UPDATED AT 1:16 p.m.
Candy Witcher has been an artist all of her life. In fact, her entire family is artistic, and she’s told that she used watercolors to paint her coloring books starting at age two.
Now, years later, Witcher continues to work in watercolor and uses her skills to teach a class at the Somerville Adult Evening School. The course, Watercolor Painting, will meet on Tuesday evenings from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting next week on Jan. 25 (if there's enough interest). Click here for more information on the course.
“I like that it kind of has a mind of its own. I mean, you may think what you're going to do on the paper, but sometimes it just does its own little thing and you just have to go with it,” she said.
Witcher also enjoys the flexibility watercolors can provide, especially when used with different materials like salt, or plastic wrap, which allow you to create textures without relying on the brush.
Integrating texture into watercolor paintings is just one of the techniques Witcher teaches in her classes. She said she generally starts off with a simple snow scene, to gauge where her student’s abilities are, before moving on to flowers, animals, landscapes and still life paintings.
“I usually demonstrate at the beginning of class, and try to do some of the painting sort of along with the class, so they can see more what I'm talking about,” Witcher said. “I find that's always been helpful for me and I’ve found that in my classes, my students have been enjoying that also.”
To encourage watercolor painting as an approachable medium, for those who might stay away because they have trouble drawing, Witcher said she provides tracings to her students for the more difficult subjects.
In her personal work, Witcher is best known for her paintings of glass and jars. But also often paints rocks, animals or pumpkins and draws pastel portraits.
“I find I usually have like ten different paintings going on at the same time and they'll all be of different subjects. I just finished one of mailboxes,” she said.
Witcher has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Drawing from the University of New Hampshire, but has since reembraced oils and pastels, as well as watercolor.
She draws a lot of her inspiration from her family, but sometimes, she said inspiration will come to her at any time.
“It can be the colors, it could be the textures, it could just be something that looks really difficult, and I say to myself, ‘Man I wonder if I can paint that’,” she mused. “Sometimes I pick something because I've wanted to try it in class, and I usually love to try it first before I throw it out on them.”
For Witcher, teaching art classes is tangibly gratifying. She said she can see how her own work has improved after taking up teaching.
“Just from their questions, it makes me think about what I'm trying to do sometimes, my compositions, and I also think it's helped me with getting better color,” she said. “I've noticed that my paintings ten years ago aren't quite as vibrant as they are now and that's due to my students. I give them credit for that.”
Witcher has been a resident of Somerville for nearly 30 years. Aside from teaching art classes, she also has participated in Somerville Open Studios since 2005 and will have her studio doors open to the public this year as well.
A full selection of classes begin next week at Somerville Adult Evening School. For our story, click here.
Have a closet full of gently used clothing, books, DVDs, video games, etc...?
The event starts with registration and a Swap Lounge from 5 - 7 p.m., but the Swap will get into full swing between 8 and 10 p.m.
It's green, cheap, and local restaurants and retailers will be on hand as well. Plus, it's a great way to discover other people's unnecessary, or unused treasures and claim them as your own.
Admission is $20 if you appear bag-less and $15 if you bring stuff to swap.
Read more here.