A couple winters ago there was a cold snap and anything liquid froze in the Columbia River Gorge. During the below freezing temperature, I ventured into the gorge with my camera and tripod. I visited a couple of the popular waterfalls and have been thinking about transforming them into paintings. Today I took the plunge, especially since I hadn’t used my Christmas present yet, a size 14 Round Paul Jackson’s Elephant Sable. I only used that brush for my paints, plus using the masking fluid and brush soap purchased from Paul Jackson during his Oregon Workshop. And of course I used a different brush designated for my masking fluid.
I started this little 8” x 10” watercolor around 10 am and worked in layers. Between photos 2 and 3, I actually took a brisk 30 minute walk with Kona and Coal, then got back to work with utilizing a hair dryer as needed with the extra wet washes. And before I knew it, 3 pm rolled around and I decided that my first painting of 2018 was complete.
I might have started this painting with something specific in mind. The Keizer Arts Association has a monthly art show and I knew this month’s theme is Pacific Northwest. I thought about painting Mt. Hood for this show or using older paintings, but I knew I could create something different yet familiar. So after I finished my watercolor, framed it, and then brought it to KAA for their January show.
Paul Jackson’s workshop was five days of learning, not just about painting glass, but also about creating a narrative, tips on creating dynamic art, and techniques and tips for working in watercolor and working outside of your comfort zone and encouraging experimenting, exploring, and learning.
As we had learned during his presentation on Sunday, Paul likes to make his own supplies. He brought along some small batch masking fluid, he created a specific formula that lasts for at least three years (placing it in the refrigerator when not using increases shelf life) that withstands even a heat gun and still easily peels off after six months on paper. There was also a small selection of brushes that Paul has made that we available for workshop participants to purchase along with Paul Jackson Watercolors (made by DaVinci Paints) and some of his instructional DVDs. His table of products was like a candy store for artists. And a little tip is that you can get discounts in his paint by ordering them online, but first go to www.PaulJackson.com and then click on the “Supply Shop” and then paint tab, which then redirects you to DaVinci’s website.
The second day of Paul’s workshop he said, “Nothing in watercolor is impossible if you understand water balance.” Every day during his workshop he had demonstrated this. We learned the difference of water retention with synthetic and natural hair brushes, along with brush care. It was amazing to watch the water “yo-yo” in the tip of a natural hair brush and the wonders a kayak brush can bring for painting with two colors. For many of the artists, myself included, we learned what kind of board is best to use for stretching paper with a staple gun.
Paul kept touching on the tools you need to create your painting; if you don't have it, you can make the tool you need. Using everything from a soap dish as a brush holder, Mr. Clean (original) Magic Eraser, hand cut stencils, and even a natural broom (grass fibers) to create an even wash of a 10’ x 16” area of his Budapest painting.
The second half of the week, we started an additional painting, which could have been his demo or one that we wanted to work on. This one had glass in it, but also more of an environmental message, tall cylindrical vase-like colored glass morphing into factory smoke stacks whose smoke drifted into the Aurora Borealis which was dancing above a lone polar bear on a glass iceberg. The first thing was masking out all the highlights in the glass and the reflections; keeping the white of the paper as the highlights. Paul was able to start and finish this painting in two days and it danced with the contrast of deep, dark blues and greens among the the oranges and pinks reflecting in the glass.
Some of the participants decided to make this one into their own, introducing flowers, birds, geometric shapes, mountains, and even the moon. While others brought in their own photo references of animals or personal glass pieces. Paul didn't hold back when we asked him questions and was more than happy to demonstrate specific techniques, such as fog, when asked.
This was a fantastic workshop, even though glass isn’t what I wanted to learn about, I learned a lot about techniques and materials that can be used towards any subject matter.
Have you been wanting to learn more about horses so that you can draw them more realistically? Have you been wanting to learn how to paint in watercolor?
Well, if so, you're in luck! This fall I'm teaching Drawing Horses 101 and starting my series of Watercolors Made Easy classes. The classes will be held in Keizer and Newberg, Oregon, but if you are interested in taking private classes or hosting a Watercolors Made Easy party class, please let me know!
Here is my class schedule and you can stay up to date by subscribing to my newsletter.
Drawing Horses 101
Fridays, starting October 20 from 9 am - 12 pm at Keizer Art Association
6 classes for $150
Watercolors Made Easy: Red Fox
Friday, November 10 from 6 pm - 9 pm at Anvil Academy
All supplies included for $75
Watercolors Made Easy: Red Barn in Snow
Friday, December 8 from 6 pm - 9 pm at Anvil Academy
All supplies included for $75
If you know someone who would might be interested in taking a class, please share this with them!
I am part of the Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) and every year there are two conventions, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. About 2 ½ years ago I volunteer to co-chair the Fall 2017 Convention. Over the years I've been working on venue spaces for the weekend long convention and the week long workshop the juror does.
This convention's juror is Paul Jackson. He does amazing watercolors and I also volunteered to be his assistant during his workshop (I can learn, but my first duties will be to assist and run errands as needed).
I really wanted to create a couple new paintings for the art show that coincides with fall convention, but with the move and no studio set up, I decided to look through my current line of paintings. Back in November 2015 I created a new body of square watercolors that featured the Drum Horses and rescue horses that I love to visit. I had two favorites that I hadn't entered in shows yet, so I decided to enter them.
Last night I received an email stating the 156 artists entered 276 paintings for Paul Jackson to jury and only 80 are chosen to be included in the show. To be in the show is a great honor, and I'm excited to announce that "Holly" has been selected to in the 52nd Fall Watercolor Exhibit Columbia River Colors at the Mount Hood Community College's Visual Arts Gallery!
I am not only excited that she will be in the show, but also that Paul Jackson chose her out of hundreds and that I will be learning what I can from him the week after the convention during his workshop!
I will be posting more details as the time gets closer. And if you enjoyed this journal entry, please leave a comment and share it with your friends!
I hope you stay awhile. This is my journal where I will talk about my paintings, processes, photography & adventures, post processing, social media, and more.