The Tao of Watercolors

Do you ever find yourself confounded by the world and your place within it? When you look around does it look as if everyone else understands things that you do not? Or does it appear like no one has a sense of where they are going? At times like these, I find my best answers through the experience of art. Art picks up where words leave off. When you allow yourself to engage in the creative process, there is a direct experience of source or spirit. You become a co creator with life. You begin to explore the mysteries of your own Innerlandscape.

My art is the art of transformation; the transformation that happens on a deep emotional level. I am moved by a flower, a piece of music or the intense experience of being human and I am compelled to express my reaction to the object or event through color, line and movement. I do not begin a painting knowing where it will lead me. I may be feeling down or exhausted or confused. I may be joyous or calm or uncertain. I move to my palette and select the color to which I am drawn to and start . I am transformed by music. I will put on a favorite piece and paint to the music, letting my colors express the notes and the lines sing the melody. Perhaps, I am in desperate need of a break, I can create a tropical paradise. Although I am sitting within my mountainous environment, I pull my forth memory of snorkeling in the South Pacific; I breathe in the scents of plumeria, hibiscus and ginger and from this kinesthetic and emotional place I paint.

In all my paintings, I aim to express the emotional sense within the painting: an experience of the scene or moment rather than a direct representation of what is in front of me. I do not concern myself with the rational sense of perspective dimension and ‘how it should look. I love to paint it is something that emerges from deep within me. I connect with the colors and movement of the medium whether it be pastel, oil or watercolor and let the painting emerge. While I surrender to the moment of art, the Tao, I will return to the painting to enhance my message with the tools I have learned through education and experience. I am often asked “how do you do this?” I try to become fully present and then surrender to the emotions and images that flow through me. . Many people have said my art speaks to them. Others may feel moved but have no words to describe why of how. Others will not like my work at all. We all understand things from different points of view.

7 Simple Steps

  • 1. Choosing Materials. You have many choices when working with watercolors.  Good paper and good paint do make a difference in the quality of your work.  Good paints have more vibrancy and pigment.  Good paper will hold more water and give you more control.     My favorite paints include Holbein or Windsor Newton in the tubes.  Tubes allow you to work with intense color.  The more water you add the more pastel the color.  If you do not have a palette, an ice cube tray will do.  Choose a watercolor paper that is at least 14 0#.  I like Arches, but there are a variety of choices available to you. If you just want to play around, the Liquid Watercolors from Discount School Supply will allow lots of experimentation and fun with far less cost than professional grade materials. Coffee filters ( basket type) can be used for paper.

  • 2. Arrange Your Colors. on the palette. Use all of your colors and leave spaces to blend colors together and dilute different shades.

  • 3. Tape Down Several Pieces of Paper because once you get started, you may want to continue without having to stop.  Use painters tape of masking tape to define the edges of your paper.  You can spray the paper and let it dry to size it.  I use 300# paper and get it very wet to work directly in a wet on wet approach.

  • 4. Let the Colors Choose You. Put on a piece of music and allow your colors to move to its rhythms.

  • 5. Let Your Colors Flow. Drop colors by paint brush, sponge or eyedroppers. If they start to get muddy move to another sheet of paper.  Enjoy the movement and blending of the colors.

  • 6. Engage in the Creative Process of life and enjoy the moment.

  • 7. Rest. Time for assimilation is crucial to the processes of creativity, transformation and healing.

I believe we are undergoing a time of great transformation on the planet:  a time where image and word will merge and coexist rather than compete in importance.  Brain research now indicates that our first experience of anything is emotion based and first processed through the body for a response and before being sent to the frontal cortex for and assigned meaning and value.  With this information there is a new respect for emotional intelligence and, perhaps, a deeper respect for the intuitive knowing that happens before words and speech.  In my own world, it is this knowing that has guided my art.  When I fail to honor this knowing and act based only on expectation and rational mind, I inevitably cause myself greater challenge and strife.  My abilities to verbalize my intuitive and emotional experience allow me to express more of who I truly am and help others to understand this as well.  I am often viewed as a compassionate friend and mirror. While I don’t embrace and unconditionally accept all of what I see happening in the world today, I do try to understand the fear, pain and ignorance the motivates any unspeakable action.  Life can be magnificent, challenging and confusing. I will continue to define and express my message with hopes of inspiring thought emotion and beauty.   I believe that by accessing our creative centers and expressing our own experience we can transcend our fears and our limited views, move into an expansive future, and touch the divine.   The next time that you are feeling challenged or stuck, disillusioned or bored, try letting go of the need to figure it out to make it better. Remove yourself from purposeful activity and let yourself gently flow into the next step without knowing where you are going or what will happen once you arrive.  Allow the changes you have made and the beauty you have expressed to takes it course refining your Innerlandscape and your contribution to the world.