Watercolorists: Painters come to Silverton to celebrate 50th anniversary

April, 2016 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
Kara Pilcher

Kara Pilcher

By Kristine Thomas

Growing up, Kara Pilcher believed her older brother was the artist and she was the athlete. It wasn’t until she was looking for art to put on the “blank” walls of her home that she discovered her artistic talents.

“I was newly married and I was at a furniture store looking for artwork and I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I could do that,” Pilcher said.

Eager to learn, she took a watercolor class at Chemeketa Community College. “I liked the class but everything was so controlled,” she said.

Thankfully, she said, a chance encounter at an art store led her to meeting George Hamilton, a teacher with the Watercolor Society of Oregon.

“He invited me to the Oregon Coast to go paint,” she said.

That was 1987, and it was her introduction to the Watercolor Society of Oregon. She’s met lifelong friends while expanding her knowledge of watercolors.

Pilcher has served as the group’s president, taught classes and workshops and taken on other tasks. 

“When I joined, all my friends had little kids,” she said laughing. “Now, we are grandmas.”

Pilcher, Jean Lea and Kathy Tiger have planned the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s 50th anniversary, which will showcase The Oregon Garden and the surrounding area to more than 300 watercolor painters.

The event is April 8-9 at the Oregon Garden Resort. There are events community members can participate in, including viewing the 80 juried paintings at The Oregon Garden Resort, observing or participating in Paint Outs at The Oregon Garden or in Silverton, or taking the Studio Tour of Silverton artists.

What Pilcher enjoys about painting with watercolors is there is an “excuse not to get it right.”

“With oils, you can go over it until you get what you want,” she said. “You can’t do that with watercolors.”

She’s grateful for the encouragement she has received from friends and fellow artists.

Pilcher says her art shows what’s important to her, including dance. For her, whether it’s painting or dancing, is a spiritual connection to the “creator within each of us.”

“When we are creating, we are in touch with God,” she said.

She encourages other people who are thinking about trying a new craft to join a group.

“I think when you surround yourself with people who are interested in the same thing, that you learn new skills for your craft, you have friends who encourage you and it makes your artwork fun,” Pilcher said.

Visit www.watercolorsocietyoforegon.com to learn more about Watercolor Society of Oregon and view its conference schedule.

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