Watercolors: Part 1

When I started planning for this residency back in August of last year I had some visions of what sort of materials I would use, such as certain colors of acrylic paint (Sepia! Naples Yellow! Turquoise!), my collection of wax crayons and oil pastels, a roll of paper, canvas, maybe boards, and definitely watercolors. Definitely my travel set of watercolors and some loose paper and a block or book.

Watercolor is always there and has been since I was in college, when I focused on it in my art studies. I fell in love with watercolor when I took a two-week summer class in the mountains of Virginia in 1989 with one of my favorite art teachers in college. We painted indoors and outdoors but the medium came alive on the paper when we painted out in the mountain landscape.

Let me see if I can find a few old photos from that wonderful class … here’s one:

Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park, 1989

Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park, 1989

And then I’ve painted many watercolors in Shetland over the years because they are so portable and again, capture the atmosphere, clouds, water and land so quickly. Here are a few of those:

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For the past couple of years I have taught watercolor classes and last fall actually won an award for a large watercolor painting of beets, so it’s always part of my studio repertoire, but I have to say that this trip and this residency renewed my affection for the medium in a big way! First ,for Christmas my Uncle Bill sent me this beautiful book:


It is a record of this artist’s visit to Shetland in Spring and Summer of 2012 – 39 watercolors in all, and it is gorgeous in its simplicity and vividness (in the link you can scroll down to look through the book if you are interested.) So that got me going a few months prior to leaving, then between meeting Peter Davis and talking about and taking in his work, discovering this beautiful paper to work on (Saunders Waterford large sheets and a book of Khadi┬ápaper), and buying a new travel box of Sennelier paints, I am madly in love with watercolor again.

I won’t post everything at once. I’ll share larger and smaller individual watercolors in a different post. In this one I’ll include selections from my Khadi book, in which I did a lot of studies of things I experienced every day at the lighthouse – the sweeping skies, moody sea, various cliffs and landscape in the ever changing light, and miscellaneous subjects. These were all quick impressions taking less than 30 minutes. The pages are 8 1/2 x 11″ and are slightly off-white:


The first watercolor at the lighthouse – sunset on March 2


Fitful Head, the cliffs as I saw them from the panoramic studio


Fitful Head again, in different light


Looking down


Another view from the panoramic room, this one of the cliffs of Bressay and Noss


Cliffs of Bressay and Noss in different light


Cliffs of Bressay and Noss in different light again


Cliffs of Bressay and Noss, one more time


Grutness Bay, within walking distance of the lighthouse


Fair Isle (another island that was fun to capture in many different lights)


Snow Drops from Sarah


Curious sheep

More to come tomorrow …


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