Alice and I met in 2006 when she moved to Greensboro from Spartanburg, SC to be close to her daughter and grandchildren after her husband died. She joined an art group called The Peacocks, a watercolor group of which I was a member. Alice and I became fast friends when she invited me to travel to Canada to close a lake cottage that had been in her husband's family. We talked and photographed our way north into Canada and all around the area. I'm excited for you to get to know Alice as well, so here we go.
This time I wanted to try something different, instead of me writing about Alice I thought a question-and-answer format might be interesting for you.
1. When did you start painting?
I started painting when my late husband and I moved to Spartanburg, SC, from Atlanta, GA. We had just become “empty nesters”, and I began taking watercolor classes at the Art School connected with the Spartanburg County Art Association in 1990.
2. Have you always dreamed of painting?
Yes, I believe I have although it always stayed on the back burner until I had time to devote to it. The school system where I grew up in Alabama didn’t offer art. I was equally interested in music and took private piano lessons and learned to play musical instruments in school, along with singing in the chorus.
Even though art took a back seat to music, opening a new box of Crayola Crayons each fall and smelling its waxy fragrance is one of my favorite memories of school.
3. What was your first award?
My first award was my first year in Spartanburg, when I entered a juried show that was hung on the fence of Converse College called The Sidewalk Art Show sponsored by the county art association. I entered the amateur division and received an award and sold another piece. That hooked me on art and the idea that someone would actually pay for my work blew me away!
4. What were your early goals?
Obviously, I wanted to learn to paint and to continue learning. My first goal was to become a Signature Member of the South Carolina Watercolor Society. Requirements to become a “Member of Excellence” was to be juried into three annual SCWS shows. I attained that and have been fortunate to be selected for some of their Traveling Shows.
After I moved to Greensboro, I had the same goal for the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, which I have also reached, along with being selected for their traveling shows.
5. What is your goal now?
Although I don’t paint in any medium on a regular basis, I would still like to become a member of other national watercolor societies as well other media groups.
6. What is your favorite medium?
I don’t believe I have a favorite, although I enjoy Acrylic and Oil with Cold Wax. I have become interested in other media along the way in addition to Watercolor.
7. Do you have dreams of learning a new medium?
I am always interested in learning new media, techniques and also experimenting with what’s on hand, including found items. I was identified as a whimsical surrealist by Katherine Chang Liu, an artist I greatly admire, who critiqued my work at Springmaid Watermedia Workshop.
8. Do you have a favorite painting?
Definitely! It has to be my next one!
9. Of all your teachers, from whom do you think you learned the most?
That would have to be my first teacher in Spartanburg, the late Marian Jansen. I learned so much from her about watercolor. She was so patient and was probably one of the kindest people I have ever known.
10. Who has influenced you the most?
Marian Jansen and also Mary Todd Beam, from whom I learned so much in her workshops at Springmaid Watermedia Workshops.
11. What is your favorite color?
Should I say, “All of them”? I notice I’m always drawn to Red, Turquoise and Chartreuse.
12. Have you always had an eye for design?
I’ve never taken any design classes, but I believe I have an innate ability in art and design.
13. Who is your favorite artist?
I don’t have one in particular, but I admire many: Kandinsky, Klee, Diebenkorn and contemporary artist Wolf Kahn, who I met when he had an exhibit in Charlotte, NC, several years ago. I was awe struck!
14. What workshop would you like to take?
Probably one on using ink in my work. I also would like to take more Oil and Cold Wax workshops.
15. Of all the art in your home, which painting gives you the most pleasure?
16. What is your favorite museum?
Oh, I haven’t been to a fraction of museums that I’d love to visit unless I become a world traveler! Three in the states that come to mind that I have enjoyed a lot are the Palm Springs Museum, The New Orleans Art Museum and the Chicago Art Institute.
17. Who are your art heroes?
I can’t think of any…
18. Do you have a favorite painting that you have done and why?
One that I no longer have is called “Peacock Rhapsody.” It was tediously drawn on heavy foil and then painted with acrylic. I learned the technique in a Mary Todd Beam workshop several years ago and have painted two pieces--very time consuming. It’s amazing that I don’t have patience in a lot of situations, yet I’ll sit for hours and draw tiny lines. Go, figure…
Click the thumbnails below to enlarge these photos!
The above is an very small sample of Alice's work, but you can see that Katherine Liu may be right... a whimsical and surreal artist.
Well, there you have it through the genius' own words. I'll say her paintings are very diverse and most creative, and even much more beautiful in person then these photographs depict.
Thank you for reading me and until next time, Ciao!