Questions from young artists, Part 4 of 10

Anchor. 22x32inches Transparent watercolor. Copyright Dawn Yoshimura.

Question 10: How did you get into watercolor?

I answered some of this question earlier, but I would say I got into watercolor after I finished college and had my first real ʻartʻ job working at a newspaper. It was stressful, deadline driven work indoors on a computer most of the time. When I was done at work, I used to snorkel the outside of Hanauma Bay and go home with the windows down to see the ocean. If I didnʻt have time to do this, I would sit in traffic with my windows rolled down and enjoy Kalihi Valley and on the other side after the Wilson tunnel, the Kaneohe side of the Koolau. I never felt upset that way, about traffic. But, I got into watercolor because I needed a creative outlet for myself, and so after being invited to a plein air group, I bought some paints, brushes and paper and started going out to parks, Foster Gardens was my first spot. Ulumau Village or Heeia State Park was my favorite spot because I found I like to paint alone. At home, I like to paint alone with no music or anything to disturb me.

Question 11: Whatʻs your favorite watercolor piece you have done?

I posted Anchor above, but I have favorites at different times depending on what the major questions I am thinking about at the time. Bezalelʻs Calling was an important painting for me because I was really wrestling with the idea of who are my artistic ancestors? Who am I? In Exodus 31:1-10 God tells Moses he has the right artist who can bring to reality all the articles needed for the Israelites to worship Him. He calls him by name, Bezalel and his partner, Oholiab who will lead the work. Anchor was my favorite for the past few years because it has my beloved Koolau mountains which looks like a mighty cathedral, a holy mountain, and my home.

Question 12: Whatʻs your least favorite part about watercolor?

I donʻt know if I have a least favorite part, but I love the way watercolor helps you paint. If you let it, it will do the most beautiful blends and mixes. It is also so responsive to your touch. So maybe what I like least sometimes, is how it doesnʻt lie. If I am impatient or tired, and try to rush something, it will show and I am often not happy with the results. So you need to be patient and kind with yourself when you paint watercolor. You need to be totally present. When you paint, you have to be 100% committed like a samurai in battle and not hesitate. And yet, you canʻt force it, without it looking forced. So for control freaks it is not a good medium. It also shows if you canʻt draw, so maybe that is the part I like and donʻt like about watercolor.