Right On Hue
For half a century, artist Gracia Parkhill Dayton has colored her world
“Misty Mountain,” watercolor, 22 x 30 inches
Fall is one of Gracia Parkhill Dayton’s favorite times of year, as that’s when the foliage surrounding her studio in the Catskills bursts forth in vibrant shades of orange, magenta, red and gold.
For the lifelong artist the scene is a joy to behold and capture on watercolor paper using a spontaneous wet-on-wet technique that blurs the images, lending soft, fuzzy edges to the shapes of colors. While it’s a less controlled, often unpredictable way of painting, Gracia’s skill at adding hard edges after the paper dries better defines trees, lakes and hills. The results are stunning. They’re also award winning, but more about that in a bit.
Thanks to her roommate from Skidmore College, Gracia and her husband, Bruce, were introduced to Vero Beach several years ago. Instantly smitten, they have been escaping the wicked winds of winter to settle into their third-floor condo at The Moorings, where they bask in the sunshine and warm breezes. There she has a much different view, one that looks out over the harbor, where, throughout the day, sunbeams dance on water and shifts in light patterns create an ever-changing scene she can’t resist painting.
Since Gracia is quick to admit she’s not particularly fond of painting boats, she often uses her artistic license to select or eliminate, creating a composition of her own liking. And that liking pleases Bruce, a retired insurance executive, her biggest fan and, to an extent, her personal promoter by virtue of his enthusiastic support. Witness the coffee table book he had published eight years ago, titled “The World of Gracia Parkhill Dayton: Watercolors and Mixed Media.”