While I was teaching my private adult watercolor classes in 1984, I took many trips to visit the Scottsdale, Arizona art galleries. After one of these trips, I decided to “stage” a composition. I dressed my daughter, Nicole, in western cowboy boots, long skirt, shirt, my hat with a feather, while holding a big umbrella. I wanted a composition with just her and her shadow.

About this time it was popular among watercolorists to use kosher salt in the wash to make a speckled look. To do this, I had to paint Nicole and the umbrella on a separate sheet of paper. I cut it out, and would place it on another prepared full sheet of watercolor paper. I put a light gray wash down and sprinkled kosher salt all over on the new sheet of paper. It looked like rain drops coming down. I projected Nicole’s shadow onto the dry salt surface and painted it in. I glued the cut out figure and umbrella on top of the shadow. The idea originated with the idea of a shadow in the rain, with the play of the umbrella used to keep the rain/sunshine off her.

I used slide film to take several photos, then used a projector to sketch the image. The original image was taken with her facing to the right. Because I wanted a nice, clear image for the shadow, I had her stand on the sidewalk in front of our home. If she had faced left, then the shadow would not have been correct. Therefore, I just flipped the slide around for projection, to show her coming into the painting.

The painting was only in one show, as we were moving to Oklahoma.

“The Arizona Artists’ guild Fall Show,” Valley Bank Center, Phoenix, Arizona, October 21-27, 1984. Jury: Frank Fitzgerald, Richard Hillis, and Jackie Schultz.

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