I'll start with the questions, which are ones I usually don't think about!
1. Why do I create what I do?
Although I haven't met Brienne in person, we share a love of plein air painting, painting outdoors. Watercolor was always the medium that I was drawn to and had a knack for, and plein air painting seemed to be the perfect means of expression. Since finding several local paint-out groups, it's been a big change for me. It's just what I've always wanted to do. While I'm outside painting on location with a group, that's all I'm thinking about. So much fun and so peaceful.
This is a recent piece of the Castle Green Hotel in Pasadena, California which I think turned out well, where a couple year's plein air experience felt like it was finally working out.
During all those years of working in commercial art, I just KNEW plein air painting was what I really wanted to be doing. Since the greeting card work trickled away, if I hadn't found local paint-out groups, I probably wouldn't be doing much painting today.
2. How does my creative process work?
Plein air painting is a very personal and expressive way to paint. Arriving at our location, I spend quite awhile walking around, getting a feel for the area and taking some snapshots of possible views to try. Of course I look for certain subjects that appeal to me. There are also sun and shadow, and color to take into account. It took me some months to learn that what helps my paintings a lot is to have a foreground, middle-ground, and background in my choice of what to paint.
3. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think my paintings differ just as everyone else's do. We all have a certain way of applying our paint. Our brushstrokes differ as our handwriting does. I do like to use some drier, fast brushstrokes where I can. Our attention to certain details (like architectural) and our loose or "tight" style varies with each of us. I've been told that I have a certain color range, which seems to only be the colors as I see them!
4. What am I working on?
Of course I'm always working on improving my watercolor techniques. It seems there is always so much to learn. The medium is challenging so there is always something to strive for. Seeing other artist's pieces, in watercolor, oil, or even pastel, I see things to try. Also, for almost two years I've been experimenting with gouache which is opaque watercolor. It's another challenge but I'm enjoying the results. Here is a gouache piece of the same Green Hotel as my watercolor above.
Now for some fun, adding links to three blogs that I find inspiring!
The first has to be Frank Eber's blog. I took a 3-day workshop from Frank early in my new, non-commercial watercolor direction. I had not found any plein air groups when I took that workshop and I was learning so many new things. Thanks to Frank's blog I have inspiration and reminders from him with each of his posts! He's such a generous teacher as well as wonderful painter. His watercolors are something to study.
The next two exciting blogs are written by friends I "met" in an online watercolor class a few years ago.
My friend from South Australia, Lorraine Brown, paints such a variety of subjects from florals to animals. Her approach to pieces can be an adventure in mixed media techniques, very exciting. And Lorraine is usually working in a series, an inspiration to me. I haven't attempted that yet!
Here is Terry Freemark who paints figurative watercolors inspired by everyday moments. Terry is expert at capturing her subject's subtle looks and gestures. Her pieces are always filled with emotion which is something I'm trying to work into my landscapes if possible.
I'm grateful to know these three artists, and Brienne too of course! It's been fun to think about the tough questions and my inspirations.