“Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner” at Daniel Smith

Last Tuesday, June 26th, we had our first class in my 4-week workshop course at Daniel Smith titled “Watercolor for the Absolute Beginner”. This class was all about “Paints & Color” and we did four painting exercises designed to teach about colors and color properties, the transparency, semi-transparency and opaqueness of paints, mixing colors on your paper, color temperature, and building values into your paintings.

I was amazed at how fast the time flew by… we actually ended up running over by about 30 minutes. But everyone seemed to have fun, and we enjoyed all the back and forth, asking and answering questions. One of the students in the class took a few photos and I am posting them below. Thank you, Kay!

One of the exercises I like doing the most is the “mouse ears” exercise. It is a way to see how our palette of nine primary colors (three each of cool, warm and opaque paints), all mix together on the paper, rather than on your palette. If you are a beginning painter and want to see how your paints will react with each other on a wet surface, this exercise is for you. Every single time you do it, it will turn out differently depending on your water to pigment ratio, and which primary colors you are mixing together… a cool yellow mixed with a cool red, will yield a different result than a cool yellow mixed with a warm red; a transparent red will yield different results if mixed with a transparent blue than if mixed with an opaque blue. So practicing the various exercises we did in class will bring you that much closer to understanding your paints and their qualities. You can see what the “mouse ears” exercise looks like in one of the photos posted here.

Daniel Smith has asked me to teach the class again in the Fall and we are working on firming up the dates. I will be sending out an email and posting about this again in the near future. Contact me using the contact form if you want to be added to my mailing list or sign up directly using the link at the bottom of each page.

I will also be posting photos of future classes, and sharing some of the exercises we will be working on. If you want alerts on when I post new entries, click the “Notify me of new posts by email” checkbox at the bottom of each comments section.

Thanks to all who have signed up for my class and are joining me at Daniel Smith in Bellevue. You are a fantastic group!

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