Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Week with Hazel Soan - Final Day

Apologies for the delay in  adding the last day of Hazel's workshop... I have been sorting out my wonderfully exciting workshop next week in the UK with Jean Haines.  Jean, as many people know, has been a huge inspiration to me and my art. Not only is she a wonderfully talented philanthropic artist, but has a heart of gold...she is a warm-hearted, effervescent soul who loves what she does and is happiest when she can share her love of watercolour. I'm looking so forward to my trip with anticipation as well as excitement.

Getting back to Hazel's 4th day ....

We extended our learning to 'painting animals in watercolour' on the last day. Hazel stared a wonderful demo for us on painting Elephants. I unfortunately discovered as I sat down to watch that I'd forgotten to charge my camera battery and was unable to document her demonstrations. I was kindly loaned some pictures taken by a fellow artist Sylvia Coward of the final day's painting session.

Here we used various combinations of (transparent )pigment to create our ellies. The three basic colours which Hazel used were yellows, blues and reds. I always thought that Elephants were grey or, at least shades of grey. But Hazel with her three shades stressed that tone and not colour was the important factor in creating wonderful watercolour. Her use of these colours were excellent for achieving the correct tones. These lovely tones were created in layers or washes.

In my first sorry painting I used Yellow Ochre- but watered it down as it's a semi transparent colour, Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson. No preliminary sketch.


The next Ellie was more in proportion.... here we used Indian Yellow, Alizarin Crimson and Prussian Blue. In that order. Added blues to the shadow areas gave the elephant form and depth.

My final attempt with variation of tone was the use of Raw Umber, Prussian Blue and Carmine. Again using the three transparent colours, adding the red as a last wash. Mixing in a little darker values of the palette for the shadows.

Here is one of  Hazel's Elephants..... please note the depth in her ellies with the correct placement of darks.
 Photograph courtesy Silvia Coward

We than went on to painting a herd of  elephants. Hazel's subtle build up of colours to create tone on all the elephants was interesting as none of the ellies were painted with the exacting colours, but attention was placed on the tone, ranging from dark in the foreground to soft muted colours for the ellies in the distance, still only using yellows, reds and blues. Placing the various colours, one wash at a time slowly building up tone. She added the background foliage using the same colours on her palette to highlight the light on the backs of the elephants and to bring them forward.
Softening the base of the feet with water gave the illusion of dust been kicked up as the ellies walked by.(photo Silvia Coward)

Here was my group painting, pity I added red in the background foliage.. that just killed the depth of my painting.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Elephant painting exercise.... I can see myself painting lots more of these guys !

Lastly, our final demo for the day was the lioness portrait. Here Hazel used her paper of choice- Khadi Paper, which is cotton rag paper made in India. It has a wonderful rough finish and perfect for textures. The colours come out more vibrant too.

She sketched her lion's head on the paper to follow the features more accurately. In this demo she said we were no longer painting shapes but painting inside a block, picking out the features one by one. Starting with the ears, a wet in wet section was painted, dropping in burnt sienna to the light ochre wash and the darks were then added, using Winsor violet. She lifted out areas of highlights with a clean damp brush then added sepia for more definition. She moved onto the face, again starting with ochre and burnt sienna, building up to the darks. The lioness' chin was next, after the ochre and b sienna was added a darker shadow area was painted in, using W violet. By dampening the paper inside the white bearded area with water and dropping in Winsor violet underneath leaves a lovely soft edge.The outline of the eyes were painted using sepia, softened first with a stroke of water on the outside so the eye wasn't left with a hard outline. She dropped in ochre and B sienna into the eye and a drier mix of sepia for the pupil but leaving the white highlight.

Again, photograph courtesy of  Silvia

My lioness from a photo in my collection... not at all happy with the end result as I had overworked it. I realised I had painted it too light and went back in with stronger pigments.... Big mistake!!!! But, here it is anyway!!!!!!!!

My workshop with Hazel Soan was truly a memorable one. A warm friendly bubbly persona wrapped up in a tiny slender frame, Hazel is overflowing with artistic knowledge and enthusiasm.
This is not only an account of what I witnessed through detailed instruction as the inspiration I found and the sense of  urgency at which I wanted to pick up a brush and paint. Thank you Hazel!


