On Sunday, I taught an online watercolor workshop as a fundraiser for Hampton National Historic Site, through Historic Hampton Inc.
This was our first zoom art workshop, and I have to say it went really well. There were 19 participants that created beautiful paintings of spring flowers, inspired by the watercolor paintings of Helen Ridgely.
Helen Ridgely’s Watercolor Paintings
In many ways, this lady was a model of the modern woman during her time. It was said that she could work at the farm tending chickens all morning, go back to the Mansion and change clothes, then catch the train for Washington and have tea at the White House with her friends, the President and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt.
She traveled independently, continued her studies, managed the estate and its finances, formed her own opinions and expressed them openly, was active in civic endeavors, kept an apartment in Baltimore, was Chair of the Ladies Auxiliary for the Maryland Delegation to the 1907 Jamestown Exposition, had a telephone installed in the mansion, and learned to drive an automobile.
She took great interest in the natural world, whether depicting landscapes nearby and abroad; in the science of botany, taking courses in the subject; managing, reorganizing and enhancing the formal gardens at Hampton with an astonishing array of varieties; participating in gardening clubs, including founding the Amateur Gardeners; or simply observing local plants and flowers. She used her great interest and knowledge to manage the flower and vegetable gardens, orchards, and trees at Hampton. Years later, Helen was awarded a Diploma from the prestigious Maryland Academy of Sciences based on her studies and achievements in botany and horticulture which she had put into practice at Hampton.https://historichampton.org/
After discussing Helen Ridgely and looking closer at her watercolor paintings, we dove into watercolor tips and techniques. Participants became familiar with different ways to use watercolor and everyone created their own flower paintings.
Thank you to everyone who participated, and thank you to HHI board for being such a wonderful team to work with! Together we raised almost $400 for Hampton!