It’s been a busy few weeks! We moved our daughter back to college and the day after I drove to South Florida for the Florida Watercolor Society Convention. This three day event is one of the highlights of my whole year. If you would like to know more about the convention you can read last year’s post here. Aside from the wonderful demo’s, done by some of the most talented artists working in watercolor today, and the Trade Show where great deals on supplies are always to be had, which can be a bit dangerous, the highlight is always seeing friends and meeting new ones!
This year I also took a workshop with one of the two instructors that are invited to do a four day workshop prior to the convention. One of the instructors is the judge for the annual exhibition, this years judge was Frank Webb. He is a Dolphin Fellow of AWS, American Watercolor Society, and turned 90 last week! The other instructor was Myrna Wacknov. I have followed Myrna’s blog for a number of years and admire and appreciate her style and techniques, many of which are considered “out of the box” for traditional watercolorists. That is what I love about her work, I like the “there are no rules” in watercolor approach.
We started the week by learning about some apps that can be used on the iPad to manipulate photos, to use for reference photos for our paintings. The main one was Photoshop Touch, which is essentially a scaled down version of Photoshop you can use on a digital device. I often use Photoshop on the computer to design and compose paintings, which I then paintfrom on my iPad. I like knowing now that I can do some things directly on the iPad.
We took selfies and the manipulated the photos in Photoshop Touch to create a Notan and some grey scale images which were used as the reference for the three paintings we did, focusing on shape, line, and value.
The first painting was done by creating collage papers in a plethora of ways to use as a mid tone valued background for the selfie (self portrait) on top. I could see where this collage paper making could become an addiction! I don’t do much figurative work other than life drawing once a week. So between that and all the other surfaces we created to paint on, I was way beyond my comfort level, but it was a blast!
The second painting was done on Yupo which is a synthetic paper. I had never used this before and can take some getting used to. I’m not a convert, but could see painting on this occasionally and experimenting with it a bit more. I think artists that like hot press paper like this surface, the paint stays and sloshes around on the top and doesn’t really soak into the paper. I’m a cold press kinda gal. A few artists that I feel are very successful with Yupo are Julie Ford Oliver, Helen Beacham, Taylor Ikin and Carol Ann Sherman.
The third painting was done by creating a textured Gesso surface to paint on, and then using line by emphasizing the face with a line drawing with ink before painting. It was funny with all the supplies I packed for this workshop, I felt I was bringingmost of my studio, I didn’t bring a quill pen or an oiler boiler (plastic bottle with a fine needle tip) to draw with. I improvised by using a black Prismacolor Pencil and dipped it into my ink bottle like a crow quill pen. Thisone ended up being a sort of stylized version of me.
The two paintings aside from the Yupo were done on older watercolors, sketches from life drawings or dogs from the drawer. With these techniques you would never throw away old paintings or paper, but would recycle them into new work! One of the many, take aways I got from this workshop. With the limited amount of time to do so many things, I don’t feel these are quite finished but are good starts that still need some tweaking. This was my first attempt at doing self portraiture so overall I’m pretty pleased with the likeness! If you ever have a chance to take a workshop with Myrna don’t miss it. She is a wonderful, engaging teacher and you learn things that go beyond the ordinary in watercolor that may take your work to a new level.
Myrna's demonstrations from the workshop: