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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Gift in Teaching

Painting Quince branches on 300lb cold press watercolor paper.
I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. Before I explain a technique, I must first think about it for myself. What am I doing? So much of art is just doing, my hands know what to do after years and years of painting. Putting actions into words is sometimes hard for me. I've found that teaching has made me more aware of what I'm doing as an artist. Why am I holding the brush like this? How much water am I using? What colors am I using, and why? When does a watermark happen? All these questions have made me a better painter.

I've found that watercolor painting can be a spiritual practice. There is certain amount of letting go in watercolor painting. The paint and the water can have a mind of their own. They want to do their own beautiful thing together, and sometimes it's better to get out of the way. The more you try to control it, the worse it looks. This is especially true of wet-into-wet watercolor technique.

Some students come to class wanting to know exact formulas for painting —exact color combinations and step-by-step instructions. I do my best to give them all the information I know, but this is art, not science. The one thing that will make them a good artist is the one thing I can't teach—it's putting in the time. Invest hours of time into your painting. Practice, practice, practice. Don't be afraid to fail. Not every painting is a keeper. I'm still learning this for myself.

Happy painting!
Bridget
If you are interested in learning more about watercolor painting and drawing techniques consider taking one of my workshops in my Studio listed below.
I also teach weekly classes at 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning NY. Visit their  website for more information and to register: 171cedararts.org/classes/drawingpainting

 Studio Workshops
Join me in my light filled home studio for a morning of drawing and painting. These classes are for all levels.
$50 per student per class.
Materials are included in the price of the class). Feel free to bring your own materials if you have them.

All workshops held on Saturdays - 9:00am–1:00pm in Corning, NY. (address given at time of registration)
To register, email me at bbvanotterloo@gmail.com
  • October 22, 2016 ♦ Nature Sketching
    Learn to observe and sketch the natural world. We'll cover easy sketchbook techniques while working with live specimens. Drawing with graphite, colored pencils, pen, and some easy watercolor techniques.
     
  • November 19, 2016 ♦ Botanical Drawing and Watercolor
    Working with live plant specimens, students will learn to draw and paint plants with accurate detail. We will go over the basics of botanical drawing, and watercolor painting techniques. I will be teaching the classical botanical style of working in thin transparent layers of watercolor along with other detailed painting techniques.
     
  • December 10, 2016 ♦ Holiday Cards
    Create beautiful hand-painted holiday cards. I'll provide some easy templates to follow. Paper and envelopes included in the cost of the class. Bring your ideas too!
     
  • January 28, 2017 ♦ Introduction to Watercolor
    We practice color mixing, go over brush types and handling, and the different types of watercolor paper. We'll start with a color wheel and finish with a small watercolor painting.
     
  • February 25, 2017 ♦ Botanical Drawing and Watercolor
    Working with live plant specimens, students will learn to draw and paint plants with accurate detail. We will go over the basics of botanical drawing, and watercolor painting techniques. I will be teaching the classical botanical style of working in thin transparent layers of watercolor along with other detailed painting techniques.
     
  • March 25, 2017 ♦ Nature Sketching
    Learn to observe and sketch the natural world. We'll cover easy sketchbook techniques while working with live specimens. Drawing with graphite, colored pencils, pen, and some easy watercolor techniques.
Finding all the shades of purple in these irises.

4 comments:

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice. Last paragraph is spot on!

    Doug

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  2. Thank you Bridget for sharing your insights regarding teaching and your watercolor painting process. Just today I went out painting at Fort Fisher. I felt a little disappointed with my results, but at the same time I knew that whatever I do, I am learning. Then to find your post, it was a treasure for me! I felt encouraged and will continue on my journey.

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