My 3-full day workshop at MainStreet Art Center, Lake Zurich, IL, Abstract Paintings of Nature in Watercolor was finally a go! I had a wonderful time getting back in the teaching "saddle". Because of COVID19, this workshop had been rescheduled several times. But Frankie Johnson, owner of MainStreet and I were bound and determined to have it happen. As you can figure all of my events had been canceled. Marilee and I were incredibly organized this year with scheduling teaching, workshops, shows, and demos This was the weirdest thing to see it vaporize before our very eyes.
Besides demonstrating the beauty of watercolor I shared my thoughts about materials and the importance of buying the best products you can afford. One of my students was using a mix of Winsor and Newton Cotman and Grumbacher watercolor paints. Needless to say, she was struggling so I let her try my QoR watercolors and she said "WOW! What a huge difference." I can't stress enough the importance of using professional-grade watercolors. In addition, the same goes for watercolor paper. Only buy 100% cotton. You are asking for trouble if you buy a cheaper grade that contains wood fibers. The paper will pill when you scrub it. My third must-have is real hair brushes If you can afford them. Otherwise a blend of synthetic/real hair. If you take care of them you will keep them for a long time. My series The real hair loads a lot of paint and doesn't wear out like synthetic. My 1" 202 Morrilla is over 40 years old. Unfortunately, it's not made anymore but you may find a used one on eBay. If you would like to see my supply recommendations and list CLICK HERE.
Masks on, socially distanced in place, sleeves pushed up to work, learn, and have fun!
DAY 1: The morning painting was a snow scene of the beginning of the Wisconsin River (Land O' Lakes, WI) which has been one of my favorite sites to paint, whether it's spring, summer, fall, or winter. The levels of water change as does the foliage, colors, textures, and the influence of light. I call this river home. In this exercise, I wanted to teach how to handle snow and paint anything white. evaluate temperature and not copy the photo.
My afternoon demo was a fall scene full of autumnal colors where my students learned the spontaneity of no drawing and following the light and dark patterns. Two paintings completed and so proud of everyone’s first day of work.
DAY TWO: The learning and fun continue! Two more were paintings completed.
The morning demo was T.C .Steele's house in southern Indiana. During this demo, I wanted to share the ease of drawing a structure and how to incorporate it into a landscape in a simple way. I also shared how to make a very dark subject interesting.
The afternoon demo was another scene from the Great Northwoods of Wisconsin. The tranquil water scene was a perfect example to show how to achieve an atmospheric perspective. Pushing the background back and look believable. I also get quite a few requests for the secrets of painting water. I shared my approach to water with just a few brushstrokes. So proud of everyone’s second day of work.
DAY THREE: the last day of my 3-full day watercolor workshop. In the morning study, I wanted everyone to learn how to work with high-contrast and minimal drawing. I also wanted to share my techniques of dry-brushing in watercolor.
The afternoon was the student's choice. I shared two different subjects and the vivid green forest won. Once again this demo was without a pencil sketch on their watercolor paper, freehanding light and dark patterns. Working with a close color palette of greens and blue-greens and how to use one complementary color to gray down your shadows. And finally, be fearless about pushing the darks especially at the beginning.
I want to thank everyone for signing up and attending including the owner, Frankie Johnson, and Kathy Clouse who is MainStreet's Girl Friday and more. The three days went by too fast. I was so impressed with everyone and I’ll let you in on a little secret — half the students never painted in watercolor before which made it that much more thrilling for me because my goal is to help people truly see. Also thank you Frankie and Jay for your hospitality.
Well, I had my second Watercolor Escape Saturday last weekend on March 28th. If you are new to this my wife, Marilee and I are committed to broadcasting a Facebook Live every Saturday at noon EST till our lives kinda get back to some type of normal. We want to offer an escape even for an hour or two.
In this week's blog post I have included the video now on YouTube (edited as a paint-along) and my demo notes. Here's what you will find:
Gallery of Work
Highlighted in Video
Below are several demos I did playing with composition and value studies before the final painting titled Walking in My Father's Footsteps. I also share additional paintings in the video. Click on the painting to see a larger version.
Every year I paint a special birthday card for Marilee. I remember once a long time ago we went to the Terra Museum to John Singer Sargent watercolor show. Sargent would paint special gifts for his sister with tender words and well wishes. They were touching and moved both of us.
This painting is of one of our favorite walks in spring up not far from our cabin. The silver light and tender greens you only see during this time of year.
This study was painted on handmade paper containing seeds, leaves, and stems. The paper had very little sizing so planning my brushstrokes were essential. Could not rework once the paint was laid down.
Final studio painting
I promised myself I would experiment with new color combinations during this down time. Here is an example a new color combination palette. And don't think you can't find painting reference material. This was taken by Marilee while we were driving north through Wisconsin to our cabin. The sun was setting, the sky was on fire and the earth was rich with color. Here's my 6-color full palette:
I have enjoyed Winslow Homer watercolors long before I ever picked up a paint brush. My father admired his work and would share his paintings with me. He would break composition rules and make them work.
I suggested a Homer book that looks like it's out of print but you may find on Ebay. There are other Homer books at Amazon (CLICK HERE) like this one. If you rather go to your library and check-out a book. Also here's a website to view. CLICK HERE.
Incase you didn't here we got a new puppy this year. Her name is Miss Poppy, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi and she is such a joy. It's a blessing to have her and an additional heartbeat in our house.
