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Brushing up her skills

August 30, 2006|By Joyce Rudolph

Out of tragedy, Jeanne Hyland pulled a new inspiration.

The Burbank sculptor-turned-watercolor artist switched mediums five years ago when a battle with breast cancer made her too weak to lift the bronze she used for her craft.

She was two weeks out of chemotherapy in 2001 when the former ski instructor moved to Burbank. Hyland found that lugging the heavy bronze exacerbated the swelling in her right arm, a result of the surgery. So she tried watercolor, she said.

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"I started taking watercolor classes and took off with the watercolor," Hyland said.

Making the transition from three-dimensional to two-dimensional artwork was a new frontier for Hyland. She graduated cum laude from the University of New Hampshire, receiving a bachelor's degree in fine arts with an emphasis on figurative sculpture and drawing.

"I didn't really have much in painting training, only one watercolor class," she said. "I never took oil painting."

But after taking a few classes, Hyland created a technique that allows her to give a three-dimensional look to her watercolor paintings, she said.

Hyland's work will be on display in a group show opening Friday at the Boddy House Gallery in Descanso Gardens.

She will display flower portraits, mostly because of the gallery venue, as well as landscapes, still life and people portraits.

"I try to capture the character of the flower," she said. "They are loose interpretations of them. Some of my sculpture background comes in and I tend to exaggerate the form so they are more three-dimensional."

Hyland has taught classes at Brand Art Studios in Glendale, conducted a one-day beginners' watercolor workshop at Creative Arts Center in Burbank and has been a guest demonstrator for the Verdugo Hills Art Assn.

Olivia Wu of Glendale has taken two watercolor classes at Brand after meeting Hyland during the Descanso show last year. She said the brilliant colors of her work attracted her.

"She's so inspirational," Wu said. "She's teaching us step by step how to approach value, the color and different design of the painting and structure. She teaches you how to look at the picture and see the light. It's wonderful. I really love her class."

Hyland entered two portraits in the spring show for the Valley Watercolor Society and each received awards, said President Michelene Laski.

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