I discovered my "talent" as an artist in third grade. The nuns were always praising my drawings. By middle school and high school I was always taking an art related course as an elective. And by college I chose Graphic Arts as my major in a two-year college, fine arts as my Bachelor degree, and Art History as my Master's degree.
Teaching is a different entity in which to work. Loved it, but I spent most of my time making lesson plans, gathering materials for those lessons, and helping other teachers with their bulletin boards. There never seemed to be enough time to "make art" for myself.
Enter many more years. I worked in a few private museums. After grad school, I got a job at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT. Then, I met my husband and started a new life in Virginia.
I'm a believer in "right place, right time." I've never been afraid of technology, even as I learn as I go (which can be a slow process). I'm willing to try new things. This thing called Twitter came along and the first person that I followed was Dr. Bertice Berry. I had heard her speak at a Creative Memories Convention in 2005. For those that don't know her, she is an amazing woman, a soulful soul, an inspiration who was born to lift all those she comes in contact with, if that person is willing. This was her tweet: "If you could do something new and different what would it be?" I replied: "Illustrate a children's book".
Within the hour I heard from her directly. The plan began. We have become kindred souls. When I knew that I had to start painting to prepare for this new adventure as a book illustrator, I knew that I must hone my skills with watercolor. I fell in love with the wonderful medium. People will say it's hard. Yes, it can be unforgiving but I love the "happy, little accidents" a la, Bob Ross.
Here I am. Let me paint in watercolor. The first painting that I did was this owl.
I titled the painting
"The Less He Spoke", after
an English nursery rhyme.
I found myself passionately loving this medium of watercolor paint. Watercolor (or watercolour) goes back to ancient times. I love the luminous, translucent quality. I love the fluid, sometimes unexpected, way the paint moves along with the brush to create colors that are alive and bright with possibilities.
You can check my blog posts on the art supplies that I recommend:
If you have read my blogs you know my subject matter: nature, animals, birds, flowers, insects and anything that delights my eye, and I hope those that view my paintings. I say paintings, but I add pen and ink to many of my works. I speak to the joy of the mediums together in Pen, Ink and Watercolor.
I use various techniques which are more easily seen, rather than written about, and you can watch these videos on Annie Mason's YouTube channel. If you visit, please LIKE any videos that you do watch, and SUBSCRIBE to my channel so that you can see more watercolor videos. Most are very short.
For those of you who might be thinking about starting out with watercolor painting here are some of my recommendations. Opinions are my own.
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And for the more seasoned painter:
Back to my story of Dr. Bertice Berry and me. Our collaboration as author and illustrator is very close to being completed. I will be writing more about this when it is available to the public. It is, indeed, "right place, right time", and it is VERY EXCITING.
Check Dr. Berry's Facebook page.
For now, if you know someone who has a desire to paint consider gifting one of the books that I have recommended above. Sometimes it's just the right thing to give that young person a little nudge. Like the response to Dr. Berry's tweet. If I had not "acted" with an answer to her tweet question I could never have called myself a book illustrator.
Here's a sneak peek:
"When You Walk with Purpose, You Collide with Destiny" ~ Dr. Bertice Berry