Shirley Whyte

Light. Shadow. Color. These are the things I look for in a painting, and they are what I emphasize in my own work. The subjects I usually choose are trees, skies, and water.

To me, watercolor is the natural medium for these subjects: wet, transparent , flowing paint; I’m always surprised how such a tiny addition of a color can change the whole atmosphere of a painting. Since composition is probably the most important aspect of any painting, I do, to certain extent, plan my paintings before I put brush to paper. But I think that spontaneity is an important part of painting in watercolor. My first thoughts about it are usually the best, and if I change a color scheme, for instance, half way through the work, the painting seems to lose something. The message to the viewer is not so clear.

It is one thing to appreciate the finer points of a painting, but it’s quite another thing to be touched emotionally by it. It’s Head versus Heart. I want my viewer to be emotionally affected by my painting. Many times ,in an art gallery, I have thought, “What a wonderful work of art,” and gone onto the next picture without a backward glance, but sometimes I will be riveted by one painting more than the others, and will go back to look at this one , again and again. This is the one that has affected me emotionally. And this is how I want my paintings to affect the viewer.