June 5-11, 2011
(Five Teaching Days)
Taking Control-Extending Watercolor Techniques
New to Dillman’s
Dillman's is one of only two workshop locations in the U.S. to study with John in 2011. A great workshop experience and over a $200 savings compared to the other U.S. location.
Watercolor is a wonderful, responsive medium. This workshop takes watercolor’s immediacy and excitement and introduces ink, pastel, charcoal, gesso, gouache and collage to produce a rich vibrant result suited to a great variety of subjects. We will learn techniques that allow us to work loosely and intuitively, responding to what is happening within the painting, rather than sticking rigidly to a predetermined plan. John will guide you through his approach to watercolor, and then encourage you to expand on that with a variety of exciting techniques that blend with, and extend, the traditional approach to watercolor painting. You will learn to work on the painting as a balanced whole rather than a collection of separate parts and relate different techniques to different subjects.
John will help you push past where you are comfortable and learn to react to your painting as it grows. You will learn to keep control and balance subtlety with accidental looseness. We will work hard and have a lot of fun - I like to try and complete two small paintings each day. At the end of the week you will go home with a pile of new paintings, some you will love, some you may wonder about, but the important thing you will take home is a collection of new ideas and enthusiasm that will fire you up and keep your brushes moving! This is a “bare bones” outline to be modified and adjusted according to the preferences of the class. I will suggest different subjects for each day, but you are welcome to work on subjects of your own choice using the relevant techniques and approaches.
Remember, I am here to pass on as much information as possible. If you have any questions at any time, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Technique exercises Demos and small practice painting. Today we will work in the classroom and go through a series of techniques that we will incorporate into our paintings over the next few days.
• Ink and Watercolor
• Rice paper collage
• Cheese cloth collage
• Watercolor over Gesso
• Masked lift off
• Pen and Masking fluid
Painting unity – seeing the painting as a whole and seamlessly blending different techniques
Demo and Class Painting. Today we are going to concentrate on paying careful attention to the painting as a whole, as it develops. We will pay particular attention to balance and placement as we build up the painting. Right from the very beginning we want to maintain a cohesive, balanced composition. Every new mark we add should enhance the composition.
To help us make these judgments it is important to have a clear, unobstructed view of our painting. Make sure you keep all your brushes, photos, sketches etc away from the painting. We should also keep our attention on the “big picture”, seeing things more in terms of abstract arrangements rather than subjective details. Don’t worry about small areas of the painting until the composition is finalized.
Focusing on minor details should be the final step after all the major structural marks are in place.
As you work on the painting pay attention to
• Establishing a focal point
• Variety and balance in the shapes you use
• Consider the negative shapes
• Interesting, balanced lines
• Color balance – either dominant warm or dominant cool
Relating painting methods to your subject.
Demo and Class Painting's
All the techniques we have been looking at could overload a painting if we are not careful.
Our aim is to enhance our work with a variety of subtle, interesting marks and surfaces that add to the story the painting tells. A painting of a busy dockyard full of shapes, colors, textures and activity calls for a completely different set of techniques to something like a soft, subtle landscape. This soft hazy painting of Paris in the rain was initially built up with an under wash of strong watercolor then worked over with layers of Gesso glaze tinted with watercolor. In this painting of a hidden corner along the back canals of Venice, I have used rice paper collage, gouache, Ink, gesso glazes and pastel marks to convey the crumbling confusion of the damp, musty buildings.
The importance of Risk – push past where you are comfortable and learn to react to your painting
Demo and Class Painting.
Today we will examine some other approaches we might take to our subject. When we see our subject just as a starting point, we are free to treat it in myriad of different ways. In the above painting of Venice, only essential clues were taken from the subject. These were distorted and rearranged then carefully placed within the framework of the painting. The aim was to convey the character of the subject rather than just produce a likeness. The viewer reconstructs all the missing information from the clues provided.
