Pawtucket Artist Captures the Spirit of Flight in Paint

Inspired by Japanese brushwork, Holly Wach's paintings are playful renditions of New England wildlife

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“I once saw a cardinal flying through a blizzard – a burst of red fighting through white powder. These winter warriors tough out the chilly New England temps with us while painting their bright colors across our dull gray backyards. Let’s hear it for the cardinal!” muses artist Holly Wach on her Instagram page.

When it comes to commanding the soft, feathery strokes of a brush, Wach exceeds. From her sun-filled Pawtucket studio, she explains, “Each of my handmade pieces honors the beauty, intelligence, strength, and playfulness of birds, using sophisticated palettes, revealing details, and expressive movement.”

Wach’s style is inspired by the Japanese brushwork of Sumi-e ink paintings, a type of art derived from the Song dynasty which focuses on not just the outward appearance of the focal point, but also puts emphasis on the spirit.

While Wach has practiced many mediums of painting, one in particular has captured her heart: “Watercolor is a surprise every time. It’s like spotting your favorite bird. Watercolor painting is a beautiful dance where you work together.” She adds, “The paint and water remind you to let go of control. When you do, you are given such gifts.”

“On good weeks, I paint every day. My goal this year is to make it every day. There is nothing I would rather be doing.”

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