Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Robert Sinclair Workshop

When I lived in Brule AB eons ago I took a fantastic 2 day watercolor workshop with Robert at the Blackcat Ranch so when The River Valley Alliance and VAAA teamed up and offered a free 3 hour pleinair workshop May 4th, I gratefully took the opportunity. Of course Gerald had no idea he was signed up till we got there, but like a trooper he jumped right in and worked alongside me sharing the paintbox.

As it was a workshop I took the opportunity to Play, play, play and heeded Roberts Zen advice to stop a painting before you start it. He encouraged laying down color without consideration of a finished painting. Robert advise us to ground ones self in place with the earth, to feel the energy come up through our feet and to breathe with the understanding that we are all within the cycle of life. While out painting pleinair to realize that the trees are absorbing our breathed out carbon dioxide that they then convert and expel as oxygen for us. Yes we really are part of the glorious cycle, aren't we.

Top left is the first one painted. It looked much darker when wet but I had sopped the whole 300lb Arches paper with way too much water and drew into the puddles with watercolor pencils, which of course then bled to became a soft gray. Which in reality worked as it was snowing out so the bridge and landscape really did look soft in the distance without much definition. I drew into the wet again with watercolor pencil to define the bridge, it looked great, then it dried so soft the lines almost all disappeared. The yellow in the background are the willows in full bloom. Workshops are wonderful to encourage one to step outside of their habits and to experiment.

Next to the right, also a pleinair, except I was indoors looking out as mentioned as it was snowing and I did not want to get chilled. There were a few hardy souls that went out to paint in the snow, though I was thankful they opened the building which has lots of windows to view the landscape from. The second painting was started with watercolor washes which were then drawn into with watercolor pencils to accent the snag tree. This one was more successful as a painting, yet also successful in that more control was used in working with the water and pigment.

The bottom left image was worked from a photo of pussy willows. I basically drew with watercolor and inktense pencils which were then splashed with a wash of water to soften and blur the drawn lines.  So yes I greatly played and had a joyful time. Upon viewing my 3 pieces Robert teased and said "go home" we both laughed cause I was really taking his advice, from which I greatly benefited.

For the last image bottom right I decided to tackle the bridge once again but to push the pigments using both watercolor washes and inktense pencils.  I brought along the pencils as I'm not quite sure I like working with inktense pencils yet, but I do love aquarelle watercolor pencils though find them a bit on the soft side.

Surprisingly I prefer the first bridge painted, which is interesting as anyone who follows this blog and my blog with my paintings posted realize I paint to a high degree of definition and detail in acrylics. I do also work highly defined in watercolor though for some reason never get around to posting images of my watercolors on line.

As I mostly work detailed and layered with semi-dry brush work it was engaging to realize how much dilution of pigment happens experimenting using ample if not too much water. All in all a very successful and playful workshop for me. I'm excited about the idea to do more pleinar paintings this summer.
Hugs to all and happy sunshine days.


Carol Blackburn said...

Hello Tess, my it sounds like you and Gerald really enjoyed yourselves. Super! I hope things are good with you.

Red said...

Workshops like this are what make artists tick. This guy knows how to get the creative juices flowing.