I thought I would to a post following up on my trip to Atlanta. I was there the beginning of the month to attend the Georgia Watercolor Society’s National Juried Exhibition Reception and to take a workshop with the juror, Iain Stewart. The week was absolutely fantastic in so many ways. First, I want to thank the Georgia Watercolor Society and all the volunteers and Iian, the show was so beautiful and well-balanced with a range of subject matter. I was honored to be included with such a talented group of artists. GWS is a top-notch organization between the members, the exhibition, the workshop and the folks at the Ogelthorpe Museum of Art, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. The workshop was held where the show was so it was a treat to be surrounded by it and see all of the work the whole week!
One of the major high lights attending the shows is getting to meet the other artists. The group I had the pleasure of being with all week during the workshop was so nice, gracious and a hoot! We had a ball. The other was receiving an Honorable Mention award! To be singled out from a few hundred submissions to be in the show and then from around 90 works in the show from artists all over the United States, to receive an award was such an honor. If you are interested in seeing the images from the show you can click here. Another highlight was getting signature status with this great group, after having been in their national exhibition three times.
Last but not least, was getting to spend 5 days painting with Iain Stewart. I wanted to take a workshop with Iain because I felt he was somewhat if a kindred spirit by doing watercolor sketchbooks especially during travels. I have been doing the same since 2005 and it is purely the reason I am now painting in watercolor. I fell in love with the media doing sketches while traveling and living in Hong Kong and Paris. The other reason I was excited to take the workshops is because I have recently been doing more plein air painting, as a seeing and drawing practice to improve my studio work, and for my own enjoyment. My husband also plein air paints and it is something we really enjoy doing together. I was struggling with not simplifying what was in front of me enough and now with Iain’s help, I feel I have a much better handle on it.
I thought I would share a few of my observations from the workshop in case there are others who are interested in learning from Iain. He also has a new series of DVD’s that were recently released, in case a workshop is to cost prohibitive. However, I’m not sure Iain’s sense of humor will shine through on the DVD’s! Yes, he is a hoot, and you will laugh and have a great time. If you like taking workshops where the instructor is all business, doesn’t crack jokes and have fun, then this one may not be for you.
Whether you are, or are not a landscape painter you will learn. If you are a landscape painter, after painting with Iian you will have many take-aways you can apply to your own work and style. If you are not a landscape painter primarily, I feel the biggest takeaways will be to learn how to analyze your subject matter, edit and add to if needed to arrive at the best composition. You will draw before you paint, using Iain’s photo reference as a guide. If you are a watercolor artistthat only traces your images for your work and are lacking in drawing skills, you may feel a bit intimated. On the other hand, more of a reason for you to take the workshop. For a city scene, he does go over perspective.
Iain’s method is to finish a painting with 3-4 passes starting top to bottom with washes. The first wash being the lightest, the following washes gradually getting darker in value, saving the lights from the first wash, and the last wash adds the darkest values and the details. In my own plein air practice I’m eager to try this method and paint through my subject matter more, knowing the areas from the fist washes will get covered up with darker ones. This will avoid painting “pieces” and seeing the scene and painting it as a whole.
Iain’s a great guy and a very talented artist! If he is coming to an area near you I would highly recommend taking his workshop! You will have a great time and there are moments you just may laugh your **s off, but you will still learn a whole ***l of a lot!