The medium of watercolor is the root – the foundation – of my painting career. It all began in the basement of my beloved late mother-in-law’s damp basement studio in central Illinois. It was the winter of 1987, and my husband and I were visiting from Minnesota. Emily Ann had gleaned over the previous 4 years that I had not participated in any art making for over 15 years. Since she was an amateur watercolor and oil painter, she decided it was time to prod that artistic vault open. It had been solidly sealed shut while I worked in corporate America.
On the first day of our visit, Emily Ann gave me a few basic watercolor painting instructions and left me alone in her cramped painting area. She generously lent me her watercolor paints, brushes and paper, along with a reference postcard for me to attempt to copy.
After a few hours, I surfaced from that chilly basement with the above painting. For the first time, I had experienced the pure joy of watching color flow off a brush and swim across the paper in water. Mixing color was fascinating (and frustrating!). I knew I was a duck happily swimming in water. My artistic vault now had a large crack in it.
The next day, my in-laws presented me with my first set of watercolor materials. As they say, “the rest is history,” and eons of stories. From 1989, I was dedicated to the medium of watercolor for the next 15 years. The thought of working in another medium never appealed to me until about 2000 when I started working in pastels. Then I quickly moved to oils in 2002.
Why is the title of this blog “Returning to My Watercolor Roots?”
I have been invited to deliver a program at the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society meeting this month at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts in Colorado Springs. The first challenge for me was finding my watercolor paints! Never one to toss or discard art materials (you never know when you might need them. LOL!), I had stored my paints in a location that was not crossing my memory bank. Frustrated but not deterred, I finally located them in a neat box on the top shelf of my storage closet.