My father worked from his sketches of the Charlotte lighthouse to create this watercolor in class last week. Amazing to watch him work so quickly in an additive medium that is so unforgiving of missteps. There are, certainly, missteps whenever you stretch or do something new. He is not beyond putting the whole sheet in the bathtub and washing it out. And he has a short, stubby brush that he uses to scrub out small sections. I watched him the other night as he took some figures and a sign right out of an Adirondack scene. The color came up and ran all over the piece as he soaked it up with a sponge. It is nearly impossible to reclaim a white. Opaque white is a sickly looking substance. You protect whites and they are often the strongest element in the end. It is a dangerous but seductive process.
One week later this lighthouse painting is in a show in the gallery at the Creative Workshop and I was taking this photo of it, trying to dodge the reflections from the glass, when someone behind me exclaimed, “I love that painting.” I proudly said, “My dad did it,” and he said, “I teach the watercolor class.” All very cool but you have to wonder why most classes are segregated by medium. Fred Lipp’s “Advanced Painting” class is the exception. I recently switched from charcoal to watercolor and then oil and needed to be be reminded that the intent is exactly the same. A change in form can be described by change in color just as a change in form is described by a change in line.