Q. How did you get started in your medium?
A. As a Graphic Designer in the 1980’s I was occasionally asked to produce illustrations. In those days we had little more than basic clip art so it was up to us, the Designers, to produce illustrations when they were required. Watercolour for me was the obvious choice at the time because it was easily accessible, less messy than other mediums, quick, and cheap. I have to say I wasn’t very good since I had no experience at all in the medium. When I gave up my career at the age of 35 to become a full-time mum, I picked up a paintbrush only a handful of times in the subsequent 20 year period and this was mainly during Summer holidays and only in small sketchbooks but I already knew that I loved the medium.
Q. What is the biggest influence on your Art?
A. Without a shadow of a doubt, it’s the Internet. Without this, I would have had no access at all to any of the wonderful Watercolour Artists around the world and I doubt very much I’d be doing what I love today.
Q. Did Art play a role in your childhood?
A. Yes, most definitely. My paternal Grandfather was a Potter turned Pottery teacher/lecturer at Keele University and I remember him not approving of me having traditional and what he considered to be restricting colouring books. He preferred that I drew pictures myself and so I was always drawing and copying pictures from various nature calendars. My Mother too, a Primary School Teacher at the time was artistic, her classroom displays were so creative, colourful and the envy of others. I remember many a time being excused from Maths to help my teacher ( not my Mum I must add) with our own classroom displays or collages to compete with my Mum’s.
Q. Who is your favourite Artist?
A. My favourite Artists are all contemporary Artists and there are many I love and respect but my number 1 is Australian Master of Watercolour Joseph Zbukvic.
Q. How does Art impact your life?
A. I took up my paintbrushes seriously at the age of 50 because I was suddenly desperate to rekindle the love of Art I had in my 20’s. I started sketching again and using Watercolours, then progressed quite quickly to painting larger pieces. My passion for the medium flourished quickly thanks to the Internet and by this time I had over 100 paintings so in July 2017 I decided to open a studio at home. My best decision since having my children. It is my absolute haven and Art has been a real therapy especially through these unprecedented times of Covid. It gives me so much pleasure, a purpose, a goal, and a future. It gives me back that sense of who I was as a Graphic Design student, who I am now, and who I want to be.
Q. What inspires your Art?
A. Anything can trigger inspiration, for me, it’s purely a visual thing rather than emotional. I generally finish a painting in a couple of days and so there’s really no time for emotional attachment to any piece unless it’s a Family portrait of course. I don’t paint to express my feelings or emotions and my paintings have no ‘meaning’. I see an image, a scene, an object and simply want to capture it in Watercolour. I’m attracted by subject matter, light, shadow, and movement in all it’s forms and inspired greatly by the amazing Watercolour Artists I see around me.
Q. Do you ever get bored with painting and what do you do about that?
A. I honestly never get bored indeed I wasn’t allowed to say the word
‘bored’ as a child. For the purpose of answering the question though, what I will say is that I have never had an issue painting my own pictures. I have a varied subject matter so can just swap to another theme if I feel the need for a change. Commissions, however, can be far more of a challenge as they’re generally not my preferred subject matter and not one I’d necessarily choose to paint. Having said that, the beauty of some commissions is in taking poor quality photographs and transforming them into paintings fit to display.
All of the above images are copyright Beth Watkins and shared here with permission.
Try it Yourself
Paint a pond at sunset with Thefrugalcrafter.
You will need:
3 colors of watercolor paint (red, yellow, blue)
large, flat brush
thin, round brush
2 jars of water (1 for cleaning the brush and 1 for wetting the paints)