Although both my grandfather and my father painted watercolour, I followed other pursuits after childhood.
Since retirement, I have been able to spend more time sketching and doing watercolour painting. Although rough sketching was required throughout my career, it was never as a finished product. Now, whenever we travel, I keep a sketchbook handy and try to capture sights and scenes wherever we stop.
I became more serious about sketching and painting in April 2016 when we travelled with a small guided group to Japan. Each of the participants completed watercolour paintings afterwards that were framed and shown at the Sunshine Coast Art Crawl.
We travelled to India in January 2018 with two guided groups. The opportunity to experience India in four locations was exhilarating, and allowed me to develop skills and try some new techniques.
The opportunities and scenes around Vancouver Island are limitless, and the light and palette are ideal for my preferred watercolours.
I paint exclusively in watercolour; one medium is enough to learn at one time. Most of the pieces are based on my original sketches, though occasionally one of my photographs or an original idea is used.
Although life is busy, I paint at least once per week. I find watercolour painting to be challenging, focused and restful at the same time.
Beach Rocks, Rebecca Spit
I visited Rebecca Spit on the east side of Quadra Island in May 2007. The spit was formed over many years of southerly storms into a long spit with cobbles and pebbles on the outer side and sand on the inner side. It forms a safe and protected anchorage.
The variety of sizes and colours is incredible, since they were sourced by the glaciers from far afield. They were a great opportunity for a folio of photographs. At that time, I had no plans to do watercolours, as photography was my medium.
The images always intrigued me, and I took the opportunity in October 2020 to create this work. The photograph was used as a guide to the variety and relationships of the shapes. The painting gave an opportunity to develop several techniques.
At Qualicum Beach
During Covid19 restrictions, we have been visiting local places for our walks. This visit to the beach at Qualicum was late in a February day, with low light and warm colours. This was another excellent chance to capture images with the camera. This painting was an opportunity to show the action of the water as it (gently) washed against the sand, and to explore the effect of the shadows.
Beddis Beach, Salt Spring Island
Although I had done work projects on Salt Spring for many years, this was our first trip as tourists with time to explore and relax. We spent one happy hour on Beddis Beach with our sketch books and captured the original for this piece. I usually take a photograph of each scene that I sketch, so that I have a future reference for details and colours. The watercolour painting is always better if developed from the original sketch, rather than directly from the photograph. The Fall colours of the leaves on the tree and on the beach were striking. A challenge with the work was to capture trees seen behind the other trees, and the variety of foliage.
Theis work was created in response to a monthly art “challenge” on the theme of Passion. When the theme was announced, and I searched around for word associations, two ideas immediately came to mind. The musical genre of a “passion”, and an image of a Passionflower.
The passion flowers grow at our front porch, and flower one or two at a time from late August until October. I chose a simple image from many photos. The flower is the most complex and colourful thing you can imagine. I used resist to protect the spikey petals, and called on my limited techniques to add interest to the background leaves. To incorporate or combine the musical theme, I chose a piece of the score from J S Bach’s St Mathew Passion. After experimentation, I was able to dodge and crop the image, then inkjet print it over the watercolour.