Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Senegal, Morocco, Scotland and Romania are countries Ann Colley visited. Come on vacation as we start a conversation with her watercolors. We start in the Costa Rican Jungle and end in New York State’s Adirondacks.
Rachel: How long have you painted water colors?
Ann: As a child, then life changed. 30 years ago I started painting in Nova Scotia.
R: This is at a zoo? (Referring to the peccary pig and fish in Costa Rica.)
A: No. No. No. Out in the jungle.
R: Take classes or do it on your own?
A: Do it on my own.
R: What is your technique?
A: I have a very tiny box of water colors. I draw it first. Sketch a bit. To make things blend. Blending a particular dot (see the fish skin) or eye (see the fish eye), wait to dry.
You need to understand how wet or dry is your piece of paper. Water over it and use sponge or I use Kleenex. Sometimes it is knowing where to leave white.
A: I got more interested in colors. Water color leaves an attitude, impression. It’s amazing how many colors are used to make up the water. Not one color, look at all the colors. (She points to the boat’s reflection on the Nicaraguan river.)
A: I had trouble with faces. Not very good. Simplify street kids in Senegal.
R: What’s your strength with water colors?
A: Strength with water colors. I don’t know. (Pauses) I guess my weakness is I’m afraid to work on large paper. I’m insecure enough to always work on small. Strength is I bring life into the picture. I really have to like what I’m painting.
The paintings come to life. Compare the peaceful mosque scene in Morocco to Scotland’s rough seas.
A: Here is a house in Romania. The attic windows are like eyes.
Ann lives in Nova Scotia during the summer. She told me about her close encounter with a coyote and the wildlife there.
A: I walk alone often. When I see the coyote, I stand still. The scary point is when he made not a sound going back into the woods.
A: The sky is black. See meteorite showers. A lot of owls. Now not hear them. The cutting of the forest. Upsetting. Spraying with pesticides. Upsetting.
A: Never know what you get. Drive up to the driveway. Skunk sit on door step. Stayed away for half an hour until she went off.
A: Pick berries and bald eagle circles over my head.
Enjoy the summer. Lean back on the Adirondack chair and do not think about snow. ~Rachel
Rachel L. Johnson
Contributor Focus: "Buffalo: Deep Roots Abroad"