It was the last day of the watercolor workshop. For the recap, I had to think about a few things? What was the most memorable thing we learned? Was is frustrating or fun? Can the techniques we learned improve our own art?
We were looking forward to our last day of the workshop. It was not that we wanted the experience to be over but we were anxious to finish our paintings. The landscapes had no skies and the hollyhocks, at least mine, needed some help.
This workshop was in June, so as of this writing I have had 4 months to process the experience. Being an art instructor myself, my take-aways include more than just how much water and which brush to use but also teaching styles: am I going too fast, is this demo too slow, is it boring, am I giving too much information at one time, how does it feel to be a student? These are some of the things that I think about.
I asked Renee and Suzan for their input and take-aways from the workshop.
For Renee, the workshop was right up her alley! She loves painting churches, missions, and flowers. Her style leans toward loose and almost “painterly”. I think her favorite part was learning how to paint the cloudless blue sky.
Suzan shared with me that she always learns something that she can use at some point. She found the color mixing to be tedious because we used Dyan’s choice of watercolors, which were new to Suzan. Very few of the colors on the palette were used as they were. The challenge for Suzan was to remember or write down (during the demo) the color combinations. And there was an abundance of color mixing to get all of the beautiful greens and dark values that we used in our paintings.
I also had a difficult time remembering all of the color combinations. What I found to be the easiest for me was to make a color mixing chart. I shared how I made my color mixing chart HERE!
We had to remind ourselves that we were not creating masterpieces during those few hours. And something that I often remind my students is, “It’s only paper!!!” We really can start over.
PRACTICE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT! PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS!
LET’S ADD THE BEAUTIFUL BLUE SKY
One of the most recognizable elements of Dyan Newton’s watercolor paintings are her cloudless blue skies. However, that formula is not mine to share. But if you take one of her watercolor workshops you too can learn her secret. Dyan says, “I like to get in and get out, keeping my paintings looking spontaneous”.
Her time and energy was spent with the ever changing colors and bold brushstrokes in the body of the painting and then her finishing touch was the sky! That sky was our main take-away in this watercolor workshop.
Look at all those blue skies! Again, her instructions to us on the sky was, “get in and get out.” Probably one of the most common mistakes, with watercolor especially, is overworking a painting. It is important to know when to stop. I have caught myself telling Renee, “STOP! STOP! STOP!” I didn’t mean to yell but I could see her art differently than she could. I could see it was time to stop. Sometimes I think I need for someone to yell, “STOP! STOP! STOP!” to me, too.
These were my hollyhocks at the end of Day 3. I wasn’t really thrilled with the results. But that was probably because I was comparing my art to Dyan’s. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt. I also like Seth Godin’s quote, “The most important comparison, in fact, is comparing your work to what you are capable of.”
I added the “blue sky” and a few fence posts. It was getting better but I still thought it needed a little something else. Sometimes in my classes at WTC College on the Square, when a student is unhappy with their results, I will have them paint or scribble a messy outline and then splatter the paint. They love that process!!! This technique has rescued quite a few “failures”.
So, I did the same thing. I scribbled some black outlines and then added some white outlines but I didn’t splatter this one.
REMINDER ABOUT MY WATERCOLOR CLASS
It is called “WATERCOLOR FUN-damentals”. This is a self paced class using a limited palette. Enrollment for that course will start SOON. Be sure and check your emails. More details to come.
It is for BEGINNING watercolor students. I go over all the fundamentals with very detailed videos, in small bites. If you are interested in more details and the release date, be sure and subscribe to this blog.
TIME TO CRITIQUE
And when it was all said and done, at the very end, we took the time to critique each other’s works of art. That was a very interesting and educational process. Each artist’s painting was placed in a temporary mat and then onto the easel for all to see.
You might ask, “Why would you do that?” It is part of the process.
Dyan would point out and compliment areas that were strong and also highlight techniques that needed a bit of improvement. She let the students add comments and suggestions, too. From experience, I know that receiving only compliments will not help you to grow as an artist.
Sometimes, I think about the instruction from Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV
I know that Paul is talking about scripture. Understand that at the time he was writing to Timothy the New Testament did not exist. Let me break this down just a little bit.
- Teaching – instruction, training, guidance – basically, here’s how to do IT.
- Rebuke – criticism, reproof – basically, that is not what or how I told you to do IT.
- Correcting – make it right, model again – basically, here let me show you again and you do IT.
- Training – instruction, practice, discipline – basically, do IT again and again and again!
This scripture is not about art. But it is about life and how we learn and how we grow.
Benjamin Franklin said it well, too. “Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
I created this reminder just for you. It is formatted to 8″X10″. The download for this image can be found in my FREE GOOD STUFF LIBRARY. The LIBRARY is password protected. If you are already a subscriber, your password is at the bottom of any email I have sent to you. If you want this FREE print, please subscribe to get access to the LIBRARY. There are quite a few FREEBIES there.
I hope you have enjoyed coming along on our Hill Country Watercolor Workshop and Retreat journey.
’til next time,