Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome as it turns an article into a discussion, but must be in English and not include profanity or threats.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Watercolor Class at Oregon State University with Oregon Fish and Wildlife Hatchery and Research Center Fall Creek Arts Festival

Saturday, November 4, at the OSFW Fish Hatchery and Research Center Arts Festival I enjoyed a morning and an aftenoon class of enthusiastic painters. Adult sisters assisted me and painted too. There were children accompanied by parents and one family included a grandparent, also some individuals with their caregivers. Everyone became engaged. 

Only have pictures of  a few of the paintings from the class.

  Attempting to be inclusive of painters in every stage of development including children and adults who knew what they wanted to paint. They were encouraged to go for their vision. For those who wanted a challenge or idea to start, I had an assignment for them.

My teaching exercise was on the techniques of  laying down a general compositional plan while being open to allowing the character of the paint to suggest new directions. Of course the creative process includes being free during the course of painting to reject somethings that are not desired. My goal was to disprove the widely held belief that watercolor is difficult because once a mistake is made the painting is ruined.  One reason watercolor is a workable medium is that the white of the paper can be restored by applying opaque, acrylic absorbent ground.
Lesson plan: With just two hours to paint, the assignment must be quickly explained leaving most of the time for the hands on exploring of watercolors. My challenge is great because students are four years old to ninty. Some had limited English language skills.  The basic need is to be simple and clear but still have enough meat to hook the most experienced painters.

Lesson: Very important! The placement of your subject within the picture is very, very important!   Deciding how much space surrounds the subject is your first step in making your painting expressive.   Whether tiny or popping out, whether placed to right or left top, middle or bottom determines the shape of the surrounding areas.  Whether the subject is small or large, the main subject and surrounding space project feelings and stories.

The size of the bird is significant as well as the central location. Top bird shows dominance, to be feared. the middle bird smallest with wings up in surrender. The bottom bird relatively big but is perceived as small because it is intimately close.

Student example of work using the technique of first painting negative area around subject while being mindful of allowing enough surrounding space to contribute to telling a story with emotion;

Whether the subject is recognizable or more abstract, the placement in the picture space is important to expressiveness.  My sample I cropped to make it more expressive:
A student's watercolor painting is  a  good example of the paint doing what it likes. Allowing paint to move and dry as it likes leads to happy accidental effects that if not fought can suggest a fun carefree ride to new imaginings. Watercolors have character in uneven coverage that painters can come to happily accept it's surprises.
In the next blog Wednesday, November 15, a demo will be illustrated and explained.


Brig said...

Interesting, looking forward to your next post.

Tabor said...

Have you read The Forest Lover? You might like that.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

I typed in The Forest Lover in Kindle Amazon Store and Les Miserables came up. Who wrote the book?

Brig said...

Look under The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland