I took a machine felting class with Jane at CREATE in July (I'll eventually get a blogpost up on that), so I already knew what a great teacher she is. And I've wanted to improve my watercoloring skills for some time. The perfect class for me!
We each received a muslin bag and a tag from Jane.....and made by Jane!
Jane's philosophy is fairly simple: really look at what you're sketching, and draw what you see. We began with flowers; each of us selected a bloom, took it to our tables and began by doing a quick and loose drawing with pencil. Then going in and refining with detail, and finally going over the lines with ink.
I broke in my new watercolor journal.
We used fine or superfine Pitt pens.
Jane didn't specify any paticular brand of watercolors; she did say that even an inexpensive child's set would be fine. I used the Sakura Koi set I already had, and a waterbrush.
When we drew, we were aiming for realism, but when we began to color, Jane encouraged us to change things up if we wanted to, and mix colors instead of relying on the premixed colors in our sets.
This is what my page looked like at the end of day one.
Throughout the day, Jane would often gather us together so she could demonstrate a particular technique.
On Sunday, we started off with a review of everyone's work. Look at these pages. I won't tell you who, but some were done by people with absolutely no experience in sketching or watercoloring.
Then Jane showed us some of her journal pages, and talked about how to look at our drawings from the previous day, and create stylized versions of them.
If you look at the top right of Jane's page in the photo right above, you'll see the stylized versions of the center part of the flower. What we would do with these new sketches is carve stamps.
All of the blades for carving are stored inside the handle.
This is a page I did to illustrate the process.
This sketch was inspired by the center of the aster.
And it became this stamp.
This one came from the bud on the hibiscus.
And it became this stamp.
One of the petals of the hibiscus inspired this styized version.
Too many lines; I simplified it for the stamp.
The stamps themselves.
Another technique was to stamp on tissue paper, cut it out and add it to a page with matte medium. I added the bud stamp to my first page.
If all that wasn't enough, we also cut stamps from fun foam. I'd previously done this using a die and my Vagabond, but this time we were cutting freehand or from a tracing. This stamp was done by simply tracing an actual oak leaf on the foam.
The foam has adhesive on one side, so we attached the stamps to a piece of acetate.
This is the page that evolved from that stamp.
The darkest leaf was done with one of the new Ranger archival inks, but the rest were done with my watercolors. The writing around the leaves is mostly just repeating color words, but I think it's a good design element.
We ended the day, and the weekend with a review. We each held up our work and talked a bit about what we'd done.
Two fantastic days! What's better than making art? Making art with great friends and a wonderful teacher. Massive thanks to Jane, and to Michele for bringing her to New York.