On Friday I gave my first live workshop since lockdown and it felt wonderful to be with a group of real human beings…:)
I mentioned in a previous post that during lockdown something quite magical was unfolding where I am based in Hampton. A wonderful centre called THE INSPIRED HUB – http://www.theinspiredhub.co.uk was being transformed and so it was there that I held the workshop.
After our small, socially distanced group met in the relaxing garden….we moved into one of the rooms within THE HUB.
I always begin with warm up exercises and give demos throughout.
In this simple warm up I ask participants to explore what their brushes can do. Using a mix of BURNT SIENNA and PRUSSIAN BLUE – I encourage everyone to PLAY. Several people did some beautiful warm up pieces on brown wrapping paper and newspaper.
With the Prussian Blue/Burnt Sienna mix many different tones can be achieved. The only way to discover these joys is to PLAY and PRACTISE. I never use black in watercolour, but rather make my darks using this mix,
These were the tools I used for demos. One large brush, one rigger, a Tomboy water soluble pen, knife, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue, and some marigold yellow.
As I have said many times on this blog, by PLAYING and WARMING UP on newspaper, envelopes, inexpensive wall paper lining, fear and anxiousness is removed and consequently people tend to do their best work. Most importantly it gets the juices flowing and brings us both physically and emotionally into the room.
Using a mix of Burnt Sienna and Prussian Blue I make marks with my large brush and small rigger brush. I use a clean wet brush to pull out colour……Note I have scraped out colour using the knife.
In this rapid warm up the darks are the mix of Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna. The Yellow is Marigold Yellow….and again you can see where I have pulled out colour with a clean wet brush…and scraped with a knife.
My second demo – was to do a simple exercise that uses basic watercolour techniques.
In this instance I am working on white paper.
I begin by adding water to the sky area….and then introduce colour into the wet. I then allow the colour to run (bleed – do its own thing). The beauty of watercolour is the spontaneity it brings to an image. If the paint begins to puddle simply hold up the paper, move it around and allow the paint to run.
I then add some colour along the bottom of the sky line to indicate trees in the distance. Where it is wet, the paint will bleed.
At this point the bottom of the picture is still DRY WHITE PAPER.
To finish I add some juicy paint to the dry area at bottom of the picture (this is called DRY BRUSH, because I am now working on a dry surface) It’s important to leave some DRY WHITE AREAS. This brings a sparkle to the painting. I then take my knife and scrape out colour while the paint is still wet…..
Remember to look at your warm ups in many different ways….also cut them up..use them for collage…the important thing is to PLAY.
My third demo was taken from a photograph I took in Portugal. I prefer to work from life, however we are not always in a position to do that…and so working from photographs, preferably ones we have taken ourselves and using them as a JUMPING OFF POINT is fine. I prefer that people don’t copy photographs verbatim. Be creative.
In this instance, using watercolour and gouache, I worked from an ORANGE GROUND (note that any orange you see in the picture is dry paper). Because I am working from an orange ground any opaque whites you see are PERMANENT WHITE GOUACHE
My fourth demonstration was of lilies, emphasising the NEGATIVE SPACE – the space that surrounds the subject.
As artists we need to train our observational skills so that we automatically see the NEGATIVE SPACE in everything rather than focusing purely on our subject. Remember everything in life is interconnected.
in this instance there is no detail, just the simple shapes of the lilies surrounded by rich colour. The colour in the NEGATIVE SPACE – REVEALS the flower heads.
This was one of my watercolour/gouache paintings we used as the JUMPING OFF POINT for this exercise. Note how the colour in the negative space, surrounding the lilies REVEALS the subject.
The workshop lasted for three hours which seemed like a lot when we began…however as always the time flew by……..
I definitely plan to do more workshops at The HUB and hope to do some portrait demonstrations. Watch this space.
Please scroll through my posts to see other demonstrations….
For now stay safe, keep painting and always remember to WARM UP