Judelle McArdle


Bluffton, SC (formerly from Vienna, VA)


For me it is all about color. I am a student of all aspects of watercolor but, in the end, color is king for me. I like to create paintings that feel peaceful but every now and then I get an urge to be whimsical. My favorite subject matter is waterfowl, especially large birds who exhibit dynamic personalities.

My life as a watercolorist began after I retired. I was 59 years old with no previous watercolor or art training except for a brief skirmish with acrylics 30 years earlier.

Serendipity was at its best. My husband and I were in Old Town Alexandria VA when we stopped in to look at the art in the Torpedo Factory. I picked up a brochure and began reading it as we drove home. I laughed when I read the location (Provence, France) and said to my husband, "They think people will travel all the way to France to take watercolor lessons."

He said, "Why don't you go?" After 28 years of running my own fast-paced publishing business, I automatically replied, "I can't." He asked, "Why?" I couldn't come up with a reason. In the past I always had to take care of my business. I sputtered and he said, "Why not?" Eventually I blurted out, "People just don't do that!" He repeated, "Why not?"

You've probably guessed by now that Provence, France became the venue of my first watercolor class. I knew so little about watercolor and art in general that I didn't know enough to be intimidated.

The two-week workshop taught by Susan Abbott in France sold me on watercolor. Since then I have taken class after class with so many good instructors that I am afraid to rattle off their names for fear I will forget someone. After I returned from Provence, Suzanne Binnie of Herndon VA took me on for weekly private watercolor sessions at her home. Many thanks to you, Suzanne, for your patient instruction and for introducing me to my love of waterfowl.

Later I attended group classes with extraordinary Northern Virginia watercolor instructors like Gwen Bragg, Rachel Collins, Lassie Corbett, Carolyn Grosse Gawarecki, Steve Fleming, Peter Ulrich, and Susan Heron. And workshops given by exceptional artists like Judi Betts, Diane Maxey, Gordon MacKenzie, Mark Mehaffey, Eric Weigardt, Joseph Fettingis, Margaret Martin, Cathy Welner, Rocky Ferris, Jaimie Cordero, Don Andrews, Don Demers, Lian Zhen, Nancy Courick, Linda Baker, John Salminen and Maggie McClellan.

After moving to Bluffton SC in 2011, I attended classes with Lowcountry artists like Addison Palmer, Vickie Jourdan, Dennis Lake and Mary Ann Putzier.

My special thanks go to Maggie McClellan of Miami FL who helped me find a way to draw when I thought there was no hope.

Also, my gratitude goes to instructor Gwen Bragg who encouraged me to enter art shows. Now my watercolors have been accepted into juried shows such as the Treasury of Art Shows in Vienna VA, Fine Art in Miniature in Maryland, and assorted monthly shows at The Art League, Alexandria VA.

In 2009 I was juried into the Potomac Valley Watercolorists. This is an honor that I still treasure today!

Consider this:

If you've been thinking about trying something new, consider watercolor or some other artsy pursuit. And don't worry about formal training ...especially if you have some age on you!

You don't need to have been born with natural talent ... everything is learnable if you're willing to put in the time.

Believe me, if I can do watercolors, anyone can!

For email inquiries use judy.mcardle@lifeanswers.com