Monday, November 14, 2022

Rocks and Sea with the Help of Shari Blaukopf


Rocks and Sea from Shari Blaukopf's demo
6" x 8" watercolor

I learn from taking online courses from other artists, but I don’t like to re-create paintings from their reference photos and their demonstrations. Even if I like the final product, I can’t call it my own, because it’s their photo, their composition, their methodology.

But I make myself do it anyway because I always learn important things in the doing. Here’s a painting I worked on today in imitation of a demo by Canadian Shari Blaukopf, my favorite watercolorist/teacher in her new coursecalled “Rugged Rocks and Sea.” Her final painting is sooo much better; even so, here’s what I learned (or maybe already knew but got it into deeper into my muscle memory) by doing my imperfect imitation:

·   --Basing a painting on triads (three primary colors) with maybe an extra color or two can be a great way to unify a painting.

·    --Varying washes from cool to warm and back again is a good way to keep the viewer (and painter) interested.

·    --Getting too dark too early limits the way you can add polish/details at the end with quick calligraphic strokes of dark colors. (Going too dark too early is a perennial problem of mine, but I’m learning.)

·    --Raw sienna is a transparent workhorse of a color to have in your palette. It helps add warmth without always having to add yellow, which can lend a garish tone to a painting.

And that’s just off the top of my head. Other learnings are taking place, I just know it—learnings that I can’t quite yet articulate.

Shari Blaukopf is a fine teacher. Her online courses are inexpensive, and you can revisit them as much as you like once you’ve paid the fee. For some of the courses, if you post your painting, she offers feedback. She’s a generous person, and one of those who can talk while she paints, explaining what she’s doing and why. I highly recommend her online courses.

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