I’m not sure exactly what possessed me to take a watercolor class. I’m not an artist – I don’t draw – but I’d been curious about the medium and fascinated by amazing art I’d been seeing around me on Maui. In particular, the work of Connie J. Adams. How could watercolor look so detailed, controlled, and specific? At the same time, I thought maybe I could be vague and abstract enough with it that it wouldn’t matter that I couldn’t draw. I was fascinated and needed to fill some creative need in me, and when I saw that Connie was teaching a beginners class at the local college, I signed up.
There was so much to learn, and so many techniques covered in those six weeks, yet Connie was able to break down the info and present it in a way that wasn’t too overwhelming or confusing. I don’t really ‘get’ how to ‘do’ art, and I tend to need a structured assignment more than time and freedom to play, but I had fun putting color to paper and experiencing water as a variable in the whole process. Connie would show us examples from her own work, or that of other artists, to see how different techniques could be incorporated, and while it seemed a long way from my practice sheet to that masterful art, it was inspiring to see how it starts.
These are two little paintings I created in that class. I still can’t draw, and they’re not worth showing off other than to demonstrate that even for a non-artist like me, Connie could coax out something recognizable and allowed me to feel like I wasn’t a total loser. I took this class in June 2006, and was pleased in the next few years to get to know Connie even better when we served together on the Art Maui board of directors, and when she asked me to make updates to her web site.
Sadly and suddenly, we lost Connie this month. I attended a celebration of her life yesterday, whose standing room only attendance and joyful stories reminded me that I had known someone truly special. I brought home two strong thoughts about my own life – that I hope people to say nice things about me when I’m gone, and that I need live life more – see more, play more, get out and create more. I know that not everyone can be an artist and leave behind that kind of body of work, but I’d like to believe I will leave behind something worthwhile.