Maine and Watercolor Painting

I’m planning our next adventure! Ever since 1999, I have wanted to go to Maine and I’m researching campgrounds and activities. My, oh my, there seems to be a lot to do in Maine. But what happened in 1999 that has brought on this Maine bug? So glad you asked!

Our three sons were just youngsters then and I was homeshooling them. They were finally to an age that we needed to do some real art rather than just color and paste. So, I bought a book about watercolor painting.

We didn't have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

We didn’t have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

I had always remembered the title of the book as, Watercolor Painting for the Artistically Challenged and have told the story with that title. But as I was sorting through the art books, I came across the wonderful gem again. It is actually Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered which is a MUCH better name! This little book gave our sons and me the confidence to try it for ourselves!

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

It didn’t matter that we had no clue what we were doing. We were artists..but just undiscovered! I practiced right along with them and found that I really enjoyed it! So, I bought more books, practiced some and then decided to try a real painting. A favorite photo from my childhood was just begging to be painted.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

This sunset stroll was captured by my dad. I’m that itty bitty baby girl between my mom and my four big brothers. Such a tender moment and two of my favorite things: family and sunsets. I always wished my dad was in the photo too. So, I set out to paint this gem.

I placed a hat on my dad because he loves hats. It was wonderful to see the whole family together, but I wasn’t too happy with the painting. In trying to get sunset colors, it just got muddy looking. I did frame it, but it has been in our bedroom where people can’t see it. I probably would have stopped with art right then except for my dad.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

It was nearing Christmas time and he oooed and awwwed over this painting of our family. Then he said those exciting but terrifying words. As he hugged me good-bye, he whispered, “Paint me a lighthouse for Christmas.” WHAT?! How could he think I could do that? Obviously, my painting skills were lacking. But I sure wanted to do something special for him. He has always made incredible works of art and given them to me for Christmas. So, I looked at photos of lighthouses, picked my favorite one and gave it a go.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

It was so much fun working with more colors rather than just sunset colors! I still really didn’t have a clue what I was doing with watercolor painting, but I was happier with the results and inspired. Inspired to try more artistic endeavors. Inspired by a dad who knew just when to urge me a bit further.

Since then, I have always wanted to go to Maine and take my own photo of this lighthouse, Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth. I’d love to sit on the shore and sketch it too. Can’t wait to go!! And in the meantime, I hope I have encouraged you to just give it a go. Is there some form of art that has been calling your name, but you have been afraid to try? I’m whispering to you now, “Paint me a lighthouse!”