The series of still lifes/nature studies included here are a revelation. “In June’s Garden” is a jazzy botanical illustration, featuring a beetle dressed in a shimmering rainbow of iridescent colors that move and change continuously. In “Good Friday Dinner at John’s and Hazel’s,” the fish is faceted with layers of silver, gold, orange and blue. Although the fish is someone’s meal, the form from which it is built is charged with electricity and animation. Another nature study reveals grace in action as cranes lift off in a vortex of swirling blue sky, their silhouettes stylized into a frieze of elegant motion. “Hazel’s Lake” captures something of the essence of nature in the two figures that walk through a radiant landscape. Again, Pajaud deftly delineates the landscape with swirling gestures as trees, a pond and the two figures become part of a whirlwind of poetic scenery.
Evans’ work captures the core of the jazz world, infusing dancers and musicians with light and color that moves across the white swath of paper. Spare and elegant, a “Conga Drummer” is pared down to his shadowy face, drums and hands as they fly in rhythm to the music. Evans, too, is a master of working a wet line of watercolor into wet paper as colors and shapes merge and materialize into rich, jazzy images. In “Gesture of Dance III” a nude cavorts over the white ground in a searing pirouette in a manner as elegant as it is straightforward. Like Pajaud, Evans flirts with abstraction on every level as his forms dissolve and reappear with unrelenting energy. “Descarga” sums up Evans’ masterful skill with the brush. A woman dressed in vivid crimson dances through space accompanied by other shadowy figures that join her in a luminous ode to motion.
Pajaud and Evans are a wonderful pairing for watercolor fans. They both bring verve and genius to this difficult medium.