Practically everyone tries their hand at watercolor painting. Kids in art class. Adults enjoying a night out with a paint brush in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
“Sipping and painting” with friends at a social art party, however, is not how Lynda Feierabend got her start.
“When I retired as a master hair stylist, I wanted to learn watercolor,” said Feierabend. “I didn’t have a clue, but I wanted to learn, so I took lessons from Sue Archer in Boone, N.C., and online and in-person lessons from Susan Bourdet in Eugene, Ore.”
— Lynda Feierabend recommends be ‘green and growing’ —
For those not steeped in the world of watercolor, Archer has won more than 200 state and national watercolor competitions. Bourdet’s watercolors are featured in multiple annual calendars. She writes how-to books and tapes instructional videos.
“To keep my art original, I took photography lessons from Greg Lavaty, an Audubon photographer from Missouri City,” she said. “I became a birder and have hundreds, maybe thousands of photos of birds, other wildlife and pets.”
That is how a native Houstonian became a watercolor artist and steeped in the exacting world of watercolors.
Long before that, though, Feierabend ran an award-winning Dairy Queen in Anahuac, sold homes in the 1980s and wrote a book for new home buyers that is still in print. She was a master hair stylist in Houston and then, in 2003, moved to Kingwood for love.
Feierabend married Carl Feierabend, a captain and pilot for Delta Airlines, already a resident of Kingwood. They blended their families, her two sons and his three daughters. She sold her salon in Houston and established a new hair salon in Atascocita. Seventeen years later, they have nine grandchildren.
“Watercolor is totally different from any other medium,” Feierabend explained. “Once laid on the paper, it is down for good. You must be very mindful when painting. There are many styles and each of us develops the style that comes to us naturally.”
Feierabend is a realist. She enjoys bringing out the detail in her subject, researching it, then getting lost in the painting.
“One of my watercolors, a rescue dog from Volunteers for Animal Protection (VAP), really got to me while I was painting him,” she said. “I found out he’d had an awfully hard life until VAP rescued him. I named him Rocky, a name that came to me as I painted.”
Painting rescue dogs and cats from VAP and donating the proceeds back to the no-kill rescue organization is one of many ways Feierabend supports charities. She is the community art relations person for the Lake Houston Area Artists in Kingwood, a nonprofit club that gives a percentage of art sales to support a Lone Star College art student.
The club’s sales, Feierabend points out, also support a renowned artist each month who presents free public shows.
“Our art has been on display at the library for years but we’re always looking for businesses to display our members’ art,” she said. “Dr. Liet Le, a dermatologist who owns Radiant Dermatology and Aesthetics in Kingwood and Fall Creek, let us hang our art to sell at his new office. We sold two beautiful pieces of art there.”
Mentors who have inspired Feierabend are as varied as her many careers. In her Dairy Queen days, Ray Croc, the founder of McDonalds, responded to her letter after she read his book that inspired her to “… always be green and growing.” As a hair stylist, Feierabend studied under Irvin Rusk, voted best hair stylist three times by his peers from around the world.
Now, as a watercolor artist, Feierabend says there are too many mentors to even mention, but she does single out V Rae, an Anchorage artist who has a unique way of using negative space and striking color on a white surface.
“I had the opportunity to visit with her while on an Alaskan cruise,” Feierabend said. “She sees wildlife different when she paints and its awe-inspiring. You’ll never forget her art.”
She and husband, Carl, are “cruisers.”
“We’ve been on 70 cruises all over the world. My favorite is Alaska,” she said. “That’s where I get so many photos to paint. My camera is always with me. You never know when you’re going to see that special object, bird, dog, wildlife, maybe even an old porch to paint.”
She spends several hours every day at her art desk, curious about what she could do better next time. Always looking for that next photo. Looking for the heart in a painting.
“If it is not there, then maybe I shouldn’t paint it, but I do anyway because I always get something from what I paint. I just can’t help it,” she said.
After so many years, Feierabend still follows the advice she received from entrepreneur Ray Croc, “… always be green and growing.”
“I’ve never stopped learning because I want to be green and growing,” she said. “I’ve read many books on successful people and that’s what you have to do. Success in anything must sink into your mind, your thoughts. It must be a part of who you are. You bring about what you think about.”
You can see Feierabend’s success and skill on display at the ArtPal webpage where her remarkable watercolors can be purchased, artpal.com/Feierabend226.