Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Working With Watercolor Pencil


I've been working my way through Cathy Johnson's Watercolor Pencil class and I must say, it's been truly wonderful.  Cathy is a master at her art and a wonderful teacher.  This mini-class has helped me peel pack the layers of my style and step into a new way of creating.  I wish I had Cathy's eye for capturing the beauty around her, but I like to think of myself as a work in progress.


Yesterday, I picked some leaves off one of our trees and went for it.  I've always struggled with 'en plein air' because I don't think my 'artist's eye' focuses on the subject in the right way, but they tell me it's one of those things you just have to practice.  Many of my sketchbook pages produced in response to Cathy's class are not for public consumption, however, there have been a couple that I've been quite happy with, and this is one of them.



This was done with ink and watercolor pencil.  I spent a lot of time working on the color and shading and found one of the most challenging parts to be the background.  I just couldn't get the right depth here and ended up reaching for my Angora Watercolor Paints. (Is that cheating??). 


Mastering watercolor pencils has been an elusive challenge for me, but I've learnt so much about the tools and how to use them.  Importantly, I've learnt about enhancing with the pencils and using them to introduce a dimension of detail and shading not otherwise achieved with normal wc paints...at least for me.



Another of my learning pursuits has been to draw on the grace and talent of the wonderful Pat Elliot.  I've mentioned Pat before, and many of you may know that I consider her a mentor.  Her art is stunning, it has a delicacy and an elegance I've only seen in a few people.  She is so generous and always willing to offer me  advice and tips along the way. You'll be pleased to know that Pat also offers some tutorials on her blog.  Pat has been helping me master some of the color and shading techniques that help make her work simply stunning.  I can't say I am able to achieve the same depth and beauty as Pat, or Cathy for that matter, but I have certainly seen a change in my own work and am very grateful to both of them for sharing their talents.


However, this doesn't mean I intend to abandon my own personal style, my luscious love of color, and my wild process of creating my sketchbook pages.  This is my style, my passion and my love; but it does mean I am adding a new dimension to my skills which I hope will improve me as an artist, and it's been so much fun stepping out of my comfort zone, trying new styles and subjects and challenging myself along the way.

Don't you just love the art of learning??

Thanks for checking in. xx