The Lucky Ones
An old Roman philosopher, Seneca, once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Or, as Thomas Jefferson observed, "I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it."
For the past three years during the month of January, I’ve been an instructor for a group of watercolor artists who meet Monday mornings in Laguna Beach from 9:30 to 12:30. The large classroom, which has a 4-foot x 6-foot table for each artist, is a Methodist church hall with a full view of the Pacific Ocean and the Laguna coastline. The class meets during the months of October through April (excluding December). The instructors, who rotate each month, are currently Eileen McCullough, Teri Gammalo, Jim Salchak, Geri Medway, Judy Schroeder, and myself.
Preparing for Monday’s class takes a little work, but when I arrive, I realize I’m with the “very lucky.” We all have a deep appreciation of nature and have developed enough skill to capture moments and places with the often difficult medium of watercolor. Our final products are not always “keepers,” but the enjoyment is in the process of creating art and using lessons learned with each new creation. No one feels pressure to paint for a living, yet we all feel a need to paint.
At the start of class, I critique finished paintings brought in by the class from the previous week, then give a one-hour demonstration—a quick study from a reference photograph while discussing my approach, materials, and techniques. I hand out copies of the reference photograph and the artists begin painting which may also be from their own material. I then meet with individuals to discuss their work in progress. During those discussions, while sharing personal experiences, I realize our commonalities. Overcoming adversities has increased our joy of life with the desire to express our gratitude through art. Painting is our time to reflect as we put memories on paper. Watercolor seems the perfect medium. Like life, we’re never in complete control although we’ve learned that taking a risk often yields surprisingly great results.
If you are interested in joining this limited group, there may be some openings. Contact Gail Lattime at