Options we can consider are:
• Placement of our subject
• Texture variations
• Color options
• What parts of the subject to include and what to leave out
• What sort of atmosphere we wish to convey
These options should be considered before we start as well as during the progress of our painting. We will make some initial decisions, start working on our painting, and then experiment bravely with what comes about. We will splash on big wet washes, scrub in gesso glazes, scribble, scrape and draw until the painting begins to take on a life of its own. All the while we will watch and make judgments on this progress, reacting to all these partially controlled accidents. An important point to remember is to retain an area of fresh, clean contrast at the center of interest.
Putting it all together – restraint and control vs. risk and accident
Demo and Class Painting and Critique
Armed with the knowledge we have gained over the last few days, we will focus on monitoring both the paintings progress and our reaction to what is evolving. Our aim is to strike a balance between fearless attack and controlled caution. We will make strong calligraphic marks with a big rough brush, and then balance these with areas of tight, accurate detail, all the while seeing the painting as a complete, unified whole. Remember these few points as we work on this painting:
• Look at your painting as a whole; don’t just focus on the area you are working on.
• Don’t obstruct your view of the painting with photos, brushes, sketches etc
• At all cost, preserve the crisp, contrasty focal point.
• Don’t be afraid to experiment, as long as you hang on to a focal area all else can be reworked
• Be prepared to sacrifice – even if you really like an area of the painting, if it doesn’t work within the composition, get rid of it!
• Provided we hang on to that area of crispness to give the painting life, we can’t go wrong.
John is known internationally for his work and is a highly respected and much sought after tutor. He was born in Cooma, NSW, Australia in 1953, and studied at the National Art School, Newcastle, Australia. He has been painting professionally since 1979. John works in oils, acrylics and watercolor, but his preferred medium is watercolor and mixed media. As John states: "For me, the unpredictability and uncontrollable nature of watercolor make it the most exciting and expressive medium of all. The opportunity to meander somewhere between mastery and complete lack of control during the course of a painting make it one of the most engaging mediums. This, plus the fact that it is quick, clean and portable, got me in thirty years ago and my enthusiasm has been growing ever since." John's paintings express an emotional depth that makes his work distinctive. While most of his work depicts to some extent, places or objects, the real subject is always less tangible -an idea or sound, a time of day or a momentary incident. This unique interpretation of his subject has a vitality that is enhanced by his use of light, color and strong sense of design.
John travels extensively throughout Australia and overseas and his love of the landscape, people and environment is reflected in his work. His travels have taken him to Italy, France, England, Ireland, Asia and the USA. These places have provided John with new inspiration for his work. The different light and atmosphere, plus the strong undertones of history, culture and architecture, have provided a catalyst for new, exciting images.
John's passion for his work, and his open easy approach to teaching, make his books, DVD's and workshops thoroughly enjoyable, extremely informative and always very popular. His articles are regularly featured in "International Artist" and "Australian Artist" magazines. Since commencing his career John has held over thirty solo exhibitions and taken part in many joint ones. John's work is represented in numerous collections in Australia, United
Kingdom, Europe, Asia and USA.
· Watercolor for the Fun of It - Getting Started. Publisher - Northlight Books.
· A Series of 10 minute Watercolor Instruction DVD's - in association with International Artist magazine.
· Splashing Paint - a 2 hour instructional DVD.
Studio: Something for all levels.
DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHOP SUPPLY LIST (PDF)
John offers a partial tuition scholarship.
Workshop Fee: $450 + tax
Room & One Dinner Fee: $366 + tax
Class Fees Explained
Check-In to your unit at Dillman’s (check-in time is 3:00)
5:00 Welcome Reception
Monday – Friday, 6/6-6/10
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Class in Session
4:00 Farewell Champagne Toast
Friday night’s accommodations are part of the room package for this workshop
Depart - check-out time is 10:00
Day students are welcome to attend the Welcome Reception and Farewell Reception (included in your package). You are also invited to join the class dinners (additional fee). PAL’s (Participants at large) can vacation at Dillman’s for $50 per night for accommodations. Costs for box lunches and dinners are additional.