I recently went to a watercolor workshop in Saint Jo, Texas. Though I usually paint with acrylic paints, I was persuaded to attend this workshop because it boasted to be beneficial to painters of all media and highly entertaining as well.
So off I went in late October to North Texas-Watercolorist, Randy Meador, taught this non-traditional watercolor workshop for 22 attendees at Donna Howell-Sickles church studio in Saint Jo.
He's a consummate cowboy artist as you can see by his Western attire.
But his pioneering attitude towards his art is authentic and endearing. Though he asserts he taught himself watercolor through books, he practiced and practiced until he was able to reproduce and achieve his desired effect.
His easy demeanor, affable nature and his natural "I know I'm easy on the eyes" charm, make this workshop a winner no matter what kind of artist you are!
In medicine we have PEARLS - the nuggets of "can't forget wisdom"
Here's Randy's watercolor pearls:
- let the pigments float and "do their thing" in the water - this gives a distinctly non-painterly technique. (We are water coloring - NOT painting.)
- NO WHITE paint!
- * if you need a white area - don't watercolor on it and let the paper show through OR watch Randy take out his enormous Bowie knife and scrape off a highlight on an earring or an eye!
- start with your lightest areas or "rooms" on your painting or sketch
- creating these "rooms" on my sketch was quite helpful to give an area to let the watercolor happen
- mix "buckets" of paint on your pallet before beginning your work - these buckets are within your pallet and should have perhaps two colors - that you are allowing to blend at their free will
- use a mop approach with a large soft brush
- work top down and do not go back into your watercolor area with your brush/mop
- leaving one layer of watercolor allows the luminosity of the pigments to shine
- he makes his pictures pop with a contrasting intense background of ivory black and prussian blue - warning: this inky background requires a lot of pigment! (Read lots of $)
- "watercoloring" is accomplished when we walk away, fold our arms and let our paint dry before returning to the paint - so Randy likes to have several paintings going at once.
- don't be afraid to RUIN your painting! That's right - mess it up, ruin it - right at the start. This takes the pressure off of trying to perfect something - because you CAN'T CONTROL WATERCOLOR - this isn't painting. Let it go, let it be watercolor.
|Randy's watercolor pallette|
Randy's unique approach to watercolor is...
Brave and forthright but mysterious at the same time.
No two sketches, paintings or watercolors are identical - each has their own energy because he is free to let the watercolor do the work. No painting here. This is about a controlled relinquishment of design and painting, which is probably the toughest part of this workshop for many.
|The impish grin|
His work has a compelling vibrancy and light that is unmistakably his own. Look at his work and you will see it. Clearly after listening to him, I saw that this was achieved with much study, practice and hard work on his part. (Afterall, that is usually how one attains greatness.)
But I'm always in search of some shortcuts to fabulousness - so I went to this workshop.
It was a success for me - because I had no bad habits to lose (in watercolor). No techniques or skills to depart from. I felt free to try his suggested technique and be ok - if I did nothing more than make a mess on some fairly costly watercolor paper (which I did). And now I will practice mixing colors, and making washes and reserving highlights at home in my Camp Effie Art Studio.
Best of all - I left with that "I must go home and make this happen" feeling.
|1- Beginning - Randy does light room first|
|2 - Next - he adds a darker room|
|3 - Inky contrast added to make it pop|
Other fabulous bonuses:
Seeing Donna Howell-Sickles, her gallery, her studio again! She is such a pulled together lady and an incredible artist - visiting her studio is an inspiring privilege.
|Donna and me|
|Wine at Arche Vineyard|
|Low carb cheeseboard at Arche Vineyard|
|Longhorn in progress|
|Workshop participants hard at work|