Friday, April 23, 2010

'Simplify' Watercolours with Life Workshop

Colours, fusions and textures next. The day started off a little warmer than the previous morning, so I was feeling as though the UK spring had really paid me a special visit, just for a bit of sensory overload, and to get the watercolour juices flowing. On my short stroll to the hall where the workshop was being held, I caught the sight of a batch of Daffodils growing on the side of the road with the most wonderful backlit colour. This made my day and was rearing to go on day 2.

The word that stood out for me the whole day was 'SIMPLIFY'. From the word go Jean thrashed the word out and we started the day with a wonderful demonstration of some lovely Stocks she brought in. Colour is very evident in Jean's work and she showed us how to make a simple white flower sing by using complementary colours to bring out the whites. The colours she used were Turquoise and Winsor Violet, creating a basic outline with the Turqu and bleeding it away quickly as Turqu dries fast and is staining.
So after a morning warm up of splashing a bit of colour on paper we set about watching our first Demo 

Jean painting the first wash of the Stocks

Jean added Violet  into the wet Turqu for interest. By using some of the colours for your background that you will use in your main subject gives it life and helps tie it all up. Thinking about colour and softening the hard lines with a clean wet brush create highlights and blending into the subject giving it tone and form. For a detailed subject as these Stocks, only a simple background is needed.

 A completed painting of Stocks Jean 
painted some time back

The paintings are built up using 3 layers....
  • 1st - a whisper of the main subject.
  • 2nd - another layer as the first, adding other colours.
  • 3rd - detail

We then went on to painting Delphiniums, this time painting the subject and then creating a subtle background around it. This was so much fun....... Using French Ultra Marine Blue and W Violet and giving the shapes a good base for the first wash. Because of it's intracity, a simple background was painted. Again, painting blobs of paint not the actual shape.

Jean's first wash of 'Blobs'... Delphiniums,

Trying my hand at Stocks.....

  My Dephiniums and Stocks

A demo of a market scene for some of the class by Jean took place while others went back to their tables to paint flowers.  Her demo of how to start and work away from a point of interest keeping clean fresh colour was the main objective of this study as some of us wanted to gain insight as to where Jean starts her 'busy paintings.    

 Jean's demo of a French Market

A brief quick sketch on how to achieve different effects on other varieties of flowers  was done for us after a wonderful pub lunch at the Inn down the road...... I must say that a glass of red wine does help the brushes to flow more freely. In this exercise, were trying to establish the different choices we make with regard to colour, placement of pigment and brush strokes, while studying individual flowers and adding life to them.

Flowers of all types are demonstrated by Jean here...

The Dafs she showed us next were a wonderful wind-down for the day. A mix of varied brush strokes and the use of cool and warm colours and use of light, all in negative painting . Jean does an awful lot of splattering which gives the painting movement. This is very evident in her cockerel paintings we have seen. I was amazed when she splatted a blob of 'orange' in the side of her Daf... but it worked so well, just adding to the excitement of her work. And on that note, before we could even blink the painting session was done.... sad because two wonderfully inspiring days were over but happy in the fact that I was afforded this wonderful trip to come and witness, again, the inspirational wonders or 'magic' Jean weaves with her hand, and meet some of my lovely friends from last year's workshop.

Jean's Daffodils... with a bit of bubble wrap
for excitement.
But the day wasn't done yet... Some of us were treated to a visit and a glass of bubbly at a nearby gallery who was exhibiting Jean's work. This was a special outing as we got to see her work all framed and on display in abundance. I must say, it makes it all worthwhile, the effort we go through, just to achieve lovely sell-able paintings. One feels the reward by seeing them all hanging up together, what a pleasurable sight...... and that is something worth aspiring to! Thank you Jean!!!!!