Dan’s Swan

Dan Hines, my mentor, passed away this year.  While teaching one of his former students, I was explaining how I decide, sketch, and niggle with my inspiration photo or sketch. Then I let the paint do the work.  In painting with watercolor you need to plan to preserve white areas.  In order to keep the swan pure white, I decided to forgo my regular wet-into-wet style (which is a bit difficult to control).   I started painting on dry paper. The water around the swan was painted first and I could tell pretty quickly that I hated it. (I just love when this happens – it’s freedom to the max!)  The water looked flat and uninteresting.  The swan even more so.  With much gusto, I wet the back and front of the paper.  When I touched my paint-saturated brush to that paper, the sparkle came back.  But in the process a small bloom of blue paint spread onto the back of the white swan.  My student handed me a paper towel to blot it.  But I felt Dan’s hand had come down to remind me to be true to my nature and enjoy those happy accidents.  I can’t look at that spot without smiling and remembering his friendship.  Thanks Dan.  This painting was juried into Medford Art Center’s Annual Works on Paper show.

“Everyone and everything around you is your teacher.”  Ken Keyes, Jr. 

Painted with help from my mentor, Dan Hines

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