I live in Panama City Beach, FL, which was recently hit hard by Hurricane Michael. My most recent series of watercolors is THE PURPLE SKIES OF HURRICANE MICHAEL, based on dramatic purple colors that appear in the sky here after the storm.  They were caused by the strength of the storm scattering light rays to create unique purple colors.  I was inspired by the beauty of these skies in the midst of the horrible devastation.

I have another series of small watercolors of belly dancers, called TINY DANCERS.   I started taking a belly dance course years ago with the idea that I would use my experiences for a series of paintings.   Then I grew to love the dance itself so much, that for a long time I concentrated on dancing and forgot all about painting.  I belong to two local dance troupes in Panama City, FL.   I feel that learning to express myself through dance has added to my abilities to express myself as a painter.

MY BACKGROUND: I have studied art at several schools, including the University of Cincinnati and Georgia Southern College.   It is at these schools that I learned a lot of strict rules about painting, which I have been happily breaking ever since.   It reminds me of a favorite saying among surfers:

“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.”

For me, that quote works for painting, and most of life.  I take a Taoist approach to my watercolors.  I try to just “go with the flow.”   Instead of fighting to control the paint, I throw down some washes, and see how the paint surprises me.   I always say that “sometimes the paint has a better idea than I do.”  Or sometimes… not.  Which leads me to another quote from surfer Laird Hamilton:

"Wiping out is an underappreciated skill."
I often learn more from a failed painting than a successful one.  And the failures remind me of the importance of being playful, constantly learning new things, and taking risks.  When I teach painting, I tell my students that:

“Watercolor is a lot like life.  There’s always what you have in mind, and what you get. The secret is to find joy in what you get.”

Deborah