Saturday, January 30, 2010

Watercolor Travel Journal Class

I took a class today at the Cole Gallery here in Edmonds that was taught by Faye Castle. I loved the class and was very happy to be able to learn from Faye, as her style of mixing watercolor and pen and ink is very similar to my style when working in my travel journals. There is something wonderful about adding the ink work at the end of the painting experience. Faye was telling us that she can hardly wait to get to the place where she can add the inked lines, that her hands shake in anticipation, and I knew immediately that we are much the same as that's exactly how I feel, too! We worked mostly from our own travel photographs and I spent the majority of my drawing and painting time working from a photo I took when I was in Otavalo, Ecuador. I was happy with Faye's gentle suggestions and was not totally displeased with the outcome. I didn't spend much time on the little painting, but I did try to put into action many of the things Faye taught. She's a great teacher.

She had us do some exercises in value and also to make a color wheel with the paint that each of us had in our own, particular watercolor sets. It's always a good idea to work with the paint you have so you know exactly what to mix with what to get the color you need, to see what is staining and what you can lift off with clean water and which paint is 'granular' and settles into the little pockets in the watercolor paper. (I like the texture of cold press paper much more than hot press, as hot press paper just seems flat and dull to me. I like how some paints will settle into the depressions in cold press paper and how that will add to the dimension of the finished painting or sketch.) Faye had us begin by doing blind contour drawings of our hand---and I will spare you my attempts to capture my hand without looking at what I was drawing, only at the spot on my hand that I was drawing. Try drawing something yourself using the blind contour method. It's amazing how bad, or how enlightening, such a drawing can be!

I bought a wonderful little Winsor Newton travel watercolor box. It has it all! Twelve half pans of paint, a tiny little travel brush, a water bottle and the lid of the box turns into a water container (although it sure doesn't hold much!). It's compact and it has everything you really need to get a fast sketch down on paper while standing and gawking on your travels. I plan to take my new little set with me when I head off to North Africa (Tunisia and Morocco) in late April. I expect that it will be perfect, especially as I also treated myself to a Kolinsky sable travel brush that is to die for! Oh, how I love brushes and how this one is just too too....too yummy. It holds a ton of water and/or paint and it comes to a very fine, sharp point. When the brush is taken apart, it fits into the cap and is no bigger than a ballpoint pen. It is just scrumptious!

Yes. I am. I am addicted to art supplies. And I don't care!

Faye shared a number of books that she finds extremely useful with us and I got many ideas. I will search out some of the titles and see if I can't find them used on eBay or Alibris. I told Faye about one of my favorite journal artists, Hannah Hinchman, whom she had not discovered. I am always delighted to bring someone else to "meet" Hannah, and it turned out that both Hannah Hinchman and Faye have a connection to Montana. If you aren't familiar with Hannah's books, check them out on Amazon. It was from reading A Life in Hand: Creating and Illuminated Journal that I finally had the courage to try adding watercolor sketches to my journals, much to their improvement to my mind, at least. My art may not be great, but it does give an inkling of how a place 'felt' to me, how I saw it. I owe Hannah a big thank you for helping me make my journals, and journaling experience, that much richer and personal.

3 comments:

diane said...

It is lovely to read your enthusiasm for art and journaling.It all sounds like fun and in another life I would like to try it. I would love to see your journals. Off to Morocco soon. The colours are so vibrant there. You will have much to paint in your journal.

Gwen said...

I love your watercolor journal! I am sure this class and your wonderful watercolor kit will stand you in good stead on your next trips!

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Best wishes