Enrollment reached 180 today in my new mini watercolour course, Lovely Loose Florals, and the Student Gallery is glowing with colour as students share their exercises inspired by this new online course.
I try to visit the student galleries weekly and share guidance, comment & critiques. I love that this gives my courses an ongoing supply of information to help students even after they have watched the lessons many times. Here’s a comment I shared with a student in the Loose Florals gallery:
My first thought is still to wonder about your paper – I know you said it was artist quality but I’m a little suspicious. I hate paper brands that masquerade as “good” watercolour paper and aren’t really, and these cheaper papers are adequate for controlled painting without a lot of washes, but don’t let colour flow nicely in fluid washes. And I hate it when students struggle unnecessarily, so this is why I’m so quick to suggest a paper upgrade!
As a beginner, you do have a lot to learn when it comes to learning how much water and paint to use and this will feel like a struggle for awhile. When I was starting out, I combated discouragement by finding something to love about every painting (even if it was just a single brush stroke!). I also believe that learning to paint takes an element of faith – when things aren’t turning out, it’s important to keep believing that you are learning, even if the results don’t look like it! We learn a lot by taking risks and making mistakes, and experimenting, so don’t put too much weight on your results; at the beginning learning stage, the process is the most important. Actually, I think the process is always the most important, even though our tendency is to see success or failure in the finished project.
Regarding keeping your colours clean; I think you’ve done a good job of that in the samples you’ve posted here – avoiding mixing complementary (opposite) colours, and “fussing” with the colour once it’s place on the page. The best way to make colour combinations that please you is to do a lot of mixing experiments, and avoid using too many colours until you really know the colours you have and how they mix with each other. I find if I add too many new colours to my palette at once, I don’t use any of them, because I can’t trust them to create mixes that please me. So adding a few new colours at a time and experimenting is a good way to adjust your palette as you go along. You can create colour mixing charts if you wish to, although personally I just love mixing colours in “real time”, creating paintings and trying colours out in quick sketches.
Stay encouraged! Watercolour is a skill, so it’s one anyone can learn if they love it enough to keep doing it, over and over, logging those “brush miles” as skill is built.
My goal in my student gallery critiques is to be generous in sharing information to help students learn, to try to give guidance that fits each particular’s student’s level of skill in watercolour and to encourage and motivate when students are feeling frustrated. It’s a big responsibility, but it adds a personal aspect that wouldn’t come with just watching course videos, so I believe the student galleries are an important part of the course.
Lovely Loose Florals in Watercolour is available for enrollment until July 31, 2016. Once you are enrolled, you get lifetime access to your course, and you can watch the six lessons as many times, whenever you like. And I always offer a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, no questions asked, because I know no class is perfect for every student, and I want to make sure you are getting instruction that helps you grow in your watercolour journey!