children's book Maria's Loose Tooth illustrations by Yong Chen

watercolor painting by Rita Murphy, a proud student of Yong Chen

Watercolor painting by
Rita Murphy

Rita Murphy's watercolor learning experience:
Before embarking on a career as a watercolor illustrator, first I would need to become more proficient in planning the subject to be painted. For example, in class we had an assignment to draw and paint a pumpkin. Being able to recognize when to shadow and how to draw the audience into the drawing is an art into itself. I now have a greater appreciation of all paintings. It never occurred to me before all the time and effort that an artist puts forth into the final product. Next, I would want to take further instruction in the art of watercolor painting. There are many techniques. Each method produces a different affect in the painting and becomes a source of inspiration to try the "new technique". Learning to make snow using salt was a fun lesson. From this activity, I learned that you need to use table salt not kosher salt to achieve the desired affect.

Now let us say that the goals listed above have been achieved. My vision would be in painting greeting cards. I really enjoyed the Holiday greeting card assignments. Painting cards for family members on special occasion would be my introductory activity. The medium would be of portraits or animals that have special meaning to the recipient. Making the card personal adds a special touch that people appreciate. As a footnote, my daughter is getting married October 2010 and I plan on painting a special card for her.

From these small beginnings, I would make a portfolio for myself. Marketing myself to greeting card companies would be the next step in my journey. To accomplish this agenda, I would attend seminars and workshops provided by greeting card companies thus beginning to network. Researching as much information as possible entrusts success. Granted it probably would be a long process but if this were my passion I would continue until such time as my artwork was recognized by a greeting card company. From every experience in life, we learn how to advance.

My true vision after this class is to continue drawing and painting for my family. I was amazed how well I did on my husband's picture since it was the first time I have ever drawn someone. He lost his Mother in April and this was her favorite picture of him as a young boy. This card will hold a special meaning to him.

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