As much as I was spinning stories in my head and jotting them down, I also had a second love -- art. Sometimes my pencil went to paper and a heroine's journey came alive, while at other times, pencil went to paper and I captured their world in vivid detail. I've always been an amateur artist, taking numerous classes and dabbling in several mediums from graphite to charcoal, pastels, and pen and ink. Then I discovered Winslow Homer's paintings and fell in love with watercolor.
I love the beauty of the flowing, merging washes. I love its transparency. I love how it can be extremely detailed like some of Edward Hopper's works or incredibly loose like those of Maurice Prendergast. I love the wet, luminous qualities of J.M.W. Turner's London sunsets and the dry, scraped, churning seas by Winslow Homer.
I've studied under wonderful New England watercolor artists such as Nancy Walton http://www.jackjonesart.com/artisthomepage.cfm?AcctNumber=238 and Andrew Kusmin www.kusminsarts.com . I am presently doing a five week workshop taught by Marla Greenfield http:/marlagreenfield.com who was featured in the Winter edition of American Artist Watercolor. I'm learning to do layered glazes and loving it!
Through the years, I've discovered a lot of similarities between the two arts. In writing, a story comes alive through conflict. In art, the contrasts of lights and darks make a painting more vibrant. Both need good composition with a compelling subject matter. While one can revise a manuscript forever, it's also hard to know when painting is quite finished. Both can become overworked. While sharp dialogue makes the characters jump off the page, adding a shadow to a shape can make it spring from the canvas. Writers struggle to find their voice, artists strive to get a signature, something that makes their work recognizable.
Alas, in both mediums, one can get blocked. So when my writing muse is stubbornly silent, I pick up brush and palette and hope to release my creative outlet there. When the blank canvas defeats me, I turn to writing. If both outlets fail me, I pick up a good book and dive into another love!