Friday, July 10, 2009
Once I Ccould Do Watercolor
I scanned these old photographs into the computer in order to preserve them, though I couldn't get them to look exactly as they do. In any case, the top one is a watercolor I did on the street in Rockport. Looking at it, I am transported there. I remember the day, the ocean air, the smell of the water behind me. I believe this is an Inn on Atlantic Avenue where I stayed during one of the workshops.
I guess Thelma's death is making me unusually nostalgic, though I have always envied my way of painting back then. I get out the watercolor paintings I have left from those days and wish I could still paint like that. I think again how my style in that medium came naturally under Betty Lou's guidance. I did not struggle then to make my brushwork look like Emile Gruppe's. I had my own brushstrokes. I had my own way of doing things.
The winter before last I tried to get my skills back. Eventually I liked what I did, but it lacked the excitement and spontaneity that is so characteristic of the older ones. You could see the carefulness.....you could see me sitting in my chair with furrowed forehead, concentrating on small areas of the paper. You could imagine me paying attention to the painting and not the subject, picking at sections that only vaguely reminded you of other pictures of water or trees. You could not feel the air, or the heat, or the wind.
Yesterday I took my easel outdoors, to the boatyard, with Diana and another painter. I wondered if being outside would help, though I took my acrylic paints which suddenly felt static and dull. There was a little something there, though....the hint of a possibility.