Questions from young artists, Part 9 of 10

Young student at work

Question 25: When did you start painting?

I answered this sort of in earlier questions, but it started with art classes in school and pencils and paper at home. For this reason, I believe everyone should have the opportunity to experience making things and making art as early and often as possible. The photo above is one of the keiki I taught watercolor to at Palama Settlementʻs afterschool enrichment program for keiki 7-11. It doesnʻt take many lessons to introduce watercolor to keiki and if they had the opportunity to paint as often as they wished into middle and high school, they would be capable of amazing things. I met a few of you at Farrington after some of you or your siblings had taken my classes or from some other teacher who presented watercolor as fun. It was the reason you signed up for art classes-remembering those positive happy experiences.

Question 26: Why watercolor? Why not other kinds of painting?

I make art in different media but always return to watercolor. It suits my personality and temperament. I like to play with water. I like to have immediate feedback on what I do–it is why I like golfing too. I like how watercolor above all other mediums can be transparent or opaque and layered or just a simple stroke to get down what I want, what is needed. I love that there are so many ways to come to the same conclusion, an image but you are not stuck in doing it the same way with the same colors every time. I like playing with color and watching the water move as I pull, push or drop it into place. Oil painting is fun too, pushing around the paint, but it feels like work and watercolor feels like play, pure joy.

I also love how watercolor is alive when it is done. When you hang it up it will have a different look at different times of day because it takes on the lighting of the surroundings more than other media. It lives and breathes in your home or office.

Question 27: What is the ratio of water to paint to create a breathtaking piece?

This was a fun question because it was so unusual. I would say it depends. Some paintings need a lot of layers, and there is no limit to the amount. I did a piece where I had more than 25 layers, I honestly think it could have been closer to 50. But it was worth it, because it is alive, as I described above. When the light changes from early morning to midday to evening, it changes too. It is because the value structure and color temperatures are designed to be that way and it changes mood and even, I imagine sometimes weather. But sometimes I am trying to get down a scene in as little strokes as possible and paint alla prima in watercolor. Then, there is alot of white paper left and less paint on the paper but it still feels finished and complete. I hope I understood the question.