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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

5 Women - 5 Hours' Learning

Do you ever wonder how much you can learn in a 5 hour workshop? 5 hours is not much time. Here is an overview of yesterday's Beginners' Watercolour Workshop.

5 hours and 5 women.

I've come to understand that learning can only happen if there is a base of confidence. Start easy. So that's what we do: straight lines, wet paint on dry paper (wet on dry), adding a bit of water with each stroke and Voilà! Lighter colours as you make your way across the paper. Magic.

And, a blue version of the same exercise. I do not encourage my artists to become clones of me. I want their own personal style to emerge. You will see that that really did happen yesterday.

Once the first row of lines was dry, they went back in and painted the white spaces in between, creating "hard edges". Again, wet paint on dry paper.

Notice the variation in tones? More paint, darker colour. More water, lighter colour.

Take off the green Frog Tape and you've something worth framing.

Because this was a watercolour workshop, not a drawing workshop, I gave everyone templates of birds to trace around. No need to be stressed if you can't draw. Everyone arranged the birdies to their liking and....

..... they all turned out different.

Some really different; learning was happening. Personal styles were emerging.

Some of the birds grew feet.

Some sported wispy white wing feathers.

By our 1 o'clock lunch break, our artists had had the chance to practice wet on wet, wet on dry, some accidental dry brush, using salt, masking, mixing their own black, layered washes, and hard edges.

The "marbles" at the top of this image was our very first exercise. Again, tracing the circles around a twoonie because who can draw a perfect circle? Wet on wet technique and we got some really cool marbles.

By early afternoon, our mother-daughter artists, who got up early and drove from Smith's Falls, had quite the art gallery going at their end of the tables.

When a base of skills and confidence were in place, we tackled our final project. I have permission to reproduce and use one of Steve Ellaway's photos as reference for our final project. It was an image where our artists would need to use all of the skills they had learned earlier in the day. They needed to think about how to get those trees in the background looking hazy.

And, the closer trees darker and more solid.

One of our artists "went with the flow" and experimented with all that she had learned. She even tried white gouache, an opaque water-based paint. And, her creativity zinged across the table and bit the artist across from her....

.... who let loose with everything she had learned. Can you imagine this painting surrounded by a white mat and a solid black frame and looking sensational on a wall somewhere?

The focal point of this image is the white oval area. The big challenge was to keep it white. In watercolour painting, the paper is the white. This artist did a great job of preserving the white.

If you put wet paint on quite wet paper, and sprinkle salt on it, magic will happen. Pay attention and you will see grains of pigment either being pushed away from the salt or being attracted to it. That is how the artist below achieved the interesting forest floor.

I am sorry that I didn't take a picture of this painting when it was nearer to completion. This artist was a natural using the "Dry Brush" technique. Very little paint, fairly dry brush. This painting will be nice when it's completely finished.

I'll end with our mother-daughter duo's final paintings. 5 hours' learning. Good job!

Good job everyone.

Next Saturday's Beginners' Drawing Workshop has one space left around the table. Maybe you?

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