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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

Beginners' Watercolour Workshop

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Today, 6 adults attempted something they'd never done before: they tried painting with watercolours. Here are glimpses into what was accomplished by these six brave people.

We started with a few exercises that taught some of the watercolour basics like "wet on dry" as in the above image. As the artists were drawing their stripes, they were learning how to make tonal differences with individual colours. Like if you look at the blue on the left - it gets lighter and lighter as you move right. Same paint, just more water carrying it.

A new exercise for this workshop was to paint simple poppies. Each one is a secondary colour. Purple, Green, Orange.

This was a painting workshop, not a drawing one. So we made life easy and traced around loonies to make marbles. The idea was to experiment with the wet-on-wet (paper wet - paint wet) technique. And, more fun mixing colours.

I don't know if I've ever led a workshop with more diversity in the group. Look at the bold colours!

As the artists painted their poppies, they were encouraged to make the centre of the poppy bleed into the paint around it.

I love how beautiful pictures look when the green Frog tape is peeled off. This one could certainly be framed.

There is something very delicate about the poppies below.

And these are even more ethereal.

And, in case you were falling asleep - BAM - more colour! Isn't that an interesting edge of burgundy on the centre flower? It almost looks like it has been collaged on.

Again, because this was not a drawing workshop, a bird template was passed around and artists were encouraged to make their own bird composition. They experimented with using a masking fluid to save the sparkles in their eyes and some of the artists also painted masking fluid on the birds' tails.

Masking fluid needs to dry before it is painted over.

Near the end of the workshop, someone remembered that we had not rubbed off the masking fluid. And, there they are! Sparkling eyes.

From a single little birdie.....

..... to three with attitude....

.... to two chatting it up.....

.... to the last three.

Look at that beautiful orange on the left one!

Their last project was to use a reference photo and apply the morning's learning. This is a great reference photo from Steve Ellaway, a photographer from Wales. He's given me permission to use his photos as reference. Every technique the artists learned in the morning had room to be used.

Sketches were sketched.

Techniques were applied. Doesn't the image below look misty? It looks to me like there is a low-lying fog in the woods.

Our colour-loving artist was also an experimenter in texture and design.

When the artist below finishes her painting at home, the base of the tree will flow into the surrounding grass. Put on your imagination hat and visualize how lovely it will look.

You need to know one thing: this black was MADE by these artists. None of the artists had black in their pallet.

I am very happy with everyone's work. And, they tell me that they were inspired to continue on with watercolours.

6 artists faced a scary challenge and were triumphant. Mission accomplished.

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