My course, “Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner,” at the Daniel Smith store in Bellevue, WA, ended up being a great class with 12 terrific students who were fun, eager to learn, and really seemed to enjoy the material presented. I love teaching and was so pleased with the group’s participation. We spent over 12 hours together so it was a good thing both teacher and students had a great time!
I also learned some things that will help me make the course better for the Fall session at the store. There will be two free demos again on 10/13, and then another 4-week course begins with classes on 10/29, 11/5, 11/19, and the last class will be on 11/26. This course will still be a class for beginners, but if anyone wants a refresher in how to paint with watercolors, they are certainly welcome.
I’m hoping to give the course at Daniel Smith on an ongoing basis, so plan to make it better and better as more students participate and provide feedback.
One of the things I tried to convey in the class is that you don’t have to be a good drawer to be a great watercolor artist. There are plenty of artists out there who really don’t draw at all… they either take photos and trace them, or they project them with an overhead projector. All the various ways of getting your drawing on your paper are acceptable… it’s just a matter of figuring out what works best for you.
One of the techniques I taught in the class involves gridding your photograph, figuring out the key points and junctures in the image, and then transferring those onto your gridded watercolor paper. Below I show the photo we used in class to draw from and the drawing I did to demonstrate the technique. Using this method, it’s much easier to get a good drawing of your subject, especially if you are painting a portrait. The drawing shown was done quickly so doesn’t match the boy’s face exactly, but it will give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I also chose a portrait to draw to help the students see that even this daunting subject doesn’t have to be difficult.
I learned this technique from one of my favorite painters, Ted Nuttall. He grids all of his paintings and carefully transfers his images over using a very distinct and unusual drawing style. Ted feels that the base drawing – and I tend to agree – is a very important part of the “character” of a painting, and said he often spends 12 hours just on the drawing, making sure everything is exactly the way he wants it. And it shows in his work. You can check out Ted’s beautiful, distinctive paintings on his website, http://www.tednuttall.com.
Below are more of the photos taken in class by one of my students. I hope you enjoy seeing them. Maybe you’ll be in the next course starting in October… I certainly hope so!