Painting in transparent watercolor is a striking blend of spontaneity and control. I compare it to a tight-rope where the painter must find the perfect balance between what the paint wants to do and what the artist wants to do. I begin most projects with a preliminary sketch to plan composition, value, and color. With these decisions in place, I know where the painting is headed, but understand that with watercolor I will follow where the painting leads me; blending colors and textures that will determine the final outcome.
My focus on watercolor began as soon as I finished the job of being an educator and became a student again. I have always been attracted to working in art media, especially watercolor, but knew I needed to learn the skills to do the work. I immersed myself in books and online resources. As I struggled trying out new skills, I remembered the words of one of the art teachers who had worked with my former students. He said that the secret to painting is being able to draw. I did not have drawing skills, and remembered that he also said “anyone can draw, it just takes practice” so I signed up for drawing classes.
Now that I am painting in watercolor, I find working in a series to be a motivating factor in my work. I have painted a series of long stem flowers from my flower garden, wild flowers in the mountains, fall aspens along the streams, as well as a series on my mother’s china teacups and soon learned the delight of a series with an emotional link to the past. Currently, I am enjoying the long view in painting landscapes, and the adventures of painting outdoors. Yellowstone elk have wandered in and out of my sight, not pausing long enough to be painted into the current work, but available for a quick snapshot. And of course the nagging question, can I draw an elk? Of course I can, with practice.
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