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Watching paint dry

I have enjoyed painting for as long as I can remember. Starting with poster paints at school and then moving on to oils later (oh, the smell of them!) I eventually settled on watercolours as my medium of choice. Despite having painted for so many years, I’m very much a learner and always will be.

My first teacher was Jack Kilgour who taught me at school. An inspiring man and gifted artist, I owe so much to his enthusiasm. My last teacher was John Russell, who retired from our art group when he was over 90 years old. His hands were shaky by then but his eye was quick and his advice well worth following.

One of the things I love about watercolours is that they contribute to a painting. Oils and acrylics go where you put them and stay there. Watercolours are different. They flow through and weave around each other. Using them really wet and then sitting back and watching what happens is like watching an act of creation.


Dry blocks in my paint box

challenge me:

Cerulean blue, New Gamboge

and Alizarin Crimson,

names that make me tingle

with anticipation.

Will they give themselves

to the happy accidents

water-colourists dream of?

Will they flow into,

grow into Meconopsis,

the Himalayan blue poppies

that bloom in my mind’s eye?


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