Tag Archives: watercolour workshop

My Autumn 2017

Our Tuesday plein air group returned to Terrebonne, Île des Moulins

Île des Moulins, Terrebonne, watercolour, 2016

It is August 22 and another day with the forecast of rain. However, early in the day around 9 am the sun is trying to shine so maybe the weather man or woman is wrong. Just as I begin my sketch, large drops of rain hit my paper and within minutes more and with this …. I settle for my watercolour sketch of 2016. There is a silver lining, the cafe across the street Impressions offering moules et frites with a side order of mayonnaise. Delicious and all in with beverage under 20$cdn.

Café Impressions, Île des Moulins, Terrebonne, QC

A three day workshop with Chinese American painter Lian Quan Zhen in Corbeil, Ontario ends the month. The desire to learn the Chinese brush strokes and Lian’s approach to watercolour takes me to this small town on the outskirts of North Bay. The first day is the use and technique of the Chinese brush, Chinese paint and ink on rice paper to render hollyhock flower. Later, we move on to painting birds in flight. The last two days are spent learning Lian’s watercolour techniques. To be brief, he favours certain primary triads, quality watercolour paper and masking liquid. Here is my finished product.

Piebald and Bay Horses, watercolour on Arches paper, 14 x 21 inches, 2017

In September, our Swedish cousins arrived for a visit and introduce me to the founder of the Swedish Contemporary Art Movement, the painter Ivan Aguéli (1869-1917). A close friend of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin makes him a “must know”. For myself, this art of the landscape is simple, direct with the colours put down with conviction of truth. What else is needed to succeed!

Ivan Aguéli, Landskap, canvas mounted on cardboard, 23x 32 cm

Ivan Aguéli, Lanskap Med Gult Fält, canvas, 20.5 x 23 cm

Durtal, France

 

This month I travelled to Durtal, France to follow a watercolour course with Marc Folly. The village is located in the Loire Valley about 230 km south west of Paris. One thousand chateaux are located throughout this valley and Durtal has the monumental Château Royal de Durtal. It began life as a fortress situated high on a rocky cliff overlooking the valley. When the feudal wars were over the fortress became one of the palaces for Louis XIII and Catherine de Medici. In 2007 the castle was bought by politician Alain Huguenot and continues as a bed and breakfast under the name Château Royal de Durtal.

The 5 day watercolour workshop “Harmonie et Contraste” was under the guidance and instruction of French artist Marc Folly. His mantra is “draw, value and colour” which we see in all his paintings. His softback catalogue of watercolours is titled” Marc Folly, oeuvres sur papier/works on paper ” available at the artist’s website.

We had our marching orders each day and sometimes I was lost. Especially some of the french words “fiel de boeuf” which translated to oxgall a preservation and dispersing agent in watercolours. Marc’s favourite word was “up” but in reality he was pulling the brush downwards, sideways or zig- zagging. I finally resolved it as an endearing expression he used to create magic. Many french speaking friends pointed out to me the expression “allez hop” which in all probably was what he said. He frequently stressed the importance of “la goutte” which I translated as “the puddle ” – a mixture of pigments and water allowed to pool on the paper when you need time to contemplate the next action. For myself, this puddle allowed “the hand with the help of the eye” to determine when the edge would be soft or hard and the value of the colour.

Below are my results on the fourth and fifth day. I was almost there with “Sink Side ” on the fourth day until I got heavy handed with my colours around the sink and a bit beyond. Marc placed clear water on the offending area then took a cotton rag and with one swipe removed a lot of the dirty paint, let it dry and place a few corrected touches of paint.

Old but Functional, watercolour on Hahnemühle paper, 2016

Old but Frunctional, watercolour, Hahnemūhle paper, 2016

The fifth day, I was able to complete the assignment. Marc suggested I enlarge the orange area and it did make the colour dynamics work better in the picture plane.

Hot work, watercolour completed on Guarro paper, 2016

We all worked to succeed with each artist bringing their experience and skill sets. For myself, I pushed my mind to accept a new approach to my watercolours. In the past it was a sketch, a way to observe my surroundings; to be quick and intuitive. Now, my goal is to be conscious of the process, be patient, demand more of my tools but still retain my individuality.

In the Studio, Durtal, France