Carolyn Macpherson

I have worked my way through many trends, painting styles, and media in my lifetime because I am a restless person. Never satisfied with status quo, I love experimentation and the teaching process, which I find keeps my mind open to so many different ways of viewing the world around me. I discover from my students an entirely different way of reacting to the landscape. How in the world did Paul see that tree as if it were weeping? How did Mary see all that purple in a bush I saw as mainly green? Priceless input!

I often work on a series as I recently did with the rather mundane subject of eggs, until I had exhausted every single way I could see and paint them. I’ve used unusual material like powdered Rit dye because I get so excited about the serendipitous result when a dye like brown blooms out with the red, blues and yellows that comprise a neutral color’s makeup. I love letting the dye blooms spill down occasionally into the white eggs that have not been protected by Miskit. This unifies my subject to their background. Thus, I have become an expert at controlling happy accidents or using them to lead me toward another interpretation of my subject. Toying with accidents and the use of correctional products has led me to put on several workshops over the years that teach aspiring artists how to loosen up and experiment with watercolors, because they are, indeed, so correctable in spite of their reputation.
My time as an interpretative camp host at Smith Rock State Park in Oregon taught me the necessary discipline for plein air painting. The use of yupo paper to prepare loose sketches for my landscape paintings has taught me to stay loose and fluid, and I have come to focus on this wonderful paper.
I currently teach at Vancouver Art Space for beginning watercolorists, classes on painting on yupo paper, and watercolor classes for more advanced students. Private lessons are also available.
Watercolor as the medium of choice, allows for the loose, drippy, fluid interpretation of scenes that I strive for and allows me to make the statements I choose to make about how fragile our environment is; how important it is to respect the incredible diversity of the plants and animals we have been blessed with on this earth to paint and enjoy.


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