I’ve long been a fan of online art classes and Sketchbook Skool in particular so you can imagine how excited I was to sign up for their brand new watercolor class, Watercolor Rules and How to Break Them. I’ve loved adding watercolor to my drawings and sketchbook pages but I’ve often wanted to dive deeper into the whys and wherefores of the medium.
Signing up was a given.
After waiting impatiently all summer I finally started in last week with our first assignment… learning about colors and pigments by mixing and creating color wheels from the paints in our palettes.
My palette contains both a warm and a cool version of the three primaries along with a few neutrals and a surprise color or two. One evening I sat down and made my color wheels using all the combinations of those primaries… the neutrals and surprises will have to wait.
I think my favorite wheel is the cool yellow, cool red, warm blue… the one on the right in the image below. It makes slightly neutralized yet natural oranges and greens as well as bright violets.
But as you can see, there are more lovely mixes in each of these wheels.
There was also an additional but optional homework assignment to paint a still life without the safety net of an ink or pencil under-drawing… and create it using only three primary paints. I just couldn’t limit myself to those three and found myself sneaking other colors into my mixes.
I foresee pomegranate seeds on my salad now that they’ve done their modeling. Delicious!
but no guilt… no excuses!
I wasn’t planning on taking the latest Sketchbook Skool offering, Let’s Make A Map, but after seeing some of the work on They Draw and Travel, an online map-art site, I’ve been inspired to do one of my own.
I signed up late last night and started in on the lessons. First up… drawing a compass rose.
I still need to figure out WHAT I’ll be mapping but at least I’ll be able to show you which way is North!
Just over a week ago I was able to spend a fabulous day sketching with 2 friends I found through Sketchbook Skool. We met at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science to sketch together and catch up on all our various travels, classes and workshops.
We enjoyed the raptor visitor program and toyed with the idea of sketching the eagles but instead, we settled on painting the lovely view of the Ottauquechee River just a short walk from the main exhibit area. Landscapes have never been my forte so I jumped at the chance to practice, especially in the presence of my friends who are both more comfortable and more proficient at capturing the terrain.
Having decided against using my trusty fountain pen, I loosely and lightly sketched the rough outline of the marsh before pulling out one of my travel watercolor brushes. Sorry, I can’t remember which one; I only know I felt as if I was walking a tightrope without a net. Definitely out of my comfort zone!
Stillman & Birn Alpha 9″ x 6″, Daniel Smith Watercolors
The time just sailed by and only too soon we were saying our good-byes and scheduling our next get-together. Once I got home and really studied my spread I saw a few flaws that I thought were “fixable” using a few of the hints I gleaned during the day.
You can see that in my zeal to capture the reflections I totally neglected to draw the mountains that were reflected! Sheesh… what was I thinking! The other hint was to paint in a smudgy layer of color at the base of the rushes. Two small things that made a big difference.
Is it perfect? … far from it, but I’m pleased. I only know I have more practice time ahead of me… and with my friends encouraging me, I’ll enjoy every minute of it!
I had great plans for the winter holiday hiatus from Sketchbook Skool. I thought I’d take the opportunity to sketch a portrait of every teacher. There were only 14 instructors… 3 terms, 6 teachers each… and each term 2 of them were returning teachers, the founders, Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene. No sweat… plenty of time.
HA! …. it’s amazing how time just evaporates.
I did manage to sketch all 6 instructors in the SBS – Beginnings class: Danny Gregory, Koosje Koene, Prashant Miranda, Jane LaFazio, Roz Stendahl and Tommy Kane.
Have you been wondering what Sketchbook Skool is like? You can find out by taking a free klass. Get a taste of creativity, it may be just what you need to get you through the winter. Beginnings starts again January 2, Seeing starts January 23 and Storytelling starts on February 13.
Don’t be too kool for skool!
I’ve matrikulated into Sketchbook Skool!
This endeavor is a wonderful kollaboration of Danny Gregory and Koosje Koene, two artists I’ve followed for quite a while. They’ve put together a six week kourse, (adding the k is killing me… I’ll stop now.) each week featuring the art, inspiration and guidance of a different artist. Danny took the first week and inspired us to draw the ordinary, the everyday… no special equipment, just a sketchbook and a pen. Paint the page first if a blank white page makes you freeze… just start.
Just yesterday, Koosje’s lessons, week 2, were posted.
I particularly appreciated Koosje’s intonation to “get over yourself!”… to just get out and draw… out in the open, in the community, even if… gasp!… people may be watching! This has long been one of my goals so I packed my sketchbook Friday evening when we went to a friend’s home for a Celtic music house concert.
My apologies, portraiture is not a specialty, but I’m going to keep working on it!
Next up… Prashant Miranda.