Much of my time these days is spent doing those things that I never had a chance to do when I was working. I now hike, kayak, travel, and yes paint! I paint a lot. When traveling, I am always taking photos of interesting textures, colors, or subjects to use for future work. This ornamental cherry tree in a garden at the Columbia Zoo is just one that I’d decided to paint as a commission. I started with a quick study of one of the branches and produced an acceptable version but wasn’t happy with the lavender background. I decided to use powder pastel to change the tone and texture. It added a unique quality and I followed up with additional work using this method. The original study became part of my body of work available for sale at Waterford Harbor Farmers Market. Here’s another example of mixed media quick study.
A modest goal was to paint consistently and often. I was able to enroll in many courses and applied the lessons learned. I joined art societies and painted every Tuesday afternoon with friends, Pat and Albina. Here’s just one of the larger pieces I’d done from my own photos. I was working on hot press paper and having difficulty with how the paint worked on the surface . I continued and learned what paper worked for me at that stage period in my life. I needed focus and dedication to one project.
Here’s an example of those early days. I had little to sell but developed a card line. This worked well for years as I was able to provide representative samples of my work. I often had repeat customers and did get a few commissions also.
“Peony and Cherry Blossom” was one of my first commissions. I loved this painting as it was a first anniversary gift from my friend Judy to her daughter. Why this matters is that I’d done the wedding flowers for the wedding. A friendship developed between Judy and I as a result. I am forever grateful!
Many a “quick study” turned into a category called “Little Originals” selling for $5to $40 which have provided me with many and enjoyable afternoon with my yet growing group of painting friends Gary, Karen, and George. Apple blossoms was painted using 140 lb Arches paper and Holbein watercolors. The background is unique as I’d used salt technique. “Dragonfly” was another using a material called “Brusho” . I loved the result!
Forgotten railroads have been the subjects of my work. As a result, this month’s blog is about my latest watercolor. “Oxford, Pa”, the watercolor, is a memory come to life. Personal photos and visits to sites are the inspiration. In addition, this little town named Oxford holds childhood memories. The Purina Chow mill remained being serviced by the Octoraro Railroad.
The Octoraro Railroad was a short line railroad. It operated on what had been the Pennsylvania Railroad. This RS-2 engine, was from the Toledo, Peoria, and Western Railroad. It was sold to the Octoraro in 1983.
There is much gratitude for having such an opportunity to paint this scene.Please Share With Your Friends
These days it would seem that my joy comes from helping others learn to express themselves in watercolor. Since mid winter, I have been teaching basic watercolor classes at the Waterford Halfmoon Senior Center. It is quite surprising how students advance when they are interested. Margaret said that she couldn’t paint. This was her first larger work and only the fourth watercolor. With a little guidance, she has completed this vibrant painting.Five students arrived at 2pm to continue work on their “The sky’s the limit” painting which was structured to have them paint sky and water very casually. They picked from provided photocolor copies of various land and sea. Gary liked the simplicity of grasses and dunes and only his third watercolor.Connie had taken a course with me during a convention. She was new to this methodology and had to sketch this time. Her process is structured and patient. She learned through this painting what layering of color is all about. As she practiced, she relaxed. She’s using several watercolor tools (pencil, pen, and 0000 brushes for her grasses) and a bit of white gouache for the froth on the waves.Next friday will be the completion of this session. All plan on framing their paintings. I’m very proud of them!
I’ve been very lucky so far in 2017 to have the time to take two professional watercolor classes with decidedly different approaches. I find both intriguing and am delighted in the results from both instructors. Above are my latest paintings completed in a 3 hr workshop in North Jersey.
Using watercolor pens without an underlying sketch proved interesting. The loose, playful way in which I painted the geranium flowers in the first painting proved that I could “loosen up” as it has an oriental feel which I really like. The second painting was revamped at home darkening the dogwood to reflect more of a shaded environment. In class, we were attempting backgrounds that produced sediment upon mixing two colors together. Here, I used ultramarine lite and burnt umber. The pink cast is opera.
Both paintings will be matted and available at this weekend’s fair…..Niska Day May 20. Come out and visit!