Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Teaching a watercolor workshop at the 
Southern Illinois Art Workshop in May

Upon request from students, I demonstrated how to paint a rose.

This three-day workshop focused on understanding color and color mixing. Boy, did I have a great and savvy group of dedicated painters, coming to SIAW from the borders of Indiana to the borders of Missouri!  During the workshop, several students admitted to being confused by what different workshop instructors suggest about color and different colors of paint to buy. I completely understand their concerns and confusion!  

Understanding color is not about following someone's pet palette of colors, or trying out some of the new, appealing colors, fun that it is to try out new colors.  It is about the basics: understanding triads, cools and warms and specific qualities (properties) of each color.

For example, to experiment and show the class about specific qualities of each color, I chose Opera pink for the pink blush for this quick rose demonstration. Opera pink sunk right into the paper, being a quinocridone pigment.  I pointed out there was no margin for error and little chance to move the color around.  So I opted for our traditional and hard-working alizarine crimson. It is a delicate pigment and will float around on the paper before settling in, giving you time to add a touch of another color for a subtle admixture.  It can also be lifted if applied too heavily.  Everyone was encouraged to do color tests, or color meditations as I call them before embarking on their paintings.  I will show some of their wonderful results in my next blog.