I remember the first time I came in contact with watercolors was in high school. My beloved art teacher, Sr. Helen David, gave us a demonstration on how to use the medium. She magically moved her brush around while explaining effortlessly what we needed to do. Lo and behold, a few brushstrokes later appeared a charming lake scene. She made it look so easy! The funny thing is, my mother happened to unknowingly buy that painting at a school art auction and to this day it is hanging in my parents’ home.
My first attempt at watercolors was a muddy mess, not quite the masterpieces I hoped for. I was experimenting with various mediums because Sr. Helen pushed us to pursue as many art directions as possible. The disappointment was so great I decided to stay away from watercolors from then on.
It wasn’t until many years later, newly married, living in Africa and without any art supplies that I purchased a very non-descript set of watercolors and some paper. I went into it with only a small recollection of what Sr. Helen had said that afternoon. I was also a recent graduate from art school having been taught to work exclusively in oils because watercolors were used at the most in a sketchbook. Since this is what was only available, I approached it almost like oils, not having a precise idea of what the finished project should look like, acting only on impulse. With no access to information, I painted intuitively, elated not to be pressured to show anyone my progress.
Family came along and I set it aside only to be able to pick it up again a couple of years ago. This time more determined, I feel I have found a true love for the medium. Thanks to the internet, I have been able to teach myself quite a bit about watercolors.
I love the easiness of just picking up a piece of paper and being able to begin working without the fuss of having to strectch and prime a canvas. I don’t need studio space, most of the time I work on my kitchen table and keep my supplies on a shelf, I find it very practical and easy to bring whenever working outside or travelling. There are endless possibilities for experimentation with color and texture, the spontaneous and unpredictable nature that the materials unveil. It is powerful and delicate at the same time.