What delights me in watercolor is ‘the moment of magic,’ when water touches pigment and flows with a transparent life of its own.
© 2017 Anne Cohen
Painting, for me, is a deeply spiritual practice and one that has blessed my life in many ways. As a spiritual naturalist Unitarian Universalist, my spiritual life is in my connection with the world around me. In it I find reverence for both the staggering beauty and the simple gifts. And beyond it—to all the great mysteries—I can only answer, “yes.”
Though my education and career were in mental health, art has been my quiet companion. I began in childhood by drawing on anything and everything, though I was much too shy to take a class. As an adult I became somewhat skilled at stained glass, silver jewelry making, and champlevé enameling. Finally, later in life, I began the study of watercolors. From that moment I knew I had found my creative home.
What delights me in watercolor is “the moment of magic,” when water touches pigment and flows with a transparent life of its own. I am its companion, but never its boss. I especially love painting en plein air, as I did with this piece. Painting out of doors, with limited time and changing conditions, requires that I be absolutely present. The result is less thinking and more feeling. I connect with the colors, smells, sounds, temperatures, and emotions. And then I paint.
Painting is a spiritual practice and a life coach. It calls me to be fully present to both the exquisite and ever-changing world around me and to the fullness of this very moment. It reminds me to breathe it in and feel it. These are the feelings that I try to bring to my work. My paintings, though always falling short of the moments that inspired them, are my songs of gratitude, wonder, and love.
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Anne Cohen, a UU for almost fifty years, is a member of the UU Society of Amherst, Massachusetts. She is a member of the Quabbin Art Association and the Amherst Plein Air Society.