Watercolorists from beginners to advanced help one another achieve success
“Life Is Just a Bowl Of Cherries,” is a watercolor still life by Therese Ferguson, a member of the Brevard Watercolor Society. It is one of the artist’s favorites that has won multiple awards.
photo by Therese Ferguson
Therese Ferguson paints watercolors of subjects ranging from red ripe cherries in a crystal bowl on a colorful quilt to yellow-brown coconuts hanging from a Florida palm.
A watercolorist for 35 years, Ferguson is an active member of the Brevard Watercolor Society (BWS), a past president and the show chairperson for 10 years. She joined at the club’s inception in 1995, when Grace Hodgson, the founder, began the club to help promote watercolors in the Brevard area by having demos and classes.
The BWS, 17 years later, still is illuminating beginning, intermediate and advanced watercolorists with its original vision for its now 170 members, with up to 60 active members.
Ferguson, who is an advanced watercolorist, sells her paintings from $300 for a small painting to $2,000 for larger works, and is co-owner of the Art & Antique Studio & Gallery in Melbourne, says she “gives back by mentoring” the BWS members.
She notes that if a member who is a beginning watercolorist asks for a critique, more advanced members are there to help.
Diane Harmon, the current president and member for four years, first joined when she “had just taken up watercolors and was interested in all the demos and the help I could get from other watercolor members.” She considers that her ability has “greatly improved,” and that the group is “very forthcoming with information and help, very welcoming.” She states, “We have a good time. Ages are very diverse and skills are very diverse.”
The every other monthly meetings, which started in January, (with summers off) are structured with a half hour of socializing before, a general meeting at 1 to 1:30 p.m., followed by a demonstration from an artist brought in from somewhere in the U.S.
The day after the meeting, a three-day workshop by the same artist, is made available to members for a cost. In between, the BWS has mini-workshops taught by local artists. Those are free to members, $5 for a visitor.
“Usually they teach you a different technique, whatever is their speciality and these are held five times a year,” explained Harmon. There is also a Plein Air group that paints outdoors during winter months, one each month.
Cheri Allen, second vice president and head of membership for BWS, considers herself a beginner watercolorist. “I’ve been drawing most of my life with pencil, and had done some acrylic, when I moved down to Florida.”
Through a friend she discovered the BWS, and joined a year and a half ago. “I’m around the right people to learn.”
All workshops are held at the AHF Hall, 535 Hammock Road, Melbourne Village, and the general meeting is at Satellite Beach City Hall, 565 Cassia Blvd., Satellite Beach.
Said Harmon of the club in general, “Any level of artist is welcome, we encourage anyone who is interested to attend a meeting and enjoy a new experience.”