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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

Today's Watercolour Workshop

Sometimes, it's good to switch things up a bit. Today's watercolour workshop for beginners was a new take on an old process. I cut out some building templates for artists to trace around and build their own little city. They then learned about wet on wet painting and layering washes as they painted the town. No need to have drawing skills here.

I always find it interesting that you can give two people the very same paints and the very same templates and the outcome will be so different. I encourage my artists to use whatever colours they wish so that they will learn how each colour works as they use them. We were using Winsor & Newton Professional watercolours and each colour has its own characteristics. Experimenting was the word of the day.

This is not a drawing workshop, so we drew around toonies to get our marbles circular. There was some learning around leaving the paper dry to retain the whiteness of the paper. The paper is your white in most watercolour paintings.

We did the same with our maple leaves.... we traced around pressed leaves to get an accurate representation of a leaf. Can you see that by now they are catching on to the wet on wet technique?

We learned how to make graduated washes. Those yellows are all the same paint colour. The lighter ones just have more paper showing through.

Here's a finished example. Look at the light blues. Same thing... more paint = darker, less paint = lighter. The other technique addressed in this exercise was the making of hard edges. Each strip of paint needs to be completely dry before you paint next to it.

For the final painting, our artists drew on everything they had learned all day and did an interpretation of Welsh photographer, Steve Ellaway's photograph of misty trees. It was beautiful to see this artist grasp what she had learned and run with it. It was almost seeing the lightbulb go on over her head.

Everyone had a different way of interpreting the photograph. The artist below is a young high school student.

I am very happy with my new Beginners Watercolour Workshop changes. I am also happy to have spent the day with a group of very lovely human beings.

Many of today's artists told me that they had not picked up a brush during the pandemic. They were happy to be back in art world. Pablo Picasso's words are as fitting today as they were when he first said them:

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

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