Finding community; finding the story

Watercolor workshop at the Hearst Center, Cedar Falls

Watercolor workshop at the Hearst Center, Cedar Falls

Last week I was in Cedar Falls for a watercolor workshop at the Hearst Center for the Arts. I arrived the night before to attend a get-together held by local watercolorists (many of whom also attended the workshop). It was a treat to visit with other artists and see what they’re up to! I’ve known some of them for quite a few years. They’d heard about my plans to move, and were interested in where I’m going and how I’m going to continue my art.

As I told them, when you move or do something new, the first thing to do is find a community. You can get so much more done when you can network with people. I’ve already found a sketchers’ group in the Iowa City area; they wander around, meeting in coffee shops and people’s homes. It’s not about being in charge, or teaching, just having a good time drawing with others.

The watercolor workshop was about finding the story in your paintings — not doing the same thing over and over, but stretching into being more authentic. Paint your authentic self, your authentic moment in time; nobody else has done that, and your work will be truly original! I’ve seen how judges are drawn to original material, which has essence or depth. When you’re painting “in the moment” — allowing it to develop on its own, not prescribed — the painting has its own life.

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