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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

Watercolour Workshop

It has often been said that watercolours are the most difficult medium to learn. Yesterday, 6 enthusiastic ladies dipped their minds into the intricacies of using watercolours.

We started with some simple exercises so they could experience techniques like “wet on wet” and “wet on dry” and concepts like “soft edges” and “dry edges”. This exercise covers a few concepts: wet on dry, hard edges and graduated washes.

Viewing the image in black and white, you can see that this artist succeeded in achieving darker and lighter tones within each colour. There is more paper shining through in the lighter toned bars.

I find that repeating simple exercises like painting wet-on-wet marbles helps to internalize the concepts. There were a few other exercises that I didn’t get around to photographing. You can see hints of them in the two images below.

For the last two hours of our workshop we used all the skills that we learned in the morning and attempted a black and white painting. It wasn’t just any black and white painting though. The paper was our white and our artists had to MAKE their black. I gave them two options: 1. Mixing Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine Blue and Hookers Green and 2. Mixing French Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna.

They sketched their trees and masked the edges of the paper with Frog masking tape. Near the end of the class, we all got to experience the great reveal. It was like we were seeing totally new paintings with the green tape gone.

And here they are! Drum roll.......

I love this artist's painterly style. She stumbled upon the dry brush technique, which I hadn't taught yet, on the right bottom of two of the right trees. It added interest and texture to her painting.

You never realize just how long some trees' branches are until you paint them. This artist was able to achieve a lot of depth. Her background trees are very light and hazy and her foreground tree is wonderfully black!

I think this painter wins the prize for best angles of foreground shadows. They lead you right into the focal point of the painting, that white and glowing light on the path.

Even when not finished, this painting shows a cool style.... reminds me of Van Gogh's brush strokes. It will be really wonderful when she finishes it.

On October 15, I will be leading a Beginners' Drawing Workshop. There are still a couple of spots available around the table. Looking forward to this workshop. We always see surprises on artists' faces when they realize that they can draw.

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