During our April Oracle Artist Studio Tour weekend, I showed my most recent series, a group of water reflection paintings. A repeated question from visitors was why do I paint water when we live in the desert? Caught off guard over and over again, my answer wasn’t particularly good. It’s like the question about how long did a painting take you to make, with the obvious answer being my whole life, snotty but true. I’ve learned to couch the answer to that question in a more informative and friendly way. I talk about the different stages in creating a painting, about painting two or three images at a time, and a bit about my creative process.
In the case of the water paintings, my less than thoughtful (snotty) answer was that water is pretty and yes there is water in the desert
Water in the desert is a contradiction in terms. For people who live where there is an abundance of water, thinking about, enjoying and using water must be different. After many years in the desert, it is simply a matter of course to never let water run unnecessarily, to appreciate rain storms and to find any pools of water, or streams of water a nearly miraculous sight.
So, my answer to the question, Why paint water when you live in the desert, is that I paint the water to capture the jewel-like quality of water in a dry environment, to show my appreciation for the way in which water allows plants and wildlife to prosper. Water in the desert is irresistible to me, be it a puddle in the street, a pond, a lake; a trickle down a gutter, a lazy meander or a gush of water from a flash flood.