Crystal Cook said...

I think your paintings are beautiful and fresh. I don't think your lioness looks overworked. I love her expression :)

Your ellies are quite nice too. you should be proud! You did great.

But boy I know how intimidating it is when you hold your work up to one you admire so much.

Kaye Parmenter said...

Hi Debbie, fantastic ellies and lioness - it sounds like you've had a fabulous time, loads learnt and lots of inspiration. And, now to Jean's course, I bet you can't wait!!!

Sandra said...

If I saw these and somebody told me they were Hazels, I would believe them. The elephants are my favorites. I love the colours, so effective! I can't wait to read all about your trip over here to the UK. My tip for you - Bring a brolly!

Debbie said...

Crystal... you are too kind! Thank you. I also find comfort in knowing that Hazel has been painting for many years. Something to aspire to I suppose!!!!

Kaye, I'm so lucky to be able to meet the artists who have inspired me and who's work has a special place in my heart. Thanks for stopping by.

Sandra, The colours Hazel used were such a surprise, she stressed that tone is the important factor and an elephant can be any colour.....thank goodness they are not 'pink' elephants!! ;) Thanks for the encouragement!

jane minter said...

your work looks super debbie the colour combinations you wish the two workshops were not so close together ...have a good flight
you must have loved this last day

Debbie said...

Thank you so much Jane!!!!!!!!!!!!
The workshops were kinda close to each other, Didn't really get time to practice Hazel's work much after the w/s. See you Wednesday!

Melissa Fischer said...

I have loved reading your account of Hazel's workshop and hope more than ever I can attend one of hers. I loved your elephants and your lioness.

I know you'll have a wonderful time with Jean! She's such an inspiring and fun teacher and you will come away full of ideas and enthusiasm.

martinealison said...

Hi Debbie,
Je suis éblouie par ton enthousiasme. Je ne fais pratiquement pas d'aquarelle et cependant en te lisant tu me donnes l'eau à la bouche! Peut-être l'aurai-je un jour au bout du pinceau ?!...
Je n'ai pas pu venir ces dernier temps sur ton blog et aujourd'hui j'ai passé un excellent moment en admirant l'ensemble des peintures que tu avais réalisé. Bravo! J'aime ces concerts de couleurs que tu as ingénieusement utilisés et fait danser.
Tu es déçue par ton fauve! Moi je l'aime beaucoup. J'aime tant les fauves (j'ai prénommé ma fille Fauve!).
Je ne sais pas si mon anglais sera assez riche pour traduire...
I'm dazzled about your enthusiasm. I haven't paint hardly ever an aquarelle but however reading you, you make me your mouth water ! Maybe will i have it a day to a tip of my brush ?!...
I couldn't came to see your blog these last times and today i spent an excellent moment admiring all of paintings you've created. Bravo!
I like these concerts of colors you've cleverly used and done to dance.
You're disappointed with your wildcat! Me, i love it very much. I love so much wildcats (my daughter is called Fauve!).
Best regards.

Cathy Gatland said...

Oh it's a Jean Haines workshop you're off to! How fantastic - have a great time Debbie.
Your elephants are just terrific, you got beautiful subtle shades and a lovely feeling of light and dust - hope you do lots more!

martinealison said...

Wonderful as always!
Debbie I have passed the Happy 101 Award to you. Please visit my blog when you can to check out the rules.

Debbie said...

Martine-Alison... you are just the sweetest lady. I love your enthusiasm when you reply to my blog and find it so inspiring. You are also wonderfully talented, and your paintings are a reflection of the attitude of someone who is really enjoying her process in the art world. Thank you for sharing the Happiness award with me.... It's so kind of you! Your work would look wonderful in watercolour... you should try it sometime!

Cathy... I will definitely paint more Ellies as I enjoyed them so much..... thanks for your positive reply!

Rick Nilson said...


Emmanuel said...

nice <3

Polly Birchall said...

Hi, have just started a blog and was looking through 'Watercolour' ones and found your lovely work with Hazel. It was so well written I thought I was back on one of her workshops. She is a joy, not just her talent but as a person. I have been lucky enough to go on painting holidays with her. I had a look, also, on your web site, I especially admire your people. Be keeping an eye on you!