Art can be many things to many people. Part of watercolor art for me is a personal challenge that started well over a decade ago, where I had been an artist my entire life, worked professionally in several disciplines and mediums, and taught children how to be artists and how that can be take many forms over their life, but it was time for me to grow again as an artist with a new form of painting.
No matter how we grew up, where we lived, how many times we moved, or how chaotic our lives are now, we all have a few special locations throughout our lives that have always been there for us and set themselves apart from any other spot on this planet. Some of us have several special places and they could be scattered throughout the world, and some of us have just a solitary place that is uniquely ours. Some of us seek a quiet place for times of reflection where we can be still and present, and some of us find solace in the energy of the general store in the center of town. "Painting Your Place" is an opportunity for you to share that place with others, but in a way that a photo can't. Watercolor is an interpretation of our world and the colors, luminance, and the hardness or softness of the paint that make your place tell the story of what it means to you.
My place is a small nook of land along the coast of southern Maine, and it is the simplicity that speaks to me. I have gone back to the same place for decades, and find a unique sense of life with every visit when I sit on the adirondack chair that rests at the edge of the land where it plummets into rocks and crashing waves just a few feet away, and the rhythm of the waves and warmth of the sun is different every time, but the same. The painting of that place hangs on my living room wall and I often find myself sitting down after a long day of errands or painting and am drawn to the painting and drift away into one of those thousands of moments I have had sitting on that chair. It may look like an adirondack chair that is resting on a small piece of grass in front of a cabin at the edge of a small cliff to everyone else, but it is the place where everything comes together for me.
I want to share the same gift that I have with others so when they find themselves shuffling through their living room to get dinner ready or need to take a moment away from work at their desk to think, the painting of their place is waiting for them on the mantle or on the wall, and can go back there and be reminded that those moments are just a thought away.
You may already know exactly where and what "Your Place" is, or you may have an idea of your place but may need to take some time to discover it. Either way, the process begins with a conversation about "Your Place" and what the meaning is for you and where that meaning manifests itself in the scene. It can time to walk around and look for the right perspective to capture the scene in such a way that feels just "right" for you.
In some cases, it will not be possible to take a trip to physically explore your place, and in those instances, I can paint from photographs. It is much more preferable to be in the setting and to experience how it feels, and to also take several reference photos, but if the only source of reference for your place is from photographs of your own it is perfectly fine. If you are getting a painting of "Your Place" and it is a surprise gift for someone it may not be possible for me to paint "plein air" at the location or your place may be one like mine in Maine and it is more practical to paint from photos, so try not to think of the limits but the possibilities!
Once we have agreed upon the perspective of your place I take all of my reference photos, the way the place felt, and your interpretation of what the meaning is of the place to you and I begin painting! While many of my original works are done "plein air" and outside in the elements, many of them are finished at home using many techniques that bring the painting to life but require the paint to be dry.
Once the painting is finished we have a few options to make it come together as a final presentation.