Sunday, February 16, 2014

Painting Poppies, Muscle Memory and Starting at the Beginning

Yesterday, I took a watercolor class with Kathy Delumpa Allegri.  It was a beginner's class starting with the very basics of color mixing and brush control.

I also made the decision to start doing watercolors with my non-dominant hand.  This wasn't the challenge it would be for some.  I'm left-handed, right-eye dominant, which means I've always done some thing right-handed.  All those Scribbler Too drawings I've done recently were done with my non-dominant hand.

The reason for all this?  I've been playing with watercolor for a couple of years now.  I've done a few things I really liked, and most of what I did was okay.  But I never felt as though I were using watercolor AS watercolor.  I was drawing/painting the same way I did most of my work.  And I really want to capture the essence of watercolor.

I wasn't sure where I was going wrong, so I decided to back up, start at the beginning and see if that helps.  By switching to my non-dominant hand I remove muscle memory, so both my mind and body are on the same page.

Kathy's class was great.  We ran out of time to do a finished painting, spending the morning on mixing colors for the color wheel, and the afternoon working on brush control, which was exactly what I was hoping for.  I can't say we covered anything I wasn't aware of, but I picked up some insights on color temperatures, and got some excellent practice with the brush.

As soon as I got home, I painted a picture with the three colors we used in class (Quinacridone Rose, Cobalt Blue, and Aureolin/Azo yellow).  The only Cobalt I have is a cheap, student grade, so it didn't spread very well, but it got the job done.  I'm hoping I can take some more classes with Kathy.  Her spring classes start on March 11.