Going into a workshop there is always an excitement being able to meet and learn from someone you admire. I love the light, color and atmosphere Ian creates with his watercolors. Going into this mini workshop (which was only one day) I wanted to learn and soak up as much from him as possible, learning about his technique and use of atmosphere.
What I learned:
Ian works by building up layers working wet on wet to wet on dry. We started off by putting a light wash down for the sky then moving to the water while the sky was drying. We jumped around the painting working in one area while another was drying. By doing this, we kept our painting consistent and minimized our time completing it. But painting in watercolor requires a lot of patience. Ian said: “If you want things to turn out right they need to dry properly.”
I found out that I was not using enough water with my paints. I would try to get it as dark as I wanted the first time I put the paint down. Ian kept repeating that we needed to use more water to let the paint be transparent, to work and build our painting up with layers to the value we wanted. He instructed us that we needed enough water in our brush so the paint flows. However, it should not be dripping paint, but have just enough that we don’t have to force the paint out of our brush.
We learned that we needed to work quickly and with purpose, so we could later soften and wash out edges where needed, leaving light/white spots for that sparkle in our paintings. When working wet you can add in colors and soften them into what you are doing.
This workshop was enjoyable and I learned a lot from it. Ian helped me improve my watercolor technique by using more water, washing the paint in, and by slowly building up my layers. He also showed a fun technique using a fan brush to paint in our trees.