Watercolor exhibitions- 2012

I have been painting watercolors for less than a year.

Yes, I have a painting degree from University of Michigan, so I do have experience in watercolor (2 classes- one taught very badly).  But I also have experience in oils, acrylic, printmaking, sculpture, etc.  And illustration.  And photography.  Basically, I had no idea what I wanted to do after college.

I pursued photography when I graduated.  Somehow, I conned someone into giving me a job at a camera store- where I learned about blowing-yourself-up-if-you-unplugged-a-head-from-a-power-pack when-it-was-still-live, and what not-to-drop.  Survival skills for the 20th and 21st century.

12 years later, after working with Lonely Planet Images, Alamy, agefotostock, and photographing hundreds of weddings, my first day of “freedom”  (my 3-year old started pre-k from 9-12), consisted of coming home.   Instead of sitting on the porch and reading a magazine, I watched a John Salminen video thru CCP.  I had been thinking about painting again, and decided to get back into the field.

Watching the video deflated me.  I sucked!  And I knew it.  Salminen was so good.

I was not good.


You have to start somewhere.  So I  subscribed to watercolor magazines, bought the Splash series books from ebay, and began to think color.  I had to relearn the names of the pigments, their properties, etc, boring, etc, boring (unnecessary details) blah, blah, blah.

In college, my watercolors were meticulous.  Detailed.  Took forever to paint.  Realistic.  I hated them.  Instead, I took pictures and was happier.

Several things change your perspective in life:  kids, and time.

The kids are going to wake up early, and you have less time.

So I painted fast.

And the results were not bad!

Watercolor of Nepal

Watercolor painting of Nepalese city of Bhaktapur, Nepal


Granted, this was a 1/4 sheet of paper, using a limited palette of browns with a few blues .  I was happy with the results, and so were the Illinois Watercolor Society and the 2012 Small Waters Competition show.  The painting was accepted by juror Suzanne Hetzel, PWS, IWS, LWS!

The painting of the Nepalese temple was a compilation of several photographs of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bhaktapur, and artistic liberties were taken with the shapes of foreground and background buildings.

I entered more competitions.  Unfortunately, since I have so little time to paint, I had to be very careful about the amount of competitions I enter since I have so few paintings completed.

Yes, there have been rejections.  I know this.  It’s expected.  Art is subjective.


Nearing the end of 2012, my work has been accepted into such shows as:

The 31t AnnualAdirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors

Judged by Paul Jackson, I was ecstatic to be included in the  show.  I was even going to fly to NY to attend the opening.

Until United cancelled the flight.  I’m not bitter, even though my next painting will be named:  UNITED CANCELLED MY FLIGHT.

I guess the plane was struck by lightning…..

So I couldn’t make the reception for the Adirondacks show.  There will be other shows.

And there was…

Well, I was accepted into the upcoming 2012Watercolor Society of North Carolina Show in Elizabeth City, NC.

Jurored by John Salminen himself!

Again, I was so excited to be included in this show, judged by one of the best watercolorists of our time.  Since I live in North Carolina, I envisioned a week renting a house in the Outer Banks (OBX), taking his workshop.

Well, I am still going to take the workshop.  But I will miss the reception for the show. My younger brother decided to get married in Colorado on short notice.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  I will miss the show reception.  John will understand.  But I will attend his scheduled workshop.

Finally, I had another painting accepted into a major show- the 2012 Pittsburgh Watercolor Society Show.

Watercolor of Inle Lake

This painting was inspired by watercolorist Gerard Hendricks.  I threw paint, splattered it, and had fun.  Using a limited palette helped.  I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

2012 was not a bad year.

2013 will be better, right?



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