Saturday, April 24, 2010


Day one began with a long drive to Deb's, enjoying the countryside (passing the long wooden fences and the sheep with lambs all wet and wooly from the drizzly rain, seeing the bright yellow of the mustard growing in a patch of garden and then Deb's pond coming up on the left and her house). Got there just before it really began raining harder. Started with Deb talking about fluid acrylics and how they can be thinned and painted with just like watercolors. The only difference = once they are dry, they are set and you can't move them without using alcohol and you don't want to do that on good watercolor paper.

I started with 300# Arches and didn't know what I wanted to paint so took a lot of photos with me. Began by drawing this one the paper and starting, like Deb, with a pale wash of colors as an underlayer that will shine through.

I worked on mine after Deb did her painting, talking about how she was using the paints and why. She glazes a lot so starts very pale - which is why I was starting out so light (normally I go in too dark too soon and didn't want to do that).

Deb paints memories. She likes old things - her grandmother's quilts, old china and silver and has done many paintings of lace and fruit and quilts and old-fashioned roses. This was no exception as she was doing a painting of her grandmother's quilt with 3 roses on top. She's done this painting several times (yep, she works in a series), and was changing the color of the roses in this one a bit.

We had a good-sized class watching and listening and taking notes as Deb discussed her process and how to get the best out of the fluid acrylics, letting them blend on the paper, pre-wetting the paper, etc.

I waited until Deb had done her second stage before going into mine again (had to have a coffee break and a sweet, chat with some of the other students, and watch Mike move the cows to the next pasture - just over the pond, we had a front-row seat to how he does it and how docile those cows are, knowing where the grass is greener and going there). Deb's husband, Mike, said if he heard too much giggling he'd know it wasn't a class but just a party! I think it was a bit of both :)

Deb went in over the underlayer of pale colors and darkened and shaped a bit more of the quilt and flowers, putting lots of pinks and reds (Quinacridone Rose and Alizarin Crimson - both Da Vinci fluid acrylics) in the blossoms and the leaves and stems.

When she stopped, I began on my next layers. As you can see, I was dying to get darker - and did, trying to let the colors blend and working with a very limited palette of Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Gold, Hansa Yellow Light, Raw Sienna (all Da Vinci fluid acrylics). She reminded me to do the Nick Simmons technique on this to get more texture = wait until the shine is off the paper so you know the paint has begun to dry and then take a strong spray bottle and really spray across the color, lifting some of it back and created his "batik" look. I had waited too long for the right side because nothing lifted but I did get some lift on the upper left side.

This is from a photo taken by my Sweetie of an old lock in Scotland - I think it was on a castle door, but am not sure.

I continued to next stage after Deb did her next stage, and began putting in some of the darker shadow shapes on mine while Deb worked on her quilt stitches (a lot of little detail to do).

This is where Deb stopped for the day, around 4 pm. She had shown us how to shape the rose and leaves, how to do the underpainting so it shows through and how to do some shadowing. Several students had a completed painting - although small - when the day was done. Many were almost done. I, however, had a ton of drybrush (all that background is wood) to do as the background on the painting I did...and was not looking forward to it!
But I'll take it back with me tomorrow and Deb will help me do that without overworking it (I hope)...but I'll need a lot of coffee and sweet breaks! And, of course, we'll start another painting on watercolor board!

Deb's offering this 2-day workshop again May 1-2, so if you're in the area and are interested, check out her blog and give her a call or send her an email. You don't have to have ever put a brush in your hand - we have one student who has never painted before (not in watercolor, not in acrylics, not in anything), and she was doing very well as she copied the same painting Deb was working on.


Christiane Kingsley said...

Rhonda, this sounds like such a wonderful day! And the paintings are wonderful also. Your colors on the lock are so fresh and bright!
I got a gift card for my favorite Art Supplies store yesterday for my birthday: I think I will just have to go and get some fluid acrylics..although I believe that my local store carries only the Golden acrylic.

I hope that you wont' be too tired tomorrow night to post your Sunday's creations.

Have a lot of fun...and dont' forget the pictures:-)

RHCarpenter said...

Off for day two at the workshop, Christiane. It was a hellish drive back in pouring rain yesterday evening - hoping this evening will be better but it's supposed to be like this all evening. At least it's clear for now. The Golden supposedly works just as well as the Da Vinci (Sandy Maudlin uses them both). I ordered the Golden to add to what I have - they just didn't arrive in time so I'll have them to play with after the workshop.

Vicki Greene said...

Thank you for posting all of the pictures and info on the workshop. I know that you all had a great time and your lock is looking good!

Ann Buckner said...

Wonderful to read about your day in Deb's workshop. Your lock is looking gorgeous and it sounds like you had a good time and learned lots.

Barb Sailor said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful first day of your workshop - great atmosphere, company and painting. I love the way your painting is looking and am anxious to see the finished product.

RHCarpenter said...

Thanks so much, Vicki, Ann and Barb, for your comments :) I'll be posting more photos and comments about day two later!