In May I was invited to hold a full-day workshop for the Lakeland Art League in Minocqua, Wisconsin. Spring had come late this year up north just like in the Chicagoland area. Normally the lilacs are just starting to come into bloom and the trees are budding out in the most beautiful tender green. This year the lilacs were a week behind and the hardwoods on our property at our log cabin were still bare. I could tell the members were excited to get out, shake off their cabin fever, and learn something new.
My thoughts while preparing for this workshop was to have the students get right into the painting. That meant not drawing on the watercolor paper, but instead, do the drawing with the paint brush. I also was introduced to QoR Watercolors earlier this year at the Watercolor Society of Indiana. I wanted to share with my student this beautiful, full pigment paint which is a relatively new brand. I didn't have QoR included on my supply list when I was booked for this workshop but I do know. I have a full review in an earlier blog post. CLICK HERE TO READ.
I first spent a little time lecturing on patterns of values and colors – looking for the abstract shapes first before picking up the brush. From there I asked them to gather around while I started a step-by-step painting demonstration in values and colors. Step #1 began with large bold washes working wet-into-wet allowing the watercolor simply to flow across the paper. This is the unique beauty of watercolor letting the colors mix on the paper. This is something that cannot be achieved in oils or pastels. I then let my students go back to there easels and recreate what I had first done.
Step #2 I approached the painting by cutting out shapes of the foliage and smaller areas so that it would start defining the subject matter.
Step #3, the final phase, I put in the tree trunks where they actually belonged according to the patterns that were previously painted. The students follow along really quite well. I thought they adapted to this process nicely.
The afternoon demonstration was of Pioneer Creek. This lovely little piece of Heaven is nearby our log cabin. It's one of my favorite places to just study the colors and textures – enjoy the beauty of the Great Northwoods. For this painting, I had them do a drawing as a guide. Usually, the painting can be broken down in three steps, but for this demonstration, I broke it down into five steps because it’s easier for the students to follow along.
What never ceases to amaze me is how each student working with the same photo reference ends up with a little different painting. I always judge their painting in its own frame of reference never by the reference alone.
Everyone had a good time learned a lot and came out with two paintings. I raffled off one of the demos and the other was donated to Lakeland Art League for a charitable cause.
Thank you LAL. hopefully, I will see you this fall.
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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,