Carol started the day with a demo of her style of painting which is very wet-in-wet. She stressed that using pure colors against pure colors are what gives her paintings that zing. She also said she uses a limited palette almost all the time, never using more than 6 pigments in one painting, tying the painting together by using a unifying color that she spreads throughout the painting.
She always starts from the background forward, so she began using just 2 colors (Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna), and painted in the background, blending them by letting them run together (on prewet paper that she keeps wet while working). During the demo...guess what she's painting...she talked about her process and how important it is to her to send a message with her paintings, not just paint a technically correct and pretty picture. Many of her paintings are autobiographical, relating to something happening in her life and she said her self-portraits are her favorite things to do.
Today was a "simple" still life she set up and drew on her paper lightly and then began, background to foreground. She said she doesn't care if it looks like what it is - you cannot paint what it is - you cannot replicate that reality. You are working with paint and water on paper and if you get gorgeous, wonderful washes and blossoms and texture, then you have a gorgeous, wonderful watercolor. So we had to get past the fact that we were painting in just 2 colors things that were not the body color we were using.
Just to show how you can break the rules of warmth coming forward and cools receding, Carol decided to paint the back fruit warm and the cool fruit cool - with the middle fruit being a mix of the 2 colors she used. She said that before you put brush to paper you should strategize your painting - where you do want your cools, where do you want your warms, where will the darks be? Think think think and then paint and let the paint have some freedom while you're painting.
I was standing to Carol's left while she painted this - so the bottom of the paper is on the viewer's right side with these photos.
You can click and enlarge them to show the juicy wet paint she uses and the gorgeous colors she gets with just 2 pure colors.
See the whites she left? She called this a "saved white dam" and it's a pure white area that helps shape the object you're painting and keeps the paints from running together (because she paints so wet). Later, she "knits" those whites away using more of the same color pigment or by using a surprise color in some area as she knits the whites away.
More to come later (I was up at 5:30 this morning thinking about painting and I dreamed I was painting!!! That must mean it's a great workshop :) and it is!!!)
I'll try to post more tonight after another full day and I'll share my paintings, too.
Our class working hard!