Long live the Beachcombers!
(Before I begin I must say that there were so many aspects to this workshop. There was the workshop but also the fabulous location. Therefore I have actually created 2 posts. This one below covers the workshop. This second one is about the experience of being in Gibson’s and some unique experiences we had there.)
First . . . the workshop . . .
Watching that iconic Canadian TV show was my introduction to the spectacular landscape of the Sunshine Coast of BC. I fell in love with it and it has called to me ever since so I was thrilled to be asked to teach a workshop there this August.
I had such high expectations of what Gibsons would be like and I’m happy to say that they were exceeded.
First of all it was my first 5 day workshop. I must admit that I wondered how that would work out. (Hint: it worked out beautifully).
It began with a meet the artist evening at Phyllis’s beautiful home.
I was thrilled that the workshop was full with a waiting list. There were 15 participants.
They were a wonderful group to work with – enthusiastic, friendly and so positive. On the first day we were in many ways like a group of individuals. By the end of the workshop we were a real group, supporting and encouraging each other. They also laughed at nearly all my jokes.
I was inspired by how much we were able to achieve.
My experiences at this and other workshops completely confirms my belief that you achieve maximum learning by breaking the big goal (a full painting) into little, easy-to-master steps. Then it’s easy to master each skill separately in a stress free way. Then when we come to do the full paintings we have already practiced all the skills. I have devised little lessons and practices on people, cars, value and watercolour washes.
I often use the same paintings at different workshops. I choose paintings that have a lot of teaching points so the participants can get the most out of the workshop. I also choose paintings that have something special in terms of colour, composition or value.
Here is my first demo of Kensington Market. This is the painting that most closely follows a traditional urban landscape method. It’s also a chance to play with some bright colours.
Next was Jasper Ave which illustrates how to dramatically simplify the subject and to completely change the colour and mood.
These two photos show the students early stages of the Jasper Ave painting. It’s really quite something to have such success with bright, vibrant and bold colour. It’s very common for watercolourists to struggle with these concepts. No one at this workshop struggled with them.
My Official Assistant
By an incredible stroke of luck Susan was able to participate in the workshop as my official assistant. Of course she became much more than that. She helped people with their paintings and generally made everyone feel glad to be there. She also organized a final day luncheon and had us all sharing our experiences from the week.
She also had the chance to do her own paintings.
The Third Demo
We completed 2 paintings but did not have enough time to finish the third one – a really neat perspective on Winnipeg. I said I would post the various stages as I finished my painting at home.
I felt the background was too much cobalt blue and also didn’t connect with the centre of interest. So I added a couple more washes to make the blues more neutral and to add more orange and red.
Next I removed the masking and began adding detail.
The finished version.
One student finished her version of this painting and sent me a copy.
I was humbled by some of the feedback I received especially where it concerned the way I structure and teach a workshop. One lady said of all the many, workshops she had taken this was the first time she had actually received instruction. That moved me.
It was a wonderful group, a powerful experience and a fabulous location.
Here are the people who made the week so special.
Many thanks to everyone for a wonderful week!