Updated: Jan 20, 2021
Watercolor group meets virtually to encourage each other's creativity
By Sonya Edwards
Being creative can be a solitary activity, but sometimes it's hard to be creative alone. Like any endeavor, being creative requires time and energy. Sometimes it can be exhilarating and sometimes it can be a real drag. Joining a group can provide a structure for accountability that can make it easier to "make" time for art and stir creative energy.
For the past several months, a small group of Santa Rita Art League members who share a passion for watercolor have been meeting weekly virtually via Zoom and participants are making art! Says Valerie St. Marie, "I've painted more paintings this summer than I did all last year. I was able to participate over the summer from my home in Colorado. Usually, I don’t even get my art supplies unpacked in summer! The weekly scheduled Friday watercolor meetings (pre-COVID-19) are what helped to get me painting in the past. Meet, paint for two hours, then regroup. It worked! It’s great to see everyone, and so helpful to share ideas and get feedback - almost a sense of normalcy in these tough times! I’m still trying to get motivated since I’ve returned to Green Valley but I’m sure it will happen because I’ve got the scheduled time and support!"
Being away from Green Valley is no longer an obstacle to meeting with our artistic friends. Meeting virtually has made it possible for Kathleen Bolivar, who is still in Canada, to meet and get energized. Recently, she gave the group a peek at her creative space when she shared a photo of the table where she paints. She has a lovely view but it's definitely different from the view at her Green Valley home. The moody winter view inspired her to paint trees in the mist.
It took a while for the group to figure out how to make a virtual gathering effective. Eventually, we agreed to mimic the flow of our physical meeting structure. We convene at 9am and take turns sharing what it is that we intend to work on. Sometimes we ask for advice from each other or we might share a resource. At 9:30am, we break way from the virtual meeting and focus on our work. Then, at 11:30am, we reconvene and take turns sharing what we did in the last 2 hours.
Each member works on their own project and the group's interests vary from landscape, to vegetables, to architecture, and florals. Joan R. has shared many lovely watercolors of vegetables that glow with the light that comes from watercolor's transparent nature.
Since starting, the group has grown. Deb, our newest member, jumped right in and is enjoying painting and making friends. She also shared a cool resource that allows artists to print their art on a label for a wine bottle. As the group grows it has been flexible in order to ensure that everybody has a chance to share.
For some people, the social interaction of being in a group can be energizing. Returning from her northern home, Mary Oelschlaeger shares the following about the group: "With the cold and clouds in Missoula, Max and I returned to the beauty of Green Valley. One of the many upsides to this was learning about the SRAL watercolor Zoom meeting. With everything so different from years past, I was lucky to have Cindy Haase tune me into this opportunity and our Zoom guru, Sonya Edwards, has made joining incredibly pleasant and easy. I haven’t been painting much over the past year (golfing a lot) so I decided to go back to some 'known' subject matter to get me going again....thus, the iris painting (above) to get in the value painting groove again. In addition to the focus on painting, it’s a joy to see and interact with paint pals!"
Bruce and Robin Wamsley have recently joined in are showing off how their skills have developed through regular practice and study.
If you are a member of the Santa Rita Art League interested in joining the watercolor group, feel free to send us a message via the Contact form on the Home page letting us know you are interested. Or, if you're interested in volunteering to host virtual group meetings focused on a specific media or topic, and you feel comfortable hosting Zoom meetings, feel free to send us a message using the Contact form on the Home page to let us know.