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.
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,