In this post I'm going to focus generally on my experience of my trip to the UK as well as a brief account of Jean's Spring workshop.
Firstly I booked three workshops with Jean, the first two being 'Watercolours with Life' and the third being 'Spring Flowers'. In these workshops Jean focused on negative painting, initial washes to a painting, the importance of colours and how backgrounds can make a painting sing.
Jean did a demo of a simple Snowdrop. I must add at this point....if you have never seen a Snowdrop in real life, it makes it a little more complex to catch the true feel of a subject. But I plodded along with the rest of the group after a warm up of painting an 'egg'! Jean explained that most subjects are painted with the same technique, just a different shape. At this point I was wondering how a Buffalo was going to be painted in the same way as a Snowdrop!!!!! But after a practice session of snowdrops I attempted a Buffalo and ... yes, low and behold, it was the same technique. Just with different blobs of colour!
My attempt at Snowdrops
This next photo is of Jean demonstrating Snowdrops......
Jean in Action
Daffodils were next in the line of practising flowers and negative background painting.....
Jean weaving her magic across the paper!
My feeble attempt at Dafs!
We then went on to watch Jean quietly demo her famous 'Beardie' paintings. She has two adorable Bearded Collies who own her and she lovingly puts them in her paintings with such adoration.....and it shows! This was to demonstrate to us how you can incorporate the background in a negative wash once the subject was established.
Here is Jean painting her group of Beardie's....
Jean explained how we have to find a 'starting point' of a subject. In this one, it was the Beardie's nose, but it could also be an eye, whichever is the focal point (as you notice... Beardies have no eyes) I'm having a quite giggle to myself at this statement which has just dawned on me as to why Jean chose the nose.
My Buffalo followed shortly after Jean's demo of Beardies with the negative painting as demonstrated to us. Not all that happy with the outcome, I lost it a bit in the face, but a wonderful exercise of using the same technique as for the snowdrops, dafs, Beardies and egg.
This was the end to a wonderful day as we cleaned up our tables ready for the next day, exhausted but exhilarated.
A few things I learned was that Jean has a few interesting ideas in her way of working.....1: White Paper- is deliberately left in her paintings, this helps lift the painting. 2: Jean never holds a pencil in her hand.... all her paintings are done without a preliminary sketch, instead she works mainly with a big brush and a rigger. 3: For simplicity Jean also paints half a face which creates interest for the viewer and gives the viewer the pleasure of completing the painting in there own way! Quite interesting, as depending on one's mood or surroundings it could take on different results every time one looks at the piece......
Bye, till next time......