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May 7 - Dorothy Johnston - Watercolors

Dorothy Johnston is a excellent watercolorist, certainly one of the best in Waco.  And that's no small claim, since Waco has a large and dedicated group of watercolorists doing very high quality work.  Since retiring from a career as a commercial artist, Dorothy has concentrated on watercolors.  At the left, she is shown receiving an award at a Central Texas Watercolor Society exhibit at MCC.  She says she thinks she is now in her "cat phase," but doesn't promise that's what she'll do for us.  By then she may have moved on to something else.  A small sampler of her works appears below.  More of her paintings can be seen on her web site   We meet at our usual time, 2-4 p.m., 1:30 for refreshments and conversation, at the Waco Charter School, 615 N. 25th Street.  Free for first time visitors.  Please bring recent works to share with the group during the break.




May 7 - Dorothy Johnston - Watercolor Still Life

Dorothy Johnston demonstrated the painting of a watercolor of two adjacent pots of flowers. She used a rectangular wastebasket laid on its side as a slightly sloping easel to support the board she attached her paper to with binder clips. She prefers to stand while painting, and finds that the wastebasket on a table is a convenient height for her.  (And it doubles as a tote for her paints!)

After making a careful sketch, she dampened a full sheet of cold-pressed Arches paper on both sides. For most of the color application, she used a fairly large (#14) round brush, alternately applying, blending, and removing color to get the effects she intended. Some details, such as stems and pot edges, were added with a smaller brush after the paper had dried enough to prevent the color from spreading too much.

Most of the flowers were geraniums, whose brightness was exaggerated somewhat. She said that people had often asked her why she made her colors so bright, but that it was only after she had cataracts removed that she discovered how bright she was making them! Her bright colors are one of things that make her painting distinctive, however, so don't expect that to change. She first painted magenta-red flower heads, making them larger and more numerous than those in her model, for the sake of a better painting. These flower heads exhibited repetition, but with variation in size and color. Some areas were carefully left unpainted to eventually become white flowers.

The leaves also exhibited both repetition and variation. She used viridian green with varying amounts of yellow and blue added to achieve a variety of greens. Flower stems were added in blue, which differentiated them from the leaves. Additional contrast was provided by the orange-red pots. Darks were made from a mixture of thalo green and alizarin red. Dorothy is particularly fond of purple, and used some in the background. Purple is not especially common in nature, but it is in her paintings.


When we took a break to hear from those who brought paintings for show and tell, Dorothy just kept on painting. Consequently, she finished in record time. The result (above right) was yet another example of how fine an artist she is.  She brought along a good many other examples, two of which are at the left and right of this paragraph.  These were spread out for people to see during the break.

Thank you, Dorothy, for a great demonstration. Even those of us who use other media learned from watching a master at work. Thanks also to those who brought paintings for show and tell, to those who brought guests, and to Christine Niekamp, Judy Franklin, Rose Jacobson, and Saundra Vasek for bringing refreshments.  Remember that any of the thumbnail photos on these pages can be expanded to full screen by clicking on them.


Show and Tell


   Bill Franklin        Judy Franklin         Larry Garza     Christine Niekamp    Violet Piper

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