Thanks to guest writer Sally Murdoch King for today’s post
Pasadena native Acey Thompson is a PNCA student who’s quick to recognize teachers, jobs, friends and family members who have helped shape her emerging career as an artist. She remembers aspects about her childhood too that helped her grow; She spent an entire hazy LA summer copying every Sir John Tenniel illustration in Alice in Wonderland she stumbled upon at age 7. She remembers the art teacher who showed her how to add salt to a watercolor wash at age 10 and the eye-opening effect of “starry patches” left behind. She resisted taking a Japanese brushstroke and calligraphy course in 10th grade and then gave in only to not want to take any other classes but brushstroke ones. And she remembers one time as a 4 year old where she spent an afternoon laying out plastic spoons in an artful pattern on her living room floor. When she was done, she collapsed in exhaustion, and her mother later told her that the energy her daughter put into her project showed she was destined to be an artist.
Acey’s medium of choice is watercolor, although some teachers, such as Anne Johnson, her Intermedia Painting professor at PNCA, try to steer her to other mediums out of her comfort zone. Acey says Johnson helps her explore her subjects’ environment and pushes her to explore the atmosphere while taking the time to capture the room, the windows and the light as well as her subjects. Acey began painting with watercolors as a 10 year old and since her dad was an amateur calligrapher, “there were lots of ink bottles laying around the house” to dabble in. She likes the spontaneity to watercolors, the lack of drying time and of course the price, pointing out that you can get a good set for a few dollars that can last forever.
Acey has a passion that is inescapable when you view her portfolio and the painting she was creating today: dogs. As a youth she had a family dog and friends would raise funds for the Humane Society. However it wasn’t until she was 17 that her canine appreciation kicked into high gear while working at Three Dog Bakery in LA, a bakery chain that specializes in edible treats for pups. Her interaction with animals over three years of working here expanded her love for dogs, and at 21 she moved to Portland with her pitbull Maggie. Acey’s work has been commissioned for album covers for bands such as New York’s For Every Story Untold, and up and comers Matt Taylor and his Laurels. She has also done commissioned pet portraits and works part time at Lazy Dog Crazy Dog in Montavilla.
Today’s painting began with a vintage photo Acey says has been popping up in various places over the past three years. She first saw it on Flickr, then Facebook, then Tumblr, among other spots. She decided to print it out, not knowing the name of the photographer or the subject, only that it is a vintage image of a woman with a retriever/Great Pyrennees wrapped around her neck like a stole. She began with watercolors, and then to achieve the blacker blacks used a bottle of Chroma brand India ink from Muse Art and Design.