This weekend I participated with a small group of painters gathered in the Vernon Arts Center in a workshop offered by Kelowna artist, Alex Fong. I have done a few watercolors over the past few years, but even on the ones that found their way to showing have left me envious of the lightness of hand and unguided paint mix on paper I have seen but no so much achieved. I thought I would enjoy something outside of the comfort zone.
The group was smaller than registered which actually turned into a really nice thing for those of us in attendance. I did find myself challenged in a number of ways, trying not to get stuck in the absurd self imposed pressure to produce in a room with some pretty prolific painters, I simply had to let that one go.
When I paint at home I start with creating space. I have music, I have a candle, I make a small offering and invitation to the process. This was a classroom setting. A freakishly quiet one the first day especially before a music source was located, and people worked – I am a slacker! But, while I figured out what I struggle with, I also took home a practice list in my head which is the thing I always glean from participating in workshops and watching demos.
I get mesmerized watching people paint, and in this watercolor and some acrylic processes, contrary to popular belief, one can enjoy watching paint dry! While I beat to death the watercolor application on fish shapes, Alex paused for a two minute goldfish on my sketch pad, I smiled at it this morning and tucked it neatly on my wildly disorganized cork board.
I am just about to unpack my basket of things from the workshop, I have a couple of hours before this morning rolls into appointments etc., so while i will start with a walk in the garden and survey the ever growing list of what really can’t wait for weeding, feeding, mulching etc., I will also take a few moments to move paint in a way that is different from my usual approach. I appreciate the strength of limit in watercolor, the underworking as an approach. It is very different from my usual way of under planning. It will not become in all likelihood my medium of strength but I think it will be a fun place to spend some time.
The paintings at the top of the page were carried home! The benefit of a small workshop allowed each person to receive a gift of a personal made for you painting, (i know, lovely right!), and the flower with the leaf turning so elegantly was mine from an end of the day draw!
Reading through some quotes on watercolor, I think this one is closest to my current understanding…You have to negotiate with this medium. It wants to have some say in the work. If you ignore it completely, it will scream ‘Liar’ at you. (Bill Vrscak) . But there is a sense of balance that appeals to me. I have written on the difference gender and life experience in the developing role of a painter. Sunday, as we all know was mother’s day. My day was a shared breakfast with those at home, a lovely day of being in the garden, dinner and the best berry shortcake made by my daughter near by, a good phone visit with my far and away girl, a lovely gift to share with my painting friends as we converse in the green spaces painting bits of summer. All aspects of my world flow together, family, garden, photography, paint, and the strengths vary, the pressure from soft to compelling, the light always present, the patchwork always its own kind of perfect. Thanks for stopping by.
2 thoughts on “weekend workshop”
As usual, a writing fit for publication, a wonderful morning read with my coffee. I read it a few times to savor each descriptive word! I laughed out loud when I read you beat to death, a water application on fish shapes. These watercolor gurus make it look so easy! Have a lovely day in the garden Judy or at the easel.
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Always a pleasure. I remember watercolour classes at U of W. It was a wee bit like taking your kid to school the first day….wondering….how badly is this going to wreck their spirit.My instructor was Mr. Dressup…..he taught us not to accidentally dip our brush into our coffee cup ….how to stretch paper and some other cool things. See you one day soon my friend.
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