Art and Discovery


Student Work of Sunset & Reflections

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” Mark Van Dorn

I have eleven students in my watercolor class this session. The class is an introduction to basic techniques of watercolor. Students work on guided projects to develop their skill with the media. Early practice includes value studies and the relationship of water and pigment to produce a range of lightness and darkness in a particular hue. Other techniques of masking and lifting color in the roof of the barn.


Student Work of Wet Into Wet Using Value

Another project emphasizes using a flat color wash, perspective, and color mixing of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna.


Student Work Using Color Mixing & Perspective

Another project featured Wet Into Wet using varied color mixing for a sunset.  Students also expand their skills with mixing Alizarin Crimson and Phthalo Green to make a dark gray for the shadows.


Student Painting in Watercolor

I continue to enjoy the challenges of teaching.  I have had a student comment that I have “helpful ideas and tools which helps build confidence and skill.” Teaching also has benefits for me as an artist whether I am working in watercolor, or another medium.  In the words of John Cotton Dana, “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”



The Summer of 1973

Painting 1973

Painting 1973

Has it really been 40 years since the summer of 1973? What were you doing then?
I was taking an oil painting class offered by the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts at Tufts University. The professor made an interesting assemblage of found objects on the front table and it was the subject of one of the paintings. In the background we listened to the proceedings of the Watergate Hearings. No classical music for painting in “the zone”. It was the sound of the DNC, John Dean, and details of the break-in. It was not the “Sounds of Silence”. It was the Summer of our Discontent, the resignation of Richard Nixon, and the oil embargo.
That summer also was a time of change for me. Although, I had taken studio art and art history during college, nineteen seventy three was the year that I decided to change the course from classroom teaching to focus on Art Education and become an art teacher. It was a good decision and one that I have enjoyed over the years.

Summer: Water, Salt, Shells With the Beach

At Work – Nature’s Sketchbook

Nature’s Sketchbook Favorites

It was a busy two weeks of art classes this summer in Livermore.  My group of students had fun with salt and  plastic wrap and how they create different effects in Wild Watercolor.

The Nature’s  Sketchbook group showed the natural beauty of birds, seashells, and flowers. Nature’s subtle colors and textures became part of their drawings.  They were great students of Mother Nature in the class held at the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District summer classes at the Community Center.

After ten days of teaching, it was time to return to my art.  The following weekend in July it was the Art Under the Oaks show at Alden Lane Nursery. It is always a fun show and I enjoy visiting with friends and sharing my work with those who stop by.

Beginning to work at Alden Lane

Then in August it was time to head back home to Massachusetts and spend some time painting by the beaches off 6A on Cape Cod.  Check back again to see what the area inspires.

12 Easels + 1

12 Easels + 1.

12 Easels + 1

 It was three days with 12 artists at their easels…and pastelist Tina Moore leading a workshop for the Pleasanton Art League…plus more pastel sticks with names like Terry Ludwig, Great American, Rembrandt, Girault, Sennelier, and NuPastel.  Setting aside time to devote to learn new techniques, exchange art ideas, experiment with new materials, and get individual attention while working on a painting is the strength of attending an art workshop with an accomplished artist.  Tina was especially good at one-on-one coaching at the easel.

I have been fortunate to have attended some great workshops in the last few years with Clark Mitchell, Kim Lordier, Terri Ford, Teresa Saia, and Doug Dawson in pastel and Bryan Mark Taylor, Sylvia Miller, Joyce Faulknor, and Susan Cornelis in a variety of  media.  Some have met on location in vineyards, arid hillsides, by a river, or in the studio. Why so many workshops?  I am workshop chair for my art league which now hosts three workshops a year. It’s my job.  So many of the skills of one media are relevant to other media.  It’s all ART!

Tina Moore Demonstrating

Clark Mitchell on Location

Kim Lordier On Location