Thursday, September 8, 2011


I finished the 8-week online drawing/watercolor course by Suzanne McDermott in August.  I joined Suzanne's online Drawing and Watercolor course although I am not a beginner to drawing or watercolor. Why? Because I was intrigued by Suzanne's talk of drawing and painting as meditation - as a way to get in touch with oneself and become more aware of one's surroundings. I took myself back to "beginner mind" (as zen teachers ask us to do). I expected nothing more than for this practice to become an experience of awareness. I found myself looking forward to homework, and definitely looked forward to the class critiques from Suzanne which I found totally honest and helpful.

Suzanne has a way of teaching that includes the essence of the artist, not just the technique of drawing or painting (although there are plenty of good videos and lessons, and critiques via conference call between Suzanne and the students). 

Maybe you’ll get an idea of what I mean about her style by reading her free newsletter. You can sign up for it at Suzanne's main site here:

I would recommend this online course to anyone just starting their journey, but also to those who've walked a few miles and need to sit down, take a refresher, and become more focused on their art. At either stage of your art journey, you won't be disappointed to walk a little while with Suzanne McDermott.  I think she has much to share and teach.

You can also get Suzanne's free drawing e-book and song download in the sidebar of her home or teaching site. 

Here's something I did for the class, following Suzanne's lesson on layering transparent colors.  If you want to try it, too, check out Suzanne's online course - 8 weeks of learning and expanding your knowledge base may be just what you've been looking for!


Anonymous said...

Ditto and Amen! A great learning experience on a number of levels - as described. Unlike Rhonda, I had NO experience with watercolor painting when I signed up for the course. Slowly learning and practicing techniques and - most importantly - thoroughly enjoying myself as I spread colored water around the page and then see what happens!!!

Caroline said...

Hi Rhonda, I have been taking Deborah Paris's online courses over the years and have found them excellent, hard work but very rewarding. I must say your pears are looking wonderful, you really are producing some beautiful soft yet colourful washes. As I struggle to get back into watercolour painting I can really appreciate how well you are doing. One of those pears looks like they are dancing!

AutumnLeaves said...

Wonderful review, Rhonda. I wish I could find time and energy to do this course myself. With school and only a couple of hours from when I get home to going to bed, there just isn't time for anything right now. I usually have to study at night, alas. I'm so hoping to just paint on Sunday and Monday. And I need to get back to the drawing course I'm doing on my own speed. So little time!! The pears are just gorgeous!

RH Carpenter said...

You're so right - practie, playing, and not being too attached to the outcome is the thing, Edwina! And I loved seeing your work in the class :)

Thanks so much, Caroline. Coming from someone whose work I so admire, that is such a compliment to me :)

Autumn, it sounds like you have plenty on your plate right now - please take some time for yourself and resting so you don't get burnt out :)

Ann Buckner said...