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Watercolor group to exhibit at First Friday

Painter says fellow artists 'encourage growth'

When it comes to her preferred way to paint, Elizabeth Zimmerman says watercolor is where it’s at.

“I work quick and like to rework parts of the painting sometimes, and watercolor allows me to do that without muddying the colors and waiting a long time for it to dry,” she says. “And it challenges me because you can’t go back and erase something, so you have to have a game plan and map it out.”

Zimmerman, a Gresham resident, belongs to the Watercolor Society of Oregon’s Wy’east Critique Group, whose members will exhibit their works at the Caswell Gallery, 253/255 E. Historic Columbia River Highway, Troutdale, in November. The gallery is one of several shops in Troutdale that host First Friday Art Walk events, and the next one is set to take place from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 7 along the Historic Columbia River Highway.

The event features wine tastings and music as well. Among the artists to be featured at this month’s Walk is Jordan McGee, whom gallery owner Rip Caswell is mentoring. This show will feature McGee’s first publicly exhibited bronze sculptures.

Why watercolor?

Zimmerman has tried other types of painting, but wound up focusing on watercolor.

“In art college I tried almost all mediums — oil, acrylic, pastels, ink, charcoal, graphite, and colored pencil,” she says. “I’ve continued with watercolor because it fits my personality.”Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Silent Watcher by Elizabeth Zimmerman is among the works to be displayed at the Caswell Gallery in Troutdale as part of the communitys monthly First Friday Art Walks. The next one takes place from 5-9 p.m. Nov. 7.

Zimmerman attended Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, graduating in 2009 with a minor in fine art and then attending the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, from which she graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in fine art in drawing and painting. In addition to the Watercolor Society of Oregon, she also belongs to the Northwest Watercolor Society and International Equine Artists, which focuses on horse paintings. Her award-winning work has been exhibited at several Oregon events, and she’s also designed labels for wine bottles.

“I work from photographs,” she adds. “I take my own photos and use them as reference. And sometimes I paint from life, plein air painting.”Photo Credit: PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRISTIANE BUTLER AND MICHAEL CARBONE - Elizabeth Zimmerman

Zimmerman enjoys painting such natural scenes of landscapes, animals and people.

“It’s not always about the landscape, it’s about the sunlight,” she says. “How the sun hits objects and casts shadows inspires me. Painting for me is about capturing the shadows and sunshine with color and values. When I go hiking in the woods, or riding in the truck with my husband, I take photos of how the sun casts its light on the scenery.”

Zimmerman joined the Wy’east group about a year ago and says its members have inspired her.

“I’ve found it’s important to put your art in front of your peers,” she says. “It encourages growth. You can say to yourself, ‘Oh, that looks great.’ But others in the critique group will suggest ways to bring it up a notch. They have been critical, but not harsh in their critiques.”

First Friday

Zimmerman says she’s looking forward to First Friday Art Walk.

“I like meeting people and answering questions about my artwork,” she says.

For more information on Zimmerman, visit westernrosestudios.com.

For more information on the Watercolor Society of Oregon, visit watercolorsocietyoforegon.com.

For more information on First Friday, visit facebook.com/TroutdaleFirstFriday.

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