George Crown Loves the “Strange Animal” That Is Watercolor


When new Anderson Artists Guild member George Crown got a degree in art from Principia College (and later an MA and MFA graduate degrees in drawing, painting, and art history from Bowling Green University), “I had no concept of making a living,” he said.

After graduation he was able to get a job teaching art in a local high school in the suburbs of Pittsburgh in 1968. He ended up teaching for five years at the secondary level and close to 20 years on the college level. “I loved it,” he said. “It’s fun to use what you know to help others. I learned as much from the students as they learned from me.”

But after 25 years, it was time for a change. He and his wife, Barbara, also an AAG member, moved to Harsens Island on Michigan’s eastern shore, where they bought a gift shop. “It was a complete change of lifestyle,” he said.

Crown sold his own work in the shop and did custom framing (he has worked for a number of frame shops over the years). He also did commissions, especially home and boat illustrations on nautical charts. “Those were very popular,” he said. “I did two to three hundred.”

Watercolor is his passion. “Watercolor is a strange animal because it always provides a challenge, unlike acrylics and oils, which I find too predictable,” he said. “With watercolor, you can’t take it for granted. Plus, I love the luminosity and the beauty of the color.”

Much of his inspiration comes from nature—landscapes and seascapes—as well as man-made structures like old buildings and boats. “I work with a strong sense of design and composition,” he said. “I love abstract painting, but somehow I need something recognizable.”

Now that he and Barbara have retired to Anderson, he’s got much more time to paint.

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