Carroll County Times

Waterman to show at 'Off Track Art'

Paula Waterman always wanted to be an artist. She drew horses and other animals incessantly when she was a child and exhibited her art when she was in junior high school and high school in Northern Virginia.

When Waterman attended American University she majored in art for a short time. She said she felt that the art program was not what she was looking for in her career as an artist, so she decided to go to nursing school so that she could make a living.

When she finished nursing school she became more serious about her art again. Waterman said she began to look for galleries to show her artwork.

"It was 18 years of nursing until I was able to do art again," she said.

It took a while, but she slowly began to earn a living as an artist and cut down her hours nursing until she was able to support herself full time as a professional artist in 1998.

Waterman started out doing scratchboard - a clay coated board that is white and very smooth. It has an India ink coating. The artist draws by using a pointed tool to scratch in a design.

It is a black and white medium although some artists add color. Birds done with the scratchboard medium were her main subject but she also did other wildlife. Waterman sold these at her first gallery show at McBride Gallery in Annapolis. Her art has been sold there for the past 30 years and she has had seven, one-person-shows at McBride Gallery over the years.

Waterman has been in many other galleries including Chesapeake Frame Shop and Gallery in Bowie (now closed) as well as many others over the years. Currently, she is showing her art at Troika Gallery in Easton; William Ris Gallery in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport.

She will be showing at "Off Track Art" in Westminster as a guest artist beginning in July.

After she got established as an artist, Waterman began to do watercolor because she wanted to do a color medium.

"I never really got beyond mediocre at it because it is a difficult medium," she said.

Then, Waterman began to work in oils which she found more satisfying and easier to work with than watercolor. She kept doing the same subjects: birds, wildlife and some dogs. According to Waterman, scratchboard is a beautiful medium for detail such as fur and feathers, but detail is the least interesting aspect of art for her. Instead, she enjoys oil painting more for its flexibility.

One of the things she said she is most excited about every year is the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum Art Museum "Bird in Art" Exhibition in Wausau, WI. Since its inception in 1976, this has become an internationally known, juried, annual exhibition devoted to all things bird including paintings and sculpture. The goal of the exhibition is to show the best in contemporary interpretations of birds and related items. The museum's primary focus is to "present and collect art of the natural world having birds as the primary or secondary focus."

Waterman has been accepted to exhibit 18 times, a remarkable accomplishment considering about 1,000 pieces are entered every year and only 100 are selected. The exhibition opens the second weekend in September every year with a big weekend event for the artists who have been accepted. After that, 60 pieces of art go on tour throughout the country.

Waterman is also active in the AKC National Club for the Australian shepherds. She designed their national club logo as well as their annual "Specialty Show" artwork. The original is donated every year as a fundraiser for the club. This year it raised a record $2,000 in raffle tickets. Framed prints of the artwork are used as the trophies for the event. Interestingly enough, Waterman raises and shows Australian shepherds herself.

Waterman said she loves the freedom of schedule as an independent artist.

"You still have to put in the hours and have self- determination," she said. "You are not an artist if you do not work at it continuously. It is not enough to call yourself an artist; you still have to make the art every day."

There are many things that go with being a professional artist including framing, selling at shows and getting your art into galleries.

"My hours are far longer than they were when I was a nurse but for more rewarding for me."

She can be contacted at Her website is