WATERCOLOR DELIGHT


In this, the aquarelle form of watercolor, the artist uses the white of the paper to create the light shining through veils of pigment, creating the luminosity that is characteristic of the media. Some of the delight of watercolor resides in the semi-unpredictability, even accidental nature of the medium. Sometime the most frustrating becomes the greatest fun when we take ownership of an unexpected error or some misdirected pigment then turn it into a lovely and interesting painting after all, one that belies the accident to transform the painting through the “happy accident.”

That exercise of our imagination by rinsing off color, scraping an area to restore the light of the paper, or adding another wash to emphasize a form brings the greatest satisfaction. Aha! we think. And so our knowledge and joy leap up another step to becoming expertise.

“April Showers Bring Bluebonnets”

This painting reminds me of scenes from my childhood in south Texas. I often stop on Texas roadways, especially off the interstates, to take snapshots of old homes and the wildflowers that grow there prolifically. When I was growing up, many country roads were made of gravel and had no curbs. I want to capture those times and ways of life that are disappearing. Scenes similar to this one are scheduled to be among those in my beginning watercolor classes because they are fun and do not require advanced skills to do a small painting, yet students learn much from them.

Texas Bluebonnet Momento”

Several of us were painting with DeeDee Dale, a San Antonio watercolorist, and decided to explore this interesting “scrapbook”format. The Texas bluebonnet, my favorite native wildflower, was in bloom, so it became the subject of my painting. The back image on upper right is a scene that reminds me of childhood scenes, then the middle front is a few bluebonnets with delicate wine cups, and the left image is a close up image to show the delicacy of each pea. I love the delicacy and unusual color of the wine cups, wishing they and the bluebonnets lasted longer through the year. But perhaps their time is limited because God knows we would not value them as much were they growing the year around.

As I pulled off the framing tape, I accidentally dripped some color on the ”mat,” so I washed in some shadow images to turn a happy accident into a technique which I believe enhances the piece. I also made pencil notes about bluebonnets in pencil on the painting itself for my niece & nephew in Indonesia. Rockette & Jordon Coffee have never seen a live bluebonnet so they will soon have a print of this one.

“Home from Market”

I convinced Lorna Francis of Castroville, TX to drive into “town” to meet with some of us who wanted to paint with a professional aquarellist. One thing we decided to do was this theme—our kitchens, our homes, so we began with a group of veggies that each of us arranged as we wished. Each of us bought a plaid cuptowel as a tablecloth & set up our several still life models with this very old, tarnished copper kettle becoming the centerpiece for mine. The color contrasts make this painting vibrant and lovely for an honored place in the dining room or kitchen. This is an example of realism I love in a still life. This reminds me of my Grandmother Coffee who always had a garden and canned many good things to eat later when the garden was gone for the winter. And she always had her teakettle on the stove because she made drip coffee throughout the day–a real coffee drinker who lived to be 93-1/2 years old, married 73-1/2 years to her William Wilburn Coffee, a farmer and painter who ironically never drank coffee.

“Glory of Springtime”

Painting with Lorna Francis, Pat Eary brought us a shopping bag she had picked up in her travels, a large one with a panoramic photo of tulips she wanted to paint. Fascinated, we all set out to glorify a full sheet of handmade paper with tulips. I selected this group to paint to evoke memories of a springtime spent painting and laughing and exploring with friends the joy of color and nature, and the forever freshness of watercolor. Just how many tones of red and rose can be found in such a spring display? What a wonder it is that a dirty bulb with dried roots can become such a glorious array of color and hope, renewal and joy.

“MEMORY BOX”

The pastel colors in this box speak of memories of Eldora Liverman Edmondson, my mother’s mother. She kept special momentos from her past in special places in her home. Into this box I have mentally placed many memories, conversations, momentos, and photos Grandmother shared with me. This watercolor painting holds those memories for me, treasures which I can recapture in words, thoughts, photos, and paintings to share with others.

I love to keep alive the values, the humor, and the teachings of this gentle, worthy woman (in the spirit of Proverbs 3l:31) who made a significant impact on many lives in her humble way. All her daughters, including her beloved step-daughter, mirrored her calmness, her quiet good humor, her gentle ways. I am still blessed with the thought of the love shining in those twinkling blue eyes and in the endearing smile of this beloved grandmother.

“CANDLELIGHT”

I explored the shadows and nuances of the muted and calm effects of these soft colors with much pleasure.

I find these colors and images to be restful. This still life evokes memories of evenings by lamplight with my grandparents, Joe and Eldora Edmondson in Mullin, Texas. As a girl I often sat before the fireplace in the winter, gazing at the flickering flames and glowing coals while I listened to the adults read the Bible together and speak of the things that made up their lives at that time and in days past. Grandmother always had some handwork in her lap while she sat. During those warm, quiet hours I absorbed many of the values I carry in my heart today, of integrity, of sincere love, of caring for others in need, of the satisfaction of hard work, and of the comfort of God and family.

“THE GIFT OF POINSETTIAS”

A friend gave me a lovely poinsettia plant which I wanted to capture for always. Photos have little emotion, so I used watercolor to capture the colors and shapes of those lovelies without including the whole plant. This painting expresses the joy of the holiday season, of the giving and receiving of the love of friends and family. Strangely, the red loveliness of the poinsettia is actually not the bloom, but its brightness and delicacy have become a tradition for the December holidays, and they often are part of winter wedding decorations. This lovely plant bears for me the reminder of a friend’s caring. It grew in the yard for me for several winters.

“ANYBODY HOME?”

You can see in this rustic birdhouse my love of textures as exhibited in the rusted tin roof and the splendor of the wood grain in the walls of the house itself. This bluebird photo just seemed to belong in the painting, so I let him stop by to visit this quaint house. This birdhouse has inspired a series of paintings, for which I have already prepared sketches and photographs.

“Jungle Leopard Alert !”

I found this lovely photograph of a leopard in his natural habitat in the jungle and could not resist rendering a portrait of him as he stands alert. At the same time, he is in a relaxed mood in all the green beauty of his home territory. This image I offer in a 9″ x 12″ format for my beginning classes when they like to paint him. This is an opportunity to learn to wash in colors and use slight detail to indicate the jungle, then wash in the basic colors in the leopard, leaving the white paper to be the white in the painting. Isn’t he a regal creature?

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
–Winston Churchill
There are two days in the week
about which and upon which I never worry.
Two carefree days, kept sacredly free from fear and apprehension.
One of these days is Yesterday . . . .
And the other . . . is Tomorrow. –Robert Jones Burdette


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