I have been loving exploring colored pencils and learning more about how, when used correctly, they can give an illustration that watercolor look. I love this because I’VE ALWAYS HATED working with watercolor. It’s the most unforgiving medium I know of.
After looking at a lot of botanicals though, I see that watercolor is the medium of choice. Hmm…
Last weekend I decided to face two of my fears head on – driving in the snow alone all of the way over the hill to Bend, Oregon (fear #1) to attend a two-day botanical painting workshop in watercolor (fear #2).
The snow was a cake walk, and the workshop was a blast! Jeanne Debons is a botanical artist and instructor who lives in Bend. One of the classes she leads is a two-day workshop in the fundamentals of botanical painting in watercolor.
I attended the class with three others – all at varying skill levels, but all well above me. No problemo – I was there to learn 🙂
Jeanne started me on a reintroduction to painting shapes – spheres, cones and rods…enough to learn how to shade, and ‘move paint around’.
First thing I learned:
I learned that not only is it OK for watercolors to touch one another (I always thought that was a no-no), but that layering the color is what gives depth and luminosity to a painting. (maybe this is just so for botanicals – not sure).
Once I practiced a bit I moved on to my piece! A pepper. I had to sketch it, and then use that sketch as a base for a more detailed picture showing the shading. Then that piece was what I referred to as I painted. My pepper started out pretty lame though.
Second thing I learned:
Paintings go through a phase Jeanne calls adolescence. In this phase paintings look awkward, and you often want to pitch it, but they’ll grow out of this phase as you continue working with them.. An earlier me would have thought this concept hokey, but I saw it firsthand and its true! The eggplant in the first pic up top is still in its adolescent phase.
I worked on my little pepper for the rest of day 1 and a LOT of day 2. Sure enough – it started to come together. It’s not a perfect pepper, but I learned a lot in painting it.
Here’s my pepper after about 2 hours.
and here’s the same pepper after about 4 or hours:
The third thing I learned was:
I came home and continued practicing. This little tangerine has taken me three days!