Monday, June 3, 2013


Some weeks ago I spent some days in Venice. A little bit of vacation and then a 4,5 day watercolor class with a different teacher this time. Her way of teaching is quite different fom the way Albert Hoffmann teaches, but I really learned a lot.

While I realised that I had improved over the last years, I was not confident that I could paint on my own and not just copy the examples Albert painted in class or on our travels. I did not even try.

Ilona approached the whole class quite differently. We spent every morning of the first 4 days at the same place at Arsenale. We were asked to choose a motive, which we felt comfortable working with every day.
While the view along the riva towards the doges palace was fascinating, I felt that I would loose myself in the details and decided to choose a "simpler" motive of canal, bridge and buildings. We started out with a rather detailed and exact sketch which we colored with diluted indian ink, paying attention to light and shadow. What a disapointment:
On the second day we had to do the same sketch again and this time use one color - blue - and add the complimentary color - orange to mix brown and add the shadows this way. Well, it does pay off to look at something longer....
On the third day we were asked to do only a quick sketch and use color. While I started out much like on the first two days with coloring areas, I was suddenly no longer satisfied with coloring in - hey, I'm here to paint! The easle was put aside and I let my brush, the water and pigment do their thing. What a relief!
The last full day was again spent at Arsenale, this morning we were asked to paint our chosen motive again, and give the scene a definite focus point. No drawing, just painting - I love the result!
What did I learn from these 4 days - I can paint on my own, approaching a motive like this REALLY makes one look, and learn a lot about light, shadows, perspective and color. We even ended up doing one last sketch of our motive with closed eyes and I just nailed it!
This article I just read, might explain some of it too: Cure for the distracted mind.

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