Well that's it for now. I hope we will see you next Saturday at noon EST on my Facebook page for another Watercolor Escape Saturdays.
Remember Leave a comment below, tell me what you think and what you would like to see in the future.
Wash your hands and your brushes,
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My wife, Marilee and I are trying something new. Some of you know the Popovich household is 100% artsy-fartsy. I am a fine artist while Marilee is a graphic designer and marketing geek. She has been working behind the scenes creating videos and developing my marketing brand and strategy.
We are combining our talents to bring a more in-depth and more vibrant body of information. Like before I will bring everything watercolor - all of my 40+ years of observing, painting, and art teaching experience. While Marilee will be asking me questions on our videos and presenting additional information from an artist’s marketers point of reference when it applies. She has to help me promote my watercolor paintings and watercolor classes/workshops so I can spend more time painting. In fact, in the last year, art leagues have had her share her knowledge about getting an online presence.
WATERCOLOR SOCIETY OF INDIANA
Sunday, March 17th Marilee and I drove 2.5 hours to Indianapolis for the Watercolor Society of Indiana meeting. It’s quite a large group of passionate artists from all over the state and beyond with a round 200+ members.
GUEST PRESENTER FROM GOLDEN ARTIST COLORS
Their guest speaker was Valerie Allen http://valerieallenart.com from Golden Paints. Valerie is a working artist who lives in Michigan and gets to play with and present all of the Golden products. She walked the group through their products but of course I wanted to hear more about their relatively new to the playing field watercolors called QoR (pronounced core.)
Prior to Valerie’s talk the group had a raffle with plenty of swag. Lucky Marilee! Or should I say lucky Dale? She won a a six-tube set of Qor Modern Watercolor paints.
As you know I’ve been professionally painting for 40 years trying every watercolor brands out their. If you have taken classes from me you know my opinion about each brand. I’ve been very pleased with my recommended paint brands — they are like old, comfortable friends. And it would take a lot to to get me to stand up and say WOW!
BACK IN MY STUDIO – VIDEO REVIEW
I was quite excited to try out our six new tubes of paints. I was quite excited to try out our six new tubes of colors. I wanted to see how they perform, so I recreated a demo I did for one of my weekly classes. PLEASE NOTE: The demo used Talon watercolors, was a full palette and a finished painting (1-1/2 hours) where the QoR is a study that took 20 minutes. But I still feel I could give an accurate review.
I prefer real hair watercolor brushes if you can afford them.
October 5, 2018: the Presqile River near Marenisco, MI on old route 2. Marilee and I spent our 33rd wedding anniversary doing what we love most – hiking the Northwoods during autumn. Here's a place we spent a lot of time capturing it from every angle. The golds of the leaves and the black water was a bewitching place that left us speechless.
THE QoR VIDEO DEMONSTRATION
As I stated earlier, I planned on doing an interruption using the Golden paints’ QoR watercolors. I compared their watercolors to Talens watercolors which are paints I’ve used for over 40+ years. The video is around 20 minutes start to finish.
I started this painting like all watercolors paintings using three basic steps.
Step #1: The Block-In
This is a question I get all the time:
Q. Why don't I use my dried paints?
A. I covered this subject in the video. I also share how I extend the life of my paints for a day or two.
STEP # 2: Establishing Secondary Masses
Now I wanted to see how the QoR watercolors handled a dry brush technique. I saw no difference in the paint from others when dry brushing. Also ever so slightly spraying the paint. I'm checking the flow. So far I was able to keep the vibrant color. You have probably noticed I keep the painting reasonably abstract. It will all pul together at the end.
I used a lot of water and QoR watercolors maintained its vibrancy. These paints are reacting very well. I was impressed so far – remember I have never used QoR paints before.
STEP # 3: Final Details
I see positive results from QoR.
AT THE END OF THE VIDEO
I shared this same painting I created in one of my weekly classes as a demonstration. Now I have to admit there were some differences. The larger piece was painted with Talens watercolors, the painting was a full palette of colors and took me 1-1/2 hours. This was an actual demonstration while the QoR painting was just a 20-minute study. But I felt I got a good read on the QoR paints in 20 minutes.
I compared Burnt Sienna by QoR and Talens. The colors were slightly different but I expected that. Both brands were in the acceptable Burnt Sienna family. The Talens was more granular. and because of that I preferred the QoR
On the flip side I sampled Ultramarine Blue by QoR and Talens. The colors were also slightly different – QoR is a touch warmer and Talens was a little cooler – a slight variation, both paints are good. No gramulaton.
Well, the QoR watercolors are looking very good.
BRANDS - Left: QoR Right: Talens Royal. COLORS: burnt sienna and ultramarine blue
I tried Golden Artist Colors line of watercolors called QoR. I found that the intensity, luminosity, and flow of the watercolor on Indigo watercolor paper was quite impressive.
UPDATE: Got my shipment from Dick Blicks today!
I'll let you know in a future vlog what I think as I start painting with QoR watercolors in a full palette.
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Dale L Popovich IWS
is an award-winning watercolorist and teacher who is passionate about capturing the raw beauty of the American landscape with the fluid stroke of a brush. As you will see the works selected in his portfolio represent the breath of his holistic approach to painting. You can also learn along with this talented and experienced teacher through his workshops, Palette & Chisel, Mainstreet Art Center i Lake Zurich, IL, Elmhurst Art Museum, Towering Winds Academy of Fine Arts an online art school, and Popovich Studio classes.