Just like most fine artists, I’ve had a career that made the money to live, and painting was my passion.
In my case, my “day job” has been instructional designer. I even have a Masters Degree in Education, in Instructional Technologies, from Virginia Tech. (Go Hokies!)
So, what is an instructional designer?
IDs (that’s what we call ourselves) design and develop courseware. Both synchronous courseware (like in-person classroom courses) and asynchronous training (like eLearning.)
In my case, I have spent the last twenty years creating corporate aviation training. Very detailed and stressful. Lots of moving parts. During the early 2000’s, I had put aside my paintbrush to focus on my career and family. But about seven years ago, I picked it back up as a way to relax after a day spent on the computer, programming and creating detailed graphics and animations.
Fast forward to two years ago, when my husband retired and we moved to New Bern, North Carolina, a beautiful small town on the coast with a huge art community. I now have my own studio space, and am represented in a local gallery. I teach watercolor classes.
And that brings us to 2020. The year of Covid-19 and social distancing. As a distance learning professional, I have been watching with fascination as kids and adults have been forced to move to a virtual classroom. (It’s been kind of a mess.)
Even more fascinating has been watching the art world attempt to teach tactile skills on a non-tactile delivery system. If you have ever taken a painting class, you know it is both observation (watching your instructor) and then personal instruction with immediate feedback (i.e. your instructor is walking around, looking over your shoulder, and giving you assistance.)
I have to admit, in the past, my ID-self and my artist-self never mixed. But I was recently asked to teach (what was originally going to be an onsite) an online class.
And I had one of those “smack my head” moments. Um, yeah. I am an award-winning watercolor artist who teaches. And I have vast experience in online training.
Makes sense to combine the two skills and create learning experiences designed for specifically for artistic learners. Courses that give step-by step learning, exploration, and on-time feedback.
Serendipity. I am pretty excited about this!
My first attempt at steampunk. Just wanted to try something a little different than just a face or figure. It was fun, so I might try it again.
About the Process
Arches 300 lb. cold press.
- Quinacridone gold
- Quinacridone dark gold
- Quinacridone purple
- Scarlet Lake
Full sheet. 22″ wide x 30″ high.
I know, right? Very blurry and dark. Not a lot of details, so I had to use a lot of imagination to finish her.
I had to do an artist statement with this one, in order to enter it into a competition. (I really hate writing these.) But here it is:
I’ve always been fascinated with the visual imagery and rich colors of the steampunk genre. During a trip to Europe late last year, I took a photograph of this beautiful young lady in her Victorian dress, and immediately began to envision a new setting for her.
The limited palette of dark reds and purples, golds and blues were purposely selected to evoke the richness of the era. By first placing her against a richly patterned motif reminiscent of 19th century wallpaper, and then creating borders that echoed the embellishments adorning the dress bodice and linear features of her skirt, I further emphasized the antique and fantastical aesthetics that embody the genre.
My first attempt with Stonehedge Aqua paper. I love it! It is slicker than normal hot press, so it keeps the colors more vivid and allows the paints to merge in the most interesting ways.
I am off to find more images that will work well with this paper.
2018 was the year of cruel ironies.
After 22 years of living in fear of each hurricane season, we retired and moved 5 hours north and 60 miles inland. To get away from hurricanes and yearly evacuations. And one week after we moved, we were wiped out by Hurricane Florence. One week, people.
We had spent most of early 2018 cleaning out every closet and drawer, separating years of clutter from what was important enough to pack and take with us to our new home. Paid movers $10K to move those treasures. And before the photos, memories and belongings were even unpacked, they were taken away in a flood of dirty ‘black” water.
The perfect new home that we had searched up and down the east coast for, with its beautiful kitchen, an art studio for me, a yard big enough for the dogs, and Mike’s boat in the canal. To save it from black mold, we had to gut it down to the studs.
Even now as I type this – four months after the storm – we are still living in that gutted home. No walls. No bathrooms. No kitchen. A plywood floor. No end in sight. Because we weren’t the only ones this happened to, far from it. It’s everywhere. It happened to everyone.
Losing everything is just the beginning of the nightmare. Every day is a struggle. You wake and start the fight again. Mortgage companies, insurers, governmental red tape. Hours on the phone. I swear I will hear that “on hold” music when I die and go to hell. Wait. Maybe I already did and don’t know it.
Sometimes, you may get a glimmer of hope. A contractor who can fix this mess. Someone at the mortgage company who listens. You think you can move forward. And then, it falls apart. Again. You cry for a day, then start the fight again. Because you have no choice. This is your life now.
Black water. The painful, never-ending crawl through the aftermath of a disaster.
After many workshops and experiments, you eventually end up with a tone of little watercolor tubes lying around. I recently hit on a solution that I really like. I dug up an old butcher’s pans that I used for puddles (Janet Rogers). They are metal, which is important.
I then ordered a ton of half-pans and quarter-pans from Amazon. And magnetic stripping, which I glued to the bottom of each pan.
Marked each pan with the color and manufacturer, and filled it up.
Voila! Before I start each painting, I set up my usual colors, and add in any that might work work that particular work.
All of the rest stay in a second pan.
Do Me a Flavor was recently selected for the Southern Watercolor Society 41st Annual Juried Exhibition in Bradenton, Florida.
The juror will be John Salminen, and it will be on display from May 15, 2018 through June 22, 2018.
- Metamorphisis was selected for the 2018 Georgia Watercolor Society National Exhibit.
- Awarded with the GWS Peach Award (highest award for Georgia residents included in the competition) and 7th place nationally.
- GWS signature status achieved
Juror: Kathleen Conover
A little different of an approach for me. I have been experimenting with applying a gesso and matte medium mixture to my paper before applying paint. It give is a more textured appearance. Before applying any paint, I used butterfly stencils (using cardboard) and sponged on the mixture, to echo the butterfly on her shirt and play on the metamorphosis theme.