I loved it and had to figure out why. It was that strong composition of the lady all in black where the negative spaces were and how the design kept your eye moving around in the painting. I decided to paint the opposite of “Sophistication,” using my 16-year-old niece, Ivy, and call it “Naïveté.”

American Women Artists - Ginger Bowen -

Ginger Bowen, “Naïveté,” oil, 30 x 26 in., inspired by Harry Wilson Watrous’s painting, “Sophistication”

I wanted a similar strong composition but decided to paint the opposite of “Sophistication” with “Naïveté.” I put young Ivy at a cheery table in a similar pose. She is looking straight ahead and leaning toward her future. She seems uninterested in sitting with a cup of tea. Using the dark background I wanted to highlight the dark unknown that our troubled world presents to our youth these days. Ivy is dressed in a sweet white dress representing her innocence and the bright light she possesses that she might not yet be aware of. There will come a time when she too will be the sophisticated woman at the table of life.

“Full Sun: American Women Artists Illuminate the Haggin Museum” runs through September 16, 2018.

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One Comment

  1. Avatar
    C-Marie July 30, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Regarding the painting only, not the model herself at all. And yet, you have the front of her dress open….leaving unanswered the wonder of her Naïveté??? The painting is nice, but not of the depth of Sophistication. Naïveté appears to show that the young woman is in the midst of choosing, while Sophistication shows that no choice had to be made as she was born to her position.
    God bless, C-Marie

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