Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Wild and Wicked With Watercolor . . .

I was back at Sitka this past weekend for my final Sitka workshop of 2011.

The title of the class I took was Watercolor With a Tweak: Unraveling Your Painter's Personality. It was my understanding that this was not a traditional watercolor class -- but boy, that's where things got haywire on my end! I've played with watercolors before in my journals -- nothing traditional, nothing formal, just blotches of color and splatters of paint. I went into the three-day workshop thinking there would be some guided exercises playing with watercolors. Well, there were some exercises all right, but also a lot of traditional type water coloring going on. I was out of my element quite quickly -- and to top it all off, there were several, I mean many, women in the class who were traditional watercolorists looking to expand their repertoire of techniques.

It was definitely a weekend for learning. I learned I am NOT a watercolorist and I don't like traditional watercolor (well, I already knew that) so I guess the weekend reinforced that. But I did learn a few things.

I learned that I love:

Oil paints
300 pound rag paper
Plein air painting

It was also reinforced that I love:

Judy Vogland as a teacher (probably one of the most generous art teachers I have ever had)
Lami Li Loka handmade papers
Ebony pencils
Oregon Art Beat

Okay, given all that reflection, here's how it all went down.

Judy's space, so vibrant and alive with possibility.

My space. So full of promise.

Our first warm-up exercise was a prompt-driven painting using oil paints. OIL PAINTS! I have never used them before and I fell in love. Deeply in love.

Collage exercise with Judy demonstrating, then what I got started on (I do have plans to finish this).

Tree exercise (my trees are not viewable due to horrible watercolor painting skills, or should I say lack of skills):

Plein air painting:

Post Script: I decided at the end of Saturday that this was not the class for me. I am NOT a watercolorist and the frustration level was just too high. So when the class was done for the day and everyone was out for dinner, I packed up my stuff and left a note for Judy and the class.


Suzanne Reynolds said...

It's always good to try something new, I think. Looks like this experience led to some new discoveries. Nothing lost! Love your landscape.

Carole K said...

Hi Dayna,

When I was in jr high, one of the most popular teachers was Virginia Robertson. She was a warm wonderful person and a talented watercolorist, as well as oil painter. I saw other student's artwork and wanted to paint so badly. That's exactly what I did! Paint so badly. I could NOT make the watercolor go where it was supposed to. Too much water, too little water. How to make a tree look like a TREE!? (mine were big, cumbersome, lunky things!)

I gave up, thinking I could never draw, nor be an artist. I was expecting too much to paint like Mrs Robertson. I felt clunky at it, and she was effortless. (she'd had had years of practice, of course).

But the 'art' in me wouldn't die! I started quilting, and cooking and other creative things. Then, about 12 years ago, I decided to try again and draw. I copied a rose in colored pencil from a Jackson/Perkins catalog. I did it!

That was a light-bulb moment for me. I've drawn more since then, and I really enjoy it; I know it's okay to erase, refine, and even start over. And when I came to your studio for the journaling, and watercolor class...I WAS able to make the paint go where I wanted it to. yay!

I so admire you and your art, and it had to be tough to be in class knowing it didn't fit your expectations. I'm so glad you found you love oil, though. That's so exciting! I can't wait to see how this impacts your art.


La Dolce Vita said...

I took watercolor pencils with me on my caribbean journey, even though like you, I have never felt that they were my medium, but I really had fun with it. maybe we just do it differently than they do??? lol!! too many rules... xx

Dave said...

What a great workshop! I'm envious!!!

rajns (carolyn) said...

I think I would have left early too - congrats for knowing yourself and taking steps to honor that!

Robin Olsen said...

This made me laugh--I am not a traditional watercolorist either so I was with you all the way on this one! I admire what they do, but their idea of play is not the same as mine.