Watercolorist Carol Sue Witt shares a stunning collection of paintings that show the spontaneity of her medium. View more of her portfolio on her website.
My main goal in painting has been to capture a moment, a feeling; but the more I paint, the more I realize what I really want to capture is you. I want you to feel an emotion, recall a moment or even want to express yourself with the magic of watercolor.
Why watercolor? The blending of transparent colors creates a new outcome. The unexpected shapes push me to explore aspects that I could never anticipate, making each painting a discovery.
As a military brat traveling the world with my parents, I always carried my art with me. I was more prolific than precise. Somewhere along the way I received a small watercolor set—and the brush freed me.
When I was in ninth grade, living in Munich in a US Army complex, I was allowed to paint the three-story windows of our quarters for the holidays. With the lights on all night, it had the magical appearance of stained glass. It even made the newspaper!
For the first time, I realized that other people might like my art; that it could be a delight for them, not just for me.
My high school art teacher made her mark, and as I headed off to college I fully intended to model my career on hers by getting a degree in Art Education. With the Vietnam war at the forefront, I found I couldn’t stay focused on my studies, so with a well-paying job in hand (I’ve always had a passion for sales!) I left college without getting my degree and set aside my artistic goals for some time.
Art, however, was always in my life—from working on wall murals to being the “Art Lady” at my children’s schools to painting house portraits and creating posters for events. Eventually, I realized that painting for others was delaying my own art. In the 90’s, I started taking classes again, eventually becoming a founding member of the St. Louis Watercolor Society.
I’ve also been influenced by workshops I’ve taken led by excellent instructors. I still enjoy exploring the methods of admired artists such as Joe Fettingis, Carol Carter and Lian Quan Zhen.
Now living in Austin, I’ve come full circle. I’ve found my own watercolor group and voice—both as a creator and as an educator. In 2020, I received my signature in the Texas Watercolor Society.
Last year, I achieved a lifelong dream and published my approach in my workbook Paint with me…watercolor my way. Included in the 10 lessons I offer in my book is my method of starting with an underpainting. The unpredictable patterns it creates and the shapes that appear are far more intriguing to me than open space.
They are unplanned, surprise happenings that can be seen through the layers that add a rich tapestry of texture, rhythm and color.
I plan to continue painting and teaching and have started a second workbook titled Late Bloomer (I think I am one) inspired by all of nature’s beauty.