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The possibility of capturing and depicting the inexpressible drives my excitement in watercolor painting
I began my explorations of watercolor painting in 2000 as a way of “entering” rather than fighting severe chronic pain. In a meditative state, I painted the pain I was experiencing. Employing color, texture and motion, I captured and transformed the pain. This process led me to enjoy and embrace painting as a visceral, failure proof, activity.
I believe the process of intentional painting ensures success. If one is content to accept even a tiny segment of one’s painting as an authentic expression of one’s interior or spiritual experience, painting becomes a joyful experience. When I sit to paint, I most often am moved to do so by an inner desire to explore and capture a strong emotion or intuition I’ve found myself incapable of describing in words.
I begin my paintings with the intention to play with a particular color, medium, or technique, altering my approach, as I enter more deeply into the painting process. Experiencing colors interiorly, I symbolically associate particular colors with specific feeling states. Transparent watercolor provide an excellent medium for expressing the flowing, changing, interrelationships of motion, color and emotion.
For the past three years, I’ve painted almost exclusively with Robert Doak liquid watercolors on Yupo, a slick archival painting surface. I seldom use a brush when working with Yupo. Rather, I sandwich the paint between two sheets of Yupo and then physically manipulate the top sheet in various ways to mix the paints and, in the process, create mirrored image abstract paintings.
I enjoy introducing this method of painting to those who have little or no experience in watercolor painting. Beginning with the premise that Painting Can be a Playful and Joyful Experience, I ask those I guide to withhold judgment as they begin exploring watercolor painting on Yupo. I promise each participant that he or she will leave with a painting that speaks to him or her in a deep, meaningful way. Sometimes this entails identifying only a small section of a painting to be matted and framed. I enjoy the experience of working with self and others in this manner as the process becomes more important than the finished painting!
For the past three years, I’ve been volunteering at a local inpatient Hospice. Happily, I was allowed to design and institute a creative art activity program for the patients and their loved ones. Assisting the actively dying in playful, often joyous, engagement with simple “artful” projects continues to be a rich experience. It has taught me to see again, with fresh eyes, the powerful effects of color, line, motion, texture, etc. on the human spirit!