Somalia Refugee

Autumn Confetti

Michael Moyer

I’ve been painting since I was 14 years old, and I’ve always loved watercolor best. Lately I’ve been working with 300# paper, both hot and cold press, because the extra thickness produces more satisfying results and can take some abuse in case you need to “correct mistakes”.

I have always loved art. When I was very young I used to love drawing maps. I would measure a room and draw a floor plan to scale, including doors and windows and furniture. I’d also do outdoor spaces and show features like fountains, plants, and any outdoor furniture. I was fascinated with maps, and wanted to become a Cartographer. I ended up becoming an architect, which I guess is not very different from a mapmaker.

When I was a bit older I would steal oil paints from my older brother, who kept a set of paint tubes, a palette and paint brushes in his chest of drawers in our shared bedroom. He became furious at this theft, and moved his art supplies to an undisclosed location. 

I don’t remember when I discovered watercolor, but it fascinated me from the start. I loved its spontaneity, transparency and unpredictability. I even liked that it seemed to have a mind of its own and would morph into unintentional shapes and patterns. The colors would bleed into one another and create excitement. These “accidents” became part of the painting, and added to its mystery and sense of life. I discovered that I could wet the paper before applying paint, and with a large flat brush could create exciting “wet” areas which would contrast with “drier”, more opaque parts. This created interesting contrasts which fascinated me.

There are professional watercolor artists who believe that painting watercolors is like playing golf – the fewer strokes the better. That can lead to exciting paintings, but I don’t think that is the only way to approach the medium. I’ve seen many watercolors done in a slow, deliberate manner which are just as satisfying and interesting as ones done quickly and with a minimum of brushwork.

I love sharing watercolor painting with others and am always interested in other artist’s approach to the medium.

I have taken workshops from some of my watercolor “heroes”, including Frank Webb, Judi Betts, Judy Morris, Ted Nuttall and Dale Laitinen, all of whom have somewhat different styles. They all do exciting and inspiring work.

I love painting in watercolor, especially with others, and paint whatever subject matter interests me, including landscapes and seascapes, people and animal portraits, still-life and buildings, especially older structures with a lot of character.