Watercolor artist George Zien continues to open the doors of his studio

For 14 years, local watercolor artist George Zien has opened the doors of his studio in Sequim to artists in the community for a life drawing class he facilitates every Tuesday.

The 2.5-hour class usually is composed of about 10 artists and a live model. Zien said the class is an opportunity for artists to improve their work by doing the same thing in class each week.

“Being an artist is a lonely business,” Zien said.

He explained that while the class is not instructional, it allows Zien and other artists a chance to see and practice different techniques being used in his class.

Zien, 85, has been a resident of Sequim since 2001, and moved up to the area with his wife Janet after he sold his Sign and Screen Print business in Arizona.

After attending a class at Scottsdale Artists’ School, his wife bought him a watercolor set that she gave him 30 years ago. Since then, Zien’s work has been displayed in galleries in Arizona, Washington, Colorado and private shows in Arizona and California.

One of his most popular watercolor pieces found in about 40 homes of Sequim residents, is Zien’s quail painting featuring several realistic quails representative of the nature found in the community.

When explaining watercolor painting, Zien said it’s a, “get in and get out” type of process, where one goes back to the painting with layers.

He also follows the “golden rule” one of his art teachers taught him long ago: an artist must lead the viewer into the painting.

Zien explained that one must be able to look at a painting from across the room and be able to understand it.

Most of Zien’s work has involved portraits of people and animals, but he also enjoys painting structures and landscapes. He said from start to finish, a painting usually takes him about 2-3 weeks to complete.

Zien said some of his favorite artists are oil painters Susan Spar — a Port Angeles local — and Bob Stem.

“This town has a lot of good artists,” he said.

Zien is a member of the Sequim Arts &Northwest Watercolor Society and the Olympic Peninsula Art Association. For the past four years, he also has taught a four-day watercolor workshop with a fellow artist each summer.

For more information about Zien, visit http://sequimarts.org/news/ or contact him at studiozien@aol.com.

Reach Erin Hawkins at ehawkins@sequim gazette.com.

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