Departments September 2020

My Artistic Muse

By Liz Pohland | STC Chief Executive Officer

I have always enjoyed art as a pastime—both appreciating others’ by going to museums and shows and by practicing some techniques myself. Over the years, I have tried colored pencils, pastels, pen and ink, acrylic, and watercolor. Creating art is relaxing and allows my mind to focus on something other than work a few hours a week. At least it did before COVID-19.

For several years now, I have been taking watercolor classes at The Art League in Alexandria, Virginia ( When the pandemic hit the United States in early 2020, I was enrolled in a watercolor class on travel-book sketching in plein air. The course was canceled, and I was terribly disappointed. Luckily, later this year, The Art League decided to offer online courses, and I immediately jumped at the chance to enroll again. What I discovered from March to September was that without a class to take, and the interaction with classmates and an instructor, I didn’t feel as creative. I needed the structure of class to set the required time aside to focus. And it has been a great joy ever since. I have been the most prolific in my life, and I crave sitting down each week to practice new techniques and to improve my skills. I also have a couple of family members who watercolor, and we hold Zoom calls to paint together and show our work to one another for critiques.

I’m sure many STC members can relate to the pressure of the workplace, especially when many of us are now working from home or working longer and harder than before. Having an outlet for other kinds of activities keeps me happy and creative. Watercolor is my artistic muse: It is not an easy medium, but it is hypnotic and addictive for me; it is the unique spontaneity of the medium that I find inspiring and challenging. Every watercolor artist has an authentic expression of its own, and I hope that by sharing a few of my works here, I can inspire others to share their talents.