My Watercolour Course, Weeks 1 to 5
Click here for Weeks 6-10 onwards of my watercolour course. Weeks 11 to 15 here
I had never had any instruction in watercolour and so I took a course with Barry Coombs. His studio is near my home and my daughter had taken drawing with him and she enjoyed his way of teaching. The link connects to his website, in particular to the page where he has posted the combined paintings of his students. I am in the Tuesday Morning Group.
Since I had some skill in drawing and composition I felt I could join a class. Watercolor is a tricky and idiosyncratic medium. Its immediacy and freshness can't be beat but I've found it difficult to learn. I had had a couple of days when at school in the context of a media course and I had tried to learn using books but it's a a hard task learning on my own.
Week 1, I'm not quitting my day job and taking up watercolour as a career!
Top were done in class. Bottom ones done at home during the following week.
Week 2, Better paper and better success
Two paintings above were done in class. Bottom ones done at home during the following week. Barry takes obvious care setting up the objects. He also insists we sit in different places every week. This weeks' exercise was about shape reading. Minimal under-drawing and using the paintbrush to define the shape and render it.
Some colours flow nicely in each other, others just sort of separate. This is a great mystery that will certainly eventually reveal itself.
Week 3, Little Glass Bottles are the Challenge
2 Paintings of bottles were done in class.
Third painting is my homework. I did not have the lovely little jewel like bottles to draw. I improvised with some staging accessories.
It seems that the class paintings are nicer than the home paintings. This helps illustrate the influence of my teacher gently commenting as we paint. The home paintings are useful in cementing the knowledge.
Week 4, Pumpkins are on the Menu
When I went home after painting the top 2 pieces I was disappointed but looking back at them today I don't hate them anymore. The bottom were my home exercises.
One of the exercises with the squash and pumpkins was to make a grey under-painting and to over-glaze with a colour wash.
Week 5, Ceramic Pots
The browner painting was done in class. The main focus was a soft edge technique of shading. I had just received bad news about my Mom and I was not worried about the painting. It's funny how just letting go sometimes really works.
Other 2 paintings were various experiments I made at home trying different colours and shading. I had much fun with this subject.
One of my favourite paintings. I'm not sure why. The colours are nice but I like its personality.
Through a series of exercises in still life painting we have been gradually improving skills.
My teacher Barry Coombs, spends the first half or so hour giving a demo and explaining the goal of the painting exercise. Each class has a different goal. Last week was the tonal interaction of the objects to each other.
Other weeks introduced wet on wet painting, grey under-painting or the effect of distance.
One week he talked about the way background influences the watercolour.
The classes are interesting and at the end of 3 hours we have a critique. Maybe the most useful part of a class. Barry is gentle but helpful in his critiques.
Barry suggested different paper after the first week. This is Arches 140 pound cold press. Rather better paper than I deserve, sigh...
Up till now I had painted in watercolour by carefully drawing my composition in great detail and colouring it in. No wet on wet, no technique. Simply carefully colouring as a child fills in a colouring book. I have had some success by sheer persistence and attention to detail. I was working from photographs which is simpler in a way because the design is done. The result is stiff I think. Real life sketching is much more difficult than working from a photo, but the result is much better and lively when successful.
Here is a link
to some of my paintings There are a few watercolours.
Nice paper, this time hot press and much smoother.