MIDDLETOWN—Pat Morgan recently retired to the Jersey coast from her longtime home in Newburgh, but returned to Orange County to show how she paints in watercolors. The artist gave a demonstration of her technique on March 6 at the SUNY Orange art gallery to a packed house.
Morgan calls her medium “transparent” watercolors. “There are different approaches to watercolor. If you use transparent paints and lots of water, you get more of a glow in your work.” She said she prefers using more water to avoid an opaque or flat effect.
“I was meant to do this,” stated Pat Morgan about working in the medium. Morgan did not take up painting until after her retirement. As soon as she experimented with brush, watercolors, and water, “it was love at first stroke,” she said.
She took drawing classes and tried watercolor. “I knew I wanted to try watercolor because I loved the way it looked, the softness,” she said. She has been taking classes and workshops in the medium ever since.
Morgan has become an avid watercolorist in depicting the beauty of ordinary moments through broad, loose strokes of color.
She wanted to paint on the seashore but “boats and harbors just didn’t call to me.” She began to observe children playing on the beach. “I love the gesture at that age. They are so sweet, so innocent. They are so intent in everything they do.”
To get the right pose, she photographs. “When I take the pictures of the children on the beach—I ask their parents if I may—I’ll put my camera on that automatic, where you just hold the button down and it just keeps clicking away, clicking away.”
“I’ll get home sometimes with 40 shots and maybe only get two from that. Everything is the gesture.”
She demonstrated her technique of children in animated play. The demonstration was attended by about 120 people interested in Morgan’s technique. The artist stood at a table with a large mirror above the table which showed her working.
Morgan says a “perfect” schedule to paint would be four times a week. She works steadily three days a week.
“If I’m struggling with a drawing, I’ll just do the drawing on one day and then put it aside and then start the painting the next day.” She has developed her skills to such an extent that she now teaches.
The sale of any works by the artist will directly benefit a disabled veteran and his family in Orange County. The solo show runs from Feb. 8 through March 26.
Morgan is a signature member of the North East Watercolor Society, the New Jersey Water Color Society, the Garden State Watercolor Society, and a former elected member of the Salmagundi Club in New York City.
An award-winning artist in her own right having received several local and regional awards, this year she is the judge of the 110 paintings entered in the North East Watercolor Society’s Members Exhibit.
Dick Price, president of the North East Watercolor Society, arranged the show at SUNY Orange where 60 members displayed their work. The show included 110 paintings.
“This is our member’s show. We jury it and notify them of the jury results.” Price said the society has over 300 members from all over the U.S.
Two Orange County artists, Jill Constantino and Robert Oliver, also displayed their work in the show.
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