Watercolor students show off their work

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Coleen Reser shows her entry for the art show, "48 International."

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Joyce Anderson, left, discusses a new assignment with Gail Davis, a student in the intermediate watercolor class.

For more than 26 years, Joyce Anderson has been drawing in new lovers of watercolor painting here in Walla Walla.

And for the first time in five years, the winter watercolor class will culminate in an art show of student works.

The show opens at 1:30 p.m. Friday in the art department at Walla Walla Community College and will stay up until March 5.

The students, senior citizens from 60 to 90 years old, all have different reasons to join the class. For some, painting has been a hobby for several years. For others, this is the first time to touch watercolors in 50 years, and joining the class is a way to pass the long, boring winter.

Anderson seems to easily kindle everybody's love of the watercolor technique.

"Watercolors are not as messy as oil paints are," Anderson said. "Once the oil paint dries, you can fix anything, and it's great for the type of people that are good copiers. On the other hand, painting with watercolors always turns out different. Everybody touches the brush differently and the results are always a surprise."

She usually chooses the assignments from her many boxes of photographs and designs a special palette with a number of colors that gives enough freedom to paint almost anything.

"Once you start, it's hard to quit," said Jan Beechie, a retired bookkeeper who usually attends more than one of the watercolor classes per year.

Bunny Nelson is enjoying the feeling to be back in class. "Joyce makes you do things and takes you out of your comfort zone," she said. "She makes you feel successful. Painting is a great outlet that makes you look at things differently. You start noticing the trees, the flowersand the colors more." Nelson has exhibited some of her paintings in her winery, "Ensemble," and is excited about the class art show where everyone will have their work exhibited.

Anitra Breit has discovered another purpose for her paintings. She makes them into little postcards to send to family and friends. "This way when they are smaller, all you see is the color, and they always look pretty," she said.

"I wish I had started taking art classes earlier, because I would have enjoyed it all these years. You don't have to be an artist to enjoy painting," Linda Colton said.

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