Watercolor is my favorite medium, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took a while.
When I was in high school I painted my first watercolor for a 4-H competition. I mentioned the art contest to my grandmother and the next thing I knew I was sitting at Grandma’s kitchen table using her watercolor supplies. I still remember that painting of a rustic barn and windmill. I was so proud.
But, I did not paint again for almost 10 years. The results of the art contest were not good. I received second place out of one painting entered!
When I was in my mid-twenties, my grandmother suggested I try painting with watercolors again. She purchased painting supplies and a book on watercolors for me. She also suggested I join a watercolor society and go to classes or workshops.
I read the watercolor book and practiced painting. The book had step by step instructions which were very helpful. I started to get a feel for the basic watercolor techniques mainly by trial and error.
I followed Grandma’s suggestions mainly out of curiosity and because I loved the way watercolors looked. I loved the transparency, the vibrancy of the colors, the way drawing could be incorporated into a watercolor painting.
I also admired the work of several of my grandmother‘s friends, Eliot O’Hara and Buck Schiwetz. I was in awe of their work. I studied their original paintings and books. I loved to hear the stories Grandma told about the two artists.
I especially loved Buck Schiwitz work. His drawings and watercolors inspired me to try. Buck Schiwitz was Artist in Residence at Texas A & M University when I was a student there in the 70’s. I never met Mr. Schiwitz. I regret not going to meet him to this day.
After practicing with watercolors on my own, I joined the Watercolor Art Society of Houston. I signed up for my first workshop. That was such a “big deal” for me! I was petrified!
The workshop was taught by George Bevill. What a great artist! The students in the class were very talented also. I was intimidated. I spent most of my time trying to hide my work. As the workshop progressed, I realized we were all there to learn. I realized that no one was looking at my work and no one was judging me.
I do not paint well in workshops. That has been the case for me in every workshop I have gone to. I’ve always been amazed at artists that paint beautiful paintings from workshop assignments. I never came up with anything worthy of keeping in a workshop, but that is another article to write later.
As soon as the workshop was over I signed up to take watercolor classes on a weekly basis. I found an artist teaching in a small shop near my home. His name is A.J. Schexnayder. I looked forward to those classes. A.J. taught me how to draw, perspective, art terms, watercolor techniques, etc. I was like a sponge and I wanted more. The passion for watercolor began. A.J. encouraged me to paint original work, to enter art shows, and to get involved in the Watercolor Art Society of Houston.
The watercolor class came with a bonus. I made lifetime friends with several of the students. Some of those students are now incredible watercolorists selling their work, teaching, and running galleries now. In that class I also made connections to show my work in an art gallery.
One of my friends, Linda Tibolla taught me how to mat and frame my work in her studio. She also helped me get connected with the wholesale frame shops, introduced me to the vendors, helped me get my own account, showed me where to buy glass and Plexiglas. She literally drove me around and got me set up to start my art business. Linda and I also traveled together to several art festivals promoting our work.
Through the years I have made more lifetime artist friends that shared the same love for watercolor. Those friends are all dear to me and their influence on my work is undeniable.
Watercolor is my favorite medium, but it took a while. It didn’t happen overnight.