GUEST ARTIST: “My Colorful Journey” by S. E. Bland

S E Bland Watercolor Moutains Painting

Hello from Texas! I’m delighted to share some thoughts (and works) with you. My name is Shirley Bland, but I sign my work S. E. Bland, because when I started showing art, I didn’t want to be identified as anything other than “artist.” I am a mother, grandma, and great grandmother, and I live in the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio, Texas. I was born in Oklahoma but have lived here much longer than there, so guess I am now a Texan.

9e Watercolor Trees Reflection Painting

I have always loved needle art and spent some time weaving and spinning before taking some art classes at a community college. Although intimidated at first, I soon found what I had wanted to do all my life. So much for starting young – I was in my 60’s when I did my first painting. Twenty years later, I am still passionate about art in all its amazing forms.

9b Trees Watercolor Shirley Bland

My husband and I retired a while back (actually sixteen years ago) and moved from Houston to be near our grandchildren. We did some traveling (Alaska, Maine, the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest and the East Coast) and I can say there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting on a beach or in the mountains painting plein air.

2 Watercolor Painting Beach Shirley E Bland

Sometimes the wind blows my easel down the hill and I bring home Arizona sand embedded in my work. I’ve even seen my easel sinking into the sand at the beach and washed by brushes in the ocean!

3 Beach Painting Watercolor S E Bland

One of the great joys in my life is my School of Joyful Art. I began teaching shortly after we retired. My studio looks out over a greenbelt, and our little home is full of laughter and color. This fall I taught seven classes a week! We studied Art “Happreciation” (my combination of art history and appreciation rolled together), Beginning Acrylics, Making Faces (painting portraits in watercolor and gouache) and Special Projects. If we feel hesitant to try something new, we look up elementary classes on YouTube and learn along with the children.

4 Shirley E Bland Painting Class

I call my students the “ARTCHIX and the DUDES.”  We party together, celebrate our triumphs and share our struggles. A year ago, eight women and a dude went to Oregon to paint together, and believe me, wheelchairs did not slow these folks down.

5 Painting Group 8 Women 1 Dude

We did lots of watercolor sketches to bring back for reference.

Watercolor Painting landscape study

Bandon, Oregon from our beach house.

In September this year, several of us went to Maine to escape our August heat.  From the Canada border, we painted and enjoyed the cool air on the Bay of Fundy.

and my favorite…

9 Landscape Painting In Watercolor

Schoodic Peninsula, Maine.

We have only one rule in my classroom: “You MUST have fun.”

I paint in oils, acrylics, pastels, gouache and watercolor and really enjoy the travel watercolors. My husband is mobility impaired so I do a lot of painting in my recliner next to him, watching television.

9d Watercolor Painting Water Mountains

I published a book last year which features a number of my paintings. Please feel free to check it out on Amazon. I enjoy blogging, and in addition to classes, I hold several workshops every year. You can find me at the links below.

Thanks to Doodlewash challenges, I participated in the Painting a Day last year and sold nineteen paintings! What a thrill, and boy did I grow – doing something every day is a real challenge, but I highly recommend it if you want to grow your work.

I’m inclined to spend a lot of time lying down or reclining. For that reason I very much enjoy my travel sets of watercolors. With a pill bottle full of clean water, I can work in a car or plane, sitting or lying down, even with a cat in my lap!

Shirley Bland Watercolor KitI began years ago with my Winsor & Newton Cotman set. I love that I can buy individual half pans to replace the empties. The precious tiny traveling brush from that set currently resides deep down in a sink in Oregon, where I dropped it when cleaning. I’m treating myself to a new travel brush this Christmas, but haven’t chosen one yet. I am currently using water brushes or a tiny Grumbacher brush.

More recently I’m very much enjoying my Nomad watercolor set from Prestigify. These colors are so vivid and wonderfully portable. I’m on my second set! I make my own sketchbooks with Strathmore watercolor paper and also like the Hahnemühle brand for travel.

Thanks for letting me share with you.

S. E. Bland
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Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
10 Comments
  1. Laura Hale 1 week ago

    Nice to meet you Shirley! Thank you for sharing your beautiful art and colorful journey with us. Your joy for life shines through your paintings.

  2. Zertab Quaderi 1 week ago

    Your work, your art journey, and philosophy of life is amazing! May you be blessed for spreading colors on the canvas and on everyone around you!

  3. Karen Fortier 1 week ago

    Shirley, thanks so much for sharing your story and your art! I retired about a year ago to pursue my art and never looked back.

  4. Sandra Strait 1 week ago

    Shirley, your paintings are full of life and joy! Thank you for sharing your artistic journey with us.

  5. Mary Roff 1 week ago

    Beautiful paintings and thank you for sharing your wonderful story!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 1 week ago

    Thanks for sharing your lovely art! You are an inspiration to those of us who came to painting later in life.

  7. Bonnie Ottaviani 1 week ago

    Thank you for sharing your journey. Your story is very inspirational.

  8. Rick R Crosson 1 week ago

    You are such a colorful pallet yourself Shirley. I enjoyed my lesson with you and look forward to the next class. Rick C.

  9. LoriCtoo 1 week ago

    Hello from Oregon! Your little group looks like a bunch of fun characters. I just started doing landscape painting on the go this summer. I love documenting my travels this way. Normally I document my Disneyland trips this way(that is what got me started watercoloring). Your style is my kind of style. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work and story.

  10. Claire 1 week ago

    Love your story and your art journey resonates with those of us who finally have time in retirement to do what they have always had a passion for. Thanks for sharing

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