I am writing this blog because I really wanted to share a recent experience I had. A few months ago I had a chance to do some painting with water colors. Yes I know, as kids most of used watercolors at one time or another, but for me that was almost 30 years ago. Sometime back in February a few class mates gave a lesson on painting with watercolors. When I was a kid, I vaguely remember using watercolor paint to do VERY simple things like paint be number. I am almost positive, that my parents got me watercolor paint due to the fact you can scrub it out if it gets on your clothes. If oil paints were less messy and more kid friendly I sure I might have used those as well. So anyway, when my class mates gave us the mini lesson on using watercolor paints I couldn’t believe that not only did I enjoy it, but I actually painted a really nice Valentines card for my wife. Now, you must keep in mind that I was born with-out even one strand of artistic DNA in my body. One time I drew a stick figure and apparently it looked like a spider. I CAN NOT DRAW, but guess what? I can paint. I am by no means an artist but that’s not the point. Painting with watercolors is a lot of fun I would suggest that anyone should give it a try. If you find the time, here is a link that is very user friendly. It shows you everything from the materials through exercises that will help you become a better painter.
I know it is easy for me to talk all day about the fact that it is never too late to start painting, but I think that it will be much more convincing to introduce you to Chris Blevins. Chris is a watercolor artist from the state of Washington that as you might guess, starting painting much later in life. Chris Blevins spent the first half of her life not having anything to do with the world of art; in fact she even failed art class in grade school. At the age of 48 Chris was pressured by friends and local artists Chris Walling and Laura Gable to try painting as a new hobby. Being an open minded person, Mrs. Blevins decided to sign up for 10 watercolor lessons and see what might come of it. Chris said “by the third of the ten lessons I was hooked”. One of the reasons I chose to talk about Chris is the fact that she begins many of her lessons without any sort of a plan; I think that is inspirational. She loves working with watercolors because of their fluidity and unpredictability.
Part of the fun of learning how to paint and thinking outside the box is experimentation. A perfect example of experimental painting is Chris’s use of coffee grounds in some of her works. Chris said “For those of you who know me, you probably know I do not like coffee. What, you say? Blasphemy in the land of the birthplace of Starbucks! LOL. It may redeem me somewhat that I at least like the smell of coffee if not the taste.” With coffee everywhere in our society Chris found a way to use it in her paintings. In one of her paintings, Orchid Spring Chris used a technique she learned in one of her watercolor classes to make this painting really POP. There are workshops in Washington to teach you how to use coffee in your paintings, but personally I think it might be more fun to experiment for yourself. If you were to ask Chris how she gets her best results she will tell you “My best results are when I get out of the way and let the painting happen through me”.
Since 2008 Chris’s art work has been in many shows and she has donated almost a dozen pieces of work to benefit charity organizations. Mrs. Blevins most exciting moment to date is said to be a winning an annual competition held by The Artists Magazine in the Abstract/Experimental category. I personally think that Chris has done some really nice artworks and encourage you to check them out at the link below.
Thank you for reading, Ben Stevens
Ben Stevens, Sergeant in the US ARMY and Graduate Student. I come from a very diverse background. I grew up in a small town outside Albany, NY. I split my Undergraduate Degree between Oklahoma State and Buffalo State College. I have been to almost a dozen different countries with Iraq being my least favorite. I currently have a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology Education and I am obtaining my Master Degree in the same discipline. Currently I work for a local Charter School designing the curriculum for a Boat Building Design and Production program. Thanks for reading my post and I hope to write again soon.