There is a very warm uplifted way you feel when you get something to work in a painting. Moments of doubt can lift sometimes after you think the painting was lost. I hope (and I think) I captured that spirit in this photograph of my cousin Margaret with her watercolor painting two days ago.
Early watercolors by Andrew Wyeth when he was in his early 20’s are very loose and not anything like the work most people know him for. Looking at a book I have of his youthful watercolors inspired Margaret to paint this watercolor she is holding up.
Margaret offered to spend her spring vacation visiting and helping me while I had foot surgery. She asked if we could spend time working together before the operation to give her some pointers with her painting. She has looked at my paintings and liked the spirit in which I work.
I do not formally offer painting classes but do at times worked with aspiring artists. I had the chance to mentor Margaret (who is a Tango teacher in Halifax) when she visited from Nova Scotia recently. She brought along some really nice watercolor equipment having taken what sounded like a lovely introductory watercolor class in the south of France a couple of years ago.
She also had a few items delivered to our house from Blick’s as art supplies in Nova Scotia can be more expensive and not have many choices.
I found the Winsor & Newton Artists’ watercolor “large pans” that Margaret ordered pretty interesting and hadn’t seen them before. For the most part I tend to take partial or whole tubes of professional grade Winsor & Newton and squirt them into ramekins which you can get inexpensively at Target. You can work off these for any amount of time by just adding some water, but for painting outdoors I take smaller pan sets.
Margaret is quite committed to plein air painting, which I found refreshing as I have mostly traded outdoors long ago for working in the studio. Though theoretically I love painting outdoors, in practice I only do it in the summer on Cape Cod. However I was quite inspired by her enthusiasm for painting outdoors and I hope to try it more.
I was hamstrung by some post surgery on one of my feet, so for the most part she could work without too much bother from me after some initial words and brief demos. This worked well as she is very motivated to paint so timidity about watercolor was not an issue.
Margaret’s plein air painting in our yard: