Tuesday, 4 September 2012


Boiling Springs Lake (PC)

"I don't want to grow old and say I wish I had done something in my life. I'd rather try and fail at it, than not try at all. A failure can be a great teacher and can lead to many successes."   I made this my philosophy in life when I was 21 years old.  It has served me well and has been my motto to this day.   Water is essential to all living things; water is the essential ingredient to the medium of watercolor.

I never had the desire to do any painting or drawing of any kind until I had to go through a troubling time in my life in and around 2001.  It was a time when, as a wife of 9 years; I thought it would last forever.  However, due to circumstances beyond my control, it didn’t and I felt as if my spirit had left me too.  As it turned out, it was for the best.  However,  I wanted to prove something to myself, to create something out of nothing, to be in control of my destiny; but I was at a loss to know just what that was exactly. I didn’t know how to get out of the rut I was in.

It wasn’t until I saw in a newsletter, a 6 week class being offered by the Mechanicsburg Art Center titled:  “Free Spirit Watercolor” taught by Jeanne Hartman, that I knew if anyone’s spirit needed freeing, it was mine.  It was through taking that very class I found out:  “water” was the ingredient that saved my spirit and brought it back to life again painting with watercolor. It was the “something” I was searching for.

Iris at Roebling Roads
 I consider myself a painter of water and of living things.  I am influenced by the world around me in a particular moment of time.  It could be the feeling of awe I get when I see the reds and gold in the setting sun, or pinks, lavender and yellows shown in the partly cloudy sky of a morning sunrise.  In order for me to paint something, I have to get a feeling for the place or object; it has to invoke a mood for me and I get them in the water’s reflections,  a beautiful bunch of flowers or lengthening shadows and their intricate shapes cast upon the ground.

St. Francis Garden
From the year 2000 until May 2011, I painted indoors at a drawing table in my studio and from photographs.  I was painting realism up until that time but felt confined and limited; I just wanted to paint more freely and loosely.   I am a self-taught artist and have had no formal education in the arts.  I’ve learned and am still learning by trial and error and have studied with numerous professional watercolor artists. To name a few:  Sterling Edwards, Chuck McLaughlin, Larry Lombardo, Jeanne Hartman, Jean Uhl Spicer, Luke Buck, Sandy Blair, Tony Van Hasselt, and Judy Betts.  Each one has a different style and from each one, I take something and apply it to the painting I am working on.
Little Round Top and Monument

 I was accepted into a plein air paint out on the battlefield of Gettysburg in 2011; it was to occur in early June.  I had never tried to paint outdoors with my watercolors at all, so I took my supplies outside in my own back yard and began to get some real life lessons!   I tried painting a red azalea bush, a blue hydrangea bush with it’s pinks and blues and a single iris flower.  I quickly found out I had to make much faster decisions and be more spontaneous than I imagined.  When painting plein air, time really was of the essence to capture the scene before me:  shadows changed, wind blew, colors intensities changed too.  Painting plein air and watercolor you’ve gotta be quick.
Spangler Farm

 From the first class with watercolor, I overheard a lady tell someone, “Linda really paints just what she sees doesn’t she?”  I didn’t understand what she had meant at the time because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do.   What I really needed was to try to add more color to something to make it more exciting and interesting…not just paint the yellow pear, with Aureolin yellow and a brown stem!  It wasn’t until I got outdoors to paint plein air it started to make more sense. 

Campground Flowers
Cape May Lighthouse
 What I love most about painting en plein air with watercolor is there is less time to think and just “react” to what I am seeing.  It’s not just what I see; but it’s what I feel too.  It’s not just the green leafy tree on a background of blue—it’s the green tree with the yellow and blues added to the green that make it interesting.  It’s that sky filled with puffy clouds of pink, gold and purple against a blue sky and the darkened silhouetted shapes back lit by a setting sun.  It’s the gray sky of rain in the distance and the color of the landscape and atmosphere that changes with the time of day. 

Since 1989, I’ve owned and operated a hair styling salon called Designs by Linda.  The name fits both the hairstyling and my art studio, I think.  I’m in the salon three and a half days a week from eight in the morning until the end of the day.  On days I am not working, I’m getting caught up ordering supplies, doing bookkeeping and running errands.  Because of that schedule, my plein air painting time is so much more valuable and a treasure to me whenever I am able to do it.
Wall Flowers Collage

For me, when I am outdoors, I am one with God and nature…I am His creation and in His world.  If I have succeeded in making a beautiful painting, it is due to His hand who has guided me with every stroke of the brush.    I like to think of my paintings as little windows to my soul that reflect my love of nature which is as vast as the deep blue sea.

Waves at Sand Beach
Linda Young
I was awarded Signature membership status with the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society and Baltimore Watercolor Society.  I am a member of the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters, Daily Painters of Pennsylvania Harrisburg Art Association and the Art Center School and Galleries and currently serve on the board of directors for the Carlisle Arts Learning Center.

You can see more of my art in different styles on my website at http://www.lindayoungwatercolors.com


Claire Beadon Carnell said...

I really enjoyed reading this, Linda. Your passion for your work and your life is quite evident!

Linda Young said...

Thank you Claire; I'm looking forward to getting out again whenever I've got the time.

Cecelia Lyden said...

Wonderful description of your love of painting and what it has meant to you--having control of this part of your life is so important-whether we fail or suceed with our art--we are all so fortunate to have it in our lives.

Larry Lerew said...

Great Bio, good read. Here's wishing you more success in finding your way with the help of art. Hope to see you out painting soon.

Linda Young said...

Thank you Cecelia and Larry. We are all fortunate to have each other too. Hope to be out painting soon too; I know for sure I will be at CALC's Art on the Farm painting plein air with the chickens at the Dickinson College Farm.

Tatiana Myers said...

Love Your works, Linda!

Linda Young said...

Thank you Tatiana

Julie Riker said...

Great post Linda! I have enjoyed watching your work develop in the few years I've known you. You have a wonderful freshness to your painting.

Linda Young said...

Thank you so much Julie

mumeb123 said...

Hi Linda! I like the way you handled the road in Spangler Farm. The loose wash gives a nice suggestion of earth and grass without being overworked. The hydrangea is lovely! Soft colors blending beautifully! And the wave- Super! Nice to see such nice paintings this morning. - xo Vivi

Clare Klaum said...

What a great body of work! I love your fresh technique. It was inspiring to read your story and how art has been a part of your life. I especially loved how you gave glory to God for your amazing gift!

Linda Young said...

Thank you Vivi and Clare. I'm happy to be in the company of such wonderful artists.