Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Five Minutes with Watercolorist Davilla Harding

People are fascinating. And the myriad ways they express themselves is equally fascinating, especially in the arts. Every picture tells a story.

Something I have been doing a lot of the past year is seeing what other people are doing in the arts, both by visiting art galleries locally and online. As I skim through websites and online art galleries I am always surprised at how many ways in which creative people can express themselves.

So it is that last week I stumbled upon Davilla Harding, a watercolorist currently residing in East Texas. Her painting Sunset Among the Ruins led me to want to interview her for Ennyman's Territory.

Ennyman: You grew up in a military home and lived in a variety of countries and cultures. How did this experience influence you?

Davilla Harding: During his military career, my father was stationed throughout the world: Greece, France, Germany, and Japan. Whether standing at the base of the columns of the Parthenon, observing the masterpieces of art in the Louvre, or walking the beautiful landscapes/gardens of Japan, I was always in awe and wonder at the beauty that was created by the artists of the world. This wonder and appreciation has only grown through time, and now especially, since I have begun to paint. The other great influence of this time period was my mother (a fine arts major in college), who was a collector of fine art and antiques. She filled our home with beautiful artworks/antiques from both Europe and the Orient.

E: When did you first take an interest in making pictures? How did you end up favoring watercolors?
DH: From an early age, I “doodled”, drew, and of course, colored coloring books. One of my proudest moments came when I was asked to compose and paint my 3rd grade Christmas mural at the back of the classroom.

I never took formal art lessons as an adult, because I pursued my career as a teacher. When I retired in 2007, I looked around to see what I might do to continue to be creative and productive. I went to our local watercolor art group with the thought that maybe this might be something. On that day – the moment I saw the watercolor flow on the paper and the beauty of light and colors that was expressed with it and through it, I “fell in love”. My passion and love for watercolors has only increased as the months/years have passed.”

E: I take it you have travelled some based on your paintings like Sunset Among the Ruins. (right) What other places have you painted? Do you have any travel destinations pulling you toward the future?
DH: Most of the paintings I have done of places in foreign countries have been based on family photos or memories.

My immediate travel destination will be to go soon to Maui, Hawaii where my daughter lives. I want to capture the intense and brilliant light and colors that I have seen nowhere else in my travels. Then I want to return to Europe and capture my own images, as seen through my vision as an evolving artist.

E: You mention being self-taught. And also having an opportunity to see museums around the world. Who have your influences been to inspire what you do?
DH: My favorite artist from the old masters has to be the paintings of Johannes Vermeer. I was always entranced by the “light” of/in his paintings, and of course, the story that was told in his portraits of middle class life.

Other favorites include Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir, Georgia O’Keefe – to name only a few.

E: When I was young I never had the patience for watercolors. What advice would you give to people, young or old, who want to work in this medium?
DH: Two very important suggestions – one from a book and one from personal experience:

A. Early on, I bought the book Painting the Things You Love by Adele Earnshaw. Because I had come so late to the process of painting, she said something in her “Introduction” that inspired me tremendously. I have since passed it on to other beginning artists:

“Artists of lesser talent (than the Masters) become successful because they have three necessary ingredients: DESIRE, EFFORT, and TENACITY.” To this equation she adds DISCIPLINE, TIME and ATTITUDE. So I have taken that formula, included my PASSION for watercolors, and embarked on what I hope is an evolving career.

B. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who encourage, promote, and take joy in what you are trying to create and/or become. So often they can see in you, what you might not yet be able to. That has been my experience with the support and encouragement I have received from my family and watercolor group.

E: What art magazines have you found most useful for you?
DH: Because I am just beginning my study of watercolor painting, my primary time and money has gone into buying and studying books by watercolor artists that have inspired me. Probably the 4 books and artists that have been the most inspirational to me in the last few months are the following:

Painting with Your Artist’s Brain by Carl Purcell
Painting Spectacular Light Effects by Paul Jackson
Seven Keys to Great Painting by Jane Hofsteter
Painting the Things You Love by Adele Earnshaw

When I do read from magazines, I have shared those collected by my watercolor group. I have listed just a few below:

The Artist’s Magazine
The American Artist: Watercolor
Watercolor Artist

E: When will the book you are illustrating be published?
DH: The projected date is late summer or early fall.

To see more of Davilla's watercolors, visit Artworks By Davilla.
Thank you for sharing so thoughtfully with us here.


Adele said...

I'm glad to know that my book has helped you in your career! Many thanks. Adele Earnshaw

Adele said...

Forgot to add....I enjoyed your beautiful work.

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks for the visit, Adele. Cool comments. I liked Davilla works, too and was planning to look in our library for the books she recommended.
Best to you