Through the quirky way she interprets dreams, art, and day-to-day stuff ~ Dorothy's dream of painting the lavender fields of Provence became real. Her book about painting in France, Discovering Joy's Garden, transformed into this inspirational website.
This pastel painting called “Two Sisters,” painted in 1979 remained in my thoughts. 40 years later the image found its way into my studio on a piece of silk. “Why am I still working on this?”
I didn’t have an answer. I only had the same question I’ve had for forty years.
“Who are the two sisters anyway?”
Clues showed their faces . . .
On the face side, discovering silk stashed in the closet I wondered, “Why is this still here?” I moved it from place to place, undecided what to do with it. Finally after painting the Winter Solstice silk jacket, I thought I’d try the same with this.
Inspired by the “Two Sisters” pastel painting I’d done in 1979, the silk was more saturated.
I guess you could say the same about me, saturated.
I used to wear bold artsy clothing like this. OMG! Trying to think of when that was ~ I remember wearing stunning colors like this just before Mom died. It’s been 27 years!
Not wishing to open the door and look, I felt to hesitant to pick up the paint brush and work with this silk. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that feeling resistance is a sure sign there’s magic just on the other side.
“Feeling resistance is a sure sign there’s magic just on the other side.”
I picked up the paint brush ~ following the thread of inspiration is the path of lease resistance, a lot easier than talking back to the Creator.
Around the same time, these two oil paintings were sitting around the studio. Seems everywhere I turned ~ there they were staring at me.
Inspired by another painting I just couldn’t let go of, “The Pond Within,” I blew up sections of it onto canvases of their own ~ so I could explore.
Exploring in a Foreign Land
Painting them felt so foreign, I actually used pics of the section to help block in each of the new paintings. While I was doing that, the images kept inverting themselves.
This may not seem weird to you. But after painting for 45 years, I have never done such a thing! If I want to draw something, I just do it. Following a pattern of my own making as if I’ve never seen it before ~ new territory.
OMG, that’s her! I see her peeking over the mountain. Like a stop-action flip book, she jumped to life on the pages of my journal.
She’s rising up!
Her heart is coming together in the center and filling her with energy!
She’s stretching her wings …
I couldn’t wait to see what she would look like in color! I transferred the small oil study to a large canvas and picked up the brush.
So how is “Goddess Rising” related to “Two Sisters?”
I didn’t get it right away.
I finished sewing the scarf, and thought perhaps the two sisters were myself as a painter and fiber artist?
Certainly I could see the symbolism of the goddess and the pond within as my Creative ~ divine and human selves. But there was more.
Writing articles I recognized a soul sister I’d overlooked. My mother, who taught me to sew, to garden, and encouraged me to paint ~ was the soul sister I was missing! She’d faded from my life, just as faint as photos in the album.
Sure I thought of her. But I didn’t recognize our divine relationship as soul sisters. To me she was still the mother who died before her time.
Now she is my divine partner in living. Her memory is vivid and so are the colors on my paintings. Together we tap into the goddess energy ~ divine inspiration that uplifts all of us together.
The important thing about experimental watercolor painting is using good pigments. Not because you think you are going to make good paintings ~ because good pigments give rich colors your heart can feel. THIS is important!
If your heart doesn’t beat a little faster when you see the color hit your paper, you haven’t made the connection!
You will know you’ve made the all important connection when you feel your heart say, “oh wow I love that,”
Artist’s paints are true pigments with rich formulations. Student paints are not. They are diluted synthetic substitutes. It will be very difficult (if not impossible) for your heart to feel the energy of color resonance with them. If you are trying to save money, buy only a few good artist’s colors and use them. Don’t waste your money on student grade paint.
Artist Quality Pigments
My watercolor palette consists of only 6 colors. I use two reds, Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red Medium; two blues, Ultramarine Blue and Cerulian Blue; and two yellows, Lemon Yellow and Cadmium Yellow Medium. With watercolor you do not need white paint.
One small tube of each will last a long time. Each brush stroke is 80% water and 20% pigment. This is another reason good pigments are so important.
My palette will help you learn to mix colors. The three primary colors, red, blue and yellow, are used to create most secondary and tertiary colors. By the time you need other colors on your palette, you will know which ones you can’t mix with these.
What to Paint On?
How color feels depends on what it is next to. If you paint a stroke of brilliant red paint on a greenish sheet of paper, it will look dull and lifeless. You will think you can’t paint! And you will give up and never feel the thrill of color beating in your heart.
Use good quality watercolor paper like ARCHES. Or make your own painting panels with Absorbent White Gesso so your colors will make your heart sing. This is why you are painting in the first place?
When I picked watercolor back up after 30 years, I bought 4 packs of Strathmore Watercolor Postcards for pocket change. Painting 30 of them changed my life.
Brushes, Pens & Palette
Two brushes are sufficient. I use one 1/2″ flat and one #8 pointed round brush. I currently use Creative Mark’s Minik brushes because they are less expensive than sables and hold up well to my abuse.
The biggest mistake is using a brush that is small. My two brushes look too big to many beginners. A big brush helps you see the big shapes of color. Keep it simple, bold and big ~ especially on a postcard sized painting.
Felt Tip Pens
On my way to France, I picked up two felt tip pens, one sage green the other sienna. These colors are earthy, so when I draw back into my painting with a few squiggly lines it grounds the fluid dream to the page. You might prefer different colors. Use your gut and pick two.
A flat 9 x 12 plastic palette is inexpensive, less than $8 and can be slipped into a plastic bag. It does not matter if the watercolor paint dries out on the palette. Just add water to soften the paint. To wash it off, simply rinse under a faucet and wipe with a paper towel.
Eight small wells are for paint squeezed from the tube. 12 large wells are for mixing colors together with lots of water. LOTS OF WATER is the key to painting with watercolors.
I have seen people use white plastic plates as palettes. This could work, but would be awkward and get expensive. Without separate wells to mix colors, you would going through plates quickly.