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.
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Artist, Photographer & Educator