I went to a watercolour workshop yesterday, run by the incredibly talented Stephen Coates, on how to create dramatic skies. It was awesome and I found it incredibly challenging and learnt a lot.
But why did I pay to attend a watercolour workshop when I run my own workshops?
- I never studied art officially, and whilst I don't want to study a large programme of art determined by someone else at this point (I did a degree in Italian a long time ago and don't fancy going through that again!) I'm absolutely loving piecing together my own amazing programme of traditional watercolour and modern mixed media along with digital design elements. I feel like I'm creating my own degree entirely at my own pace and I love it.
- As someone who likes to smash through a new painting or project as soon as it lands in my head it was very good for me to slow down, do sketches, plan, prepare and practice the same skill repeatedly. It's something I never do and I want to do more of it if it's going to give me his dreamy skies. Needless to say I'm not there yet but I'll enjoy getting there!
- It is incredibly humbling - I don't think I have a big head AT ALL, the opposite really! I have to convince myself to share anything I create under the self-convincing mantra of 'if I don't share the imperfect then how will other people know it's ok to enjoy something no matter the outcome'? Even so, as someone who now teaches, it is very good for me to feel the uncertainty of learning and trying to do something someone else's way. He has painted these skies for decades and it shows, I am so aware that you just need hours and hours and hours of practice to get predictable results and in the meantime you just enjoy playing unpredictably. But it's a great reminder for me of being in the other seat and feeling the uncertainty of doing something in an unfamiliar way!
But more than anything I just love painting and I want some of his amazing skies in my skillset. I love skies and water and nature and I want to try all the different ways of getting the paper to look the way I want. That means learning from experienced painters and I'm so lucky to have Stephen practically on my doorstep!
You can watch Stephen's brilliant youtube videos here. A great place to learn some excellent skills for beginners and well beyond. #artistssupportingartists