Thursday, January 7, 2010

Don't drink the water... colors.

Do you know why I picked watercolors as my medium to paint in? The answer to that is actually quite complicated and goes back as far as my early childhood. When I was very, very young I thought (and actually still believe today) that my mother was THE most amazingly talented, beautiful, incredible, shining example of the perfect woman ever created. I had a little bit of a girl crush on my mom. I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be as talented and gracious as she is. I wanted to be accomplished in all the things she was accomplished in. One of her many talents was painting. She used oils. Now, luckily I did not want to actually be my mother. I had a strong sense of myself and realized, even as young as I was, that she was oils, I was not. The question then became what was I?

Our house had a lot of lovely art on the walls. My mother, in all her amazingness, also has fantastic taste. My favorite painting in our house was a watercolor done by the brother of John Lithgow, the actor. Lori Lithgow worked, in an engineering firm in Ottawa, with my father and he painted this Prairie scene for us. Here it is on my mantle.

I could never get enough of it's beauty. I thought the way the color swirled and moved in the sky and the translucence of the grasses were just magical. In some of the places on the painting it seemed the paint was both there and not there at the same time. It mesmerized me. This was when I fell in love with watercolors. It wasn't until later, though, that I thought I might want to use this medium. Not until I realized how much water had to do with making watercolors do those wondrous things on paper did I know this was my medium.

You see, here's something else you need to know about me. I Lurrrrve water. No, I mean it. I'm loopy for it. In any form. Rain, pools, oceans, showers, bathtubs, even snow (as long as the temperature isn't too cold). Water makes me happy. I had a near religious experience when my mom and I drove up to Whistler to do some sightseeing one day. We were living in Vancouver at the time. After we got to Whistler, window shopped and lunched, we drove around enjoying the scenery. We stopped at a little river with a bridge over it. I looked down into the clearest azure water I had ever seen. I didn't know water looked like that. The way it moved over the rocks, frothing and burbling - Oh My! So Beautiful! Heart-stoppingly captivating. I was transfixed by the translucent color and movement... just like in my favorite Painting!! Wow. It was a breathless moment.

So, it seemed a perfect fit when I wanted to switch mediums. My mother was oils. Strong, lasting, rich, earthy. I was watercolors. Gentle, whimsical, fluid, mercurial. I think it makes some kind of sense when I look at how I got here. This moment in time is starting to feel like a full circle moment. Like I've been preparing all along to express myself with paint and be able to put it down on 200 lb cold pressed paper in a meaningful way. ;o)

Next time I'm going to have to show you some of the artwork that inspires me. We'll talk soon. :o)
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1 comment:

  1. I accidentally found your website while searching to identify an old watercolor in my possession. I can say we are kindred spirits. I have been painting many years beginning with oils. We lived on St. Croix USVI for a couple of years and I took up watercolor while painting with an art group there. My mother paints porcelain and I do that, too. Love it! Watercolor and porcelain are my favorite mediums. I have neglected oils since taking up those. Never enough time.

    I, too, have seen Whistler Mountain, and rafted the Kicking Horse at Golden. Canada is beautiful! I live in the Hill Country of Texas and have a website with a few of my paintings at I hope you'll let me know when you post your art.


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