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Painting has been a longtime passion for art instructor and watercolor artist Linda Moffitt, but teaching is something the 54-year-old mother of two and grandmother of one thought she never would do.
Yet Moffitt finds herself leading a Monday evening painting course in Liberty Park. The course is offered through East High Community Education. The class used to meet at the Salt Lake City Main Library, Moffitt said, but when she found there was live music in the park on Mondays, she moved lessons to the park.
Moffitt, who took a painting class with her sister almost two decades ago, now demonstrates watercolor techniques and offers advice to students who regularly show up for the outdoor classes.
With a Peruvian pan-flute band setting the mood on a recent Monday evening, Moffitt guided her students through the steps of beginning a watercolor wash (using a 1-inch flat brush, some color and a lot of water to "wash" a base color across the paper, then adding the features of the painting after the wash is dry).
Each student, using a torn-out magazine page showing a mountain or hillside scene as a guide, painted a wash and then began to add details, while Moffitt turned her focus to her own painting.
"The watercolor does stuff, the paper does stuff, and, hopefully, you can get together and collaborate and create something," she said.
Moffitt loves that watercolor mistakes made on paper can quickly be corrected with a wet brush.
"You can really fix anything. There are no mistakes in watercolor," she said, examining her work. "I hardly throw anything out."
Moffitt is loyal to watercolor as a medium because it's easy to set up and tear down and also, as a conscientious "parent" of exotic birds, there are no chemicals in watercolor that could potentially be harmful.
Moffitt graduated from East High School and has studied watercolor under local artists Steve Sheffield and Sandy Olsen. She has participated in several workshops through the Utah Watercolor Society.
She owns a housecleaning business and admits she is the last person to think she would make a great teacher. But her students keep coming back.
One repeat student, 58-year-old Salt Lake City resident Donna Shattuck, said she enjoys Moffitt's class because it gives her an opportunity to learn something new.
"[Painting] uses a different part of the brain," said Shattuck, a retired microbiologist. "I don't paint if I'm not here."
One of Moffitt's former students, Joseph M. Delos Santos, recently celebrated the opening of his first show at Salt Lake City's Chapman Library. Delos Santos garnered a blue ribbon last year at the Utah State Fair for one of his paintings. His Chapman show will be up through August.
"I learn constantly from my students and from Utah Watercolor Society educational meetings and art magazines, though I still think that experience is the best teacher," Moffitt said. "I have always drawn and painted things."
Expression in watercolors
To see more of Linda Moffitt's work, visit lindamoffitt.info .
Moffit also teaches art through the Osher Institute at the University of Utah. Visit continue.utah.edu/osher for more information.
Drop-in classes for the summer at Liberty Park cost $10 per class and are open to the public at the south end of the park near the drum-circle hill.