As long as I can remember, I have loved nature and beautiful things and have been crafty (not in a sly way). My husband calls me the “World’s oldest Brownie.” I have done macramé, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, stained glass, cross stitch, rubber stamping, sewing, beading, etc. I have always admired those who could paint, but never had the nerve to try it – because I didn’t think I could. That all changed in 2002 when I took the risk and started a watercolor class with a wonderful teacher, the late, great Marshal McDaniels. That class, and the subsequent 5 ½ years, changed my life forever. I was totally hooked and mesmerized. I couldn’t learn fast enough and watercolor became my passion.
After Marshal’s passing in 2007, I was instrumental in trying to get his students to continue painting, as this was one of his last wishes. One thing led to another, and I suddenly found myself helping other students with their paintings. As a result, to make a long story short, I began teaching one class a week. Demand was such that I ended up leasing a studio, and now hold 5 classes per week. That was 6 ½ years ago. I wanted to give back to others what I had learned and pass on the passion for watercolors.
When I began teaching, I had no idea how rewarding it could be. I also became a better artist for it. It is not unusual for me to hear from a new student that I won’t be able to teach them to paint. I’m proud to say that I met that challenge, and the look on their faces when they complete their first paintings is the major reason I teach. Many of my students have gone on to show in galleries and sell their work at art shows.
In addition to my time with Marshal, I have also studied under some great watercolorists. Claudia Nice lives in Oregon and has published a dozen or so art books and videos. I am grateful to her for teaching me how to paint animals, especially their eyes. I am also grateful to Susan Bourdet. Susan, who also lives in Oregon, is an author of 2 wonderful watercolor books and several videos, and publishes 3 beautiful calendars each year that are sold nationally. Susan has visited my studio on two separate occasions to conduct workshops for my students. You can look Susan up on Amazon.com.
I encourage everyone to pick up a paint brush and give it a try. Developing an artist’s eye expands the way we see the world. Shadows we never noticed before become apparent. The textures and hues of color in the beauty that surrounds us generates an inspiration that demands we interpret what we see and feel on paper. Artistic creativity allows us to experience life.
- I told Marianne I would be her biggest challenge. She gave me a knowing smile and encouraged me to dive in and paint. She made a believer out of me. I can’t stop painting now.
–Laura Rich, Student