I am inspired by photographs my wife takes of all the places I have been while in the US Army. Painting watercolors and fine art is my stress relief. I have painted contemporary, impressionistic, and modern original watercolor paintings throughout the United States and Europe in past 20 years. I was born in Albany, Georgia on February 19, 1969. I presently reside with my wife, Sheila, of 20 years and my two sons, in Satellite Beach, FL, near Cocoa Beach.
I first started painting with oils in the summer of 1984. From 1985 to 1986 I painted under the instruction of Jimmy Peterson, a very talented southern artist from Georgia. In 1986 I won 1st place in a Georgia Arts Exhibition at the age of 16 and have been painting every since.
I joined the United States Army in 1987 and continued self-study and painting on landscape subjects in France, Holland, Germany, Italy and Hungary, painting in the plein air style. I continued to paint in the oil medium until 2001 when my wife bought me watercolors for my 32nd birthday. Since 2001, I have painted over 200 original landscape, flower, barn and seascape paintings with over 20 being commissions. I became involved in arts councils and exhibitions in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas. In 2002 I began working with other mediums including India Ink and acrylics. My favorite subjects are seascapes and I always use Arches watercolor paper, either cold-pressed or rough, depending on the subject. If I want more detail then I use hot pressed. If I want a lot of texture I use rough.
Lessons learned throughout over 25 years of painting include:
- Never paint when you are not inspired.
- Try to visualize what you want to paint before you paint the subject and imagine a finished product and what steps you will take to get there.
- For larger and more detailed works, draw the image on the canvas first with light pencil.
- Establish your own style but learn from others. Experiment with creating art using individual techniques beginning with smaller less detailed images and working your way up.
Techniques I have learned to use and call my own include:
- Use of splatter to create depth.
- Use of charcoal on finished products to add texture and shadows.
- Wet on wet, let the watercolors do their magic. Sometimes watercolors when wet on wet create effects that make you say: “How did I do that?”.
- Try not to use too much paint, start out with lighter colors and add layers of darker colors. Too much watercolor paint creates a mess that you can not fix. That is the difference between watercolors and other mediums that can be repaired by “painting over”.
- Use Art Trading Cards to practice your larger images before painting them large. This way if you make a mistake it will be on a small piece of paper and you can apply that lesson to your larger work.
- I have seen different techniques for holding the watercolor paper to your background for paintings, including stapling down the sides of the work. I prefer to use masking tape around the entire edges of my paintings.
You can read more about what inspires me and my biography at Bio page at www.derekmccrea.50megs.com/about.html