Why Watercolor?

Robert gets asked quite often if his only medium is watercolor.  It is my fault.  I’m the one who started him down the watercolor path.  Oils can be big and colorful and have lots of body but I still love watercolor.  There is something fresh and simple about a well executed watercolor painting.  When I first met Robert he was doing pencil drawings.  In fact he gave me a portrait of myself done in pencil while we were dating.  After we married he mentioned once that he would like to take an art class, so for a birthday gift I gave him watercolor lessons.   I chose watercolor because it was what I was drawn to.  I had a room-mate in college whose father was a watercolor painter and owned a small gallery  in Los Altos, California.  I loved going through his travel journals which were filled with watercolor sketches.  I loved browsing his finished pieces in the gallery.

Robert was the only man in a class of women painting ducks! He discovered that he loved painting but became very frustrated with the class.  I found him a new teacher, Shirley McKay.  She opened the world of painting to him and taught him how to think through the process.  He was still the only man in a class of women but it became a totally different experience.  Shirley would give the class assignments to complete before the next class and Robert would come home and paint as much as he could.  He would then take the finished product back to have her critique it.  She could tell he was serious and had a desire to learn as much as he could.  He was on his way.  Watercolor became his medium of choice.  Robert says “I am passionate about watercolor.  The limitations that it presents gives rise to its strengths if handled correctly.  Its transparency breathes air and light into a painting.  Its unpredictability can bring spirit.  Its unforgiving nature brings a true emotional response.”

Baker's Hole An early Robert D. McFarland Watercolor

Baker’s Hole
An early Robert D. McFarland Watercolor






3 Comments on “Why Watercolor?”

  1. Trilby says:

    I have always loved this story!

  2. Thank you for your kind comments, Robbie. I loved having Robert in my watercolor class, and as you said, I could tell he was serious. Not only that, he had an unusually well developed eye for color, and knew what he wanted. I am so proud of him and what he has accomplished with his art. He is now a masterful watercolor painter with many prestigious awards to his name. We are the proud owners of one of his wonderful paintings!

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