This brings back memories! It's a little watercolor I did in 1980, back when I was taking drawing and painting courses at Coastline Community College (and later at Orange Coast College) in the evenings after work. I found those carefree classes a welcome distraction and a godsend during a difficult time in my life. The instructor was Helen A. Prothers. She was an amazing artist herself, having been a professional fashion illustrator for most of her adult life, and later did technical drawings for anatomy books. Her passion for travel and adventure took her all around the world, filled her sketch books and influenced her colorful, detailed paintings; depictions of the favorite places she had visited. Teaching these classes enhanced her spare time after "retirement" and kept her from being lonely, I think, for she never married and had no close family that I knew of. Recently, I found this painting along with others, and the well-worn teaching manual she used. It was at the bottom of a box of artwork and stuff I'd thought had been lost. It was quite a thrill to see all this again. And the teachings, with so many fun and informative lessons. Lessons that can be shared with my daughters, who also like to dabble with brushes and paint.
These paintings (and dozens more) were done as objects of study encompassing spherical forms, opaque fruits, conical shapes, wood grain, shiny textures, working out complementary and analogous colorations, veining of leaves, and various techniques.
Often, as I fussed over a painting trying to achieve some sort of unattainable perfection, Helen would patiently come over and reassure me that things were going in the right direction and to just keep going. She was a marvelous teacher and graciously shared all her tricks of the trade. I was grateful for that and learned a lot under her direction. Being older and wiser, I think she enjoyed having a younger person to mentor. One day, we ran into each other at the local market and discovered that we lived within walking distance of each other. After that, we became neighborly friends, dropping in on one another from time to time. She would show me her latest painting or an idea for one, inspired from the beets she'd pulled up from her garden that morning, or the mocking bird she saw sitting on a fencepost. I was fascinated by her. Helen could find inspiration anywhere, in anything and taught me how to see things that are often overlooked in the common everyday experience and turn it into art. Hence, my little red watering can. Not much on its own, but a worthy subject of study I suppose. Funny that I should still possess both; the painting and the watering can, after all these years. And...as it turns out, just the thing for my June Bonus designs. Summer is right around the corner and I'm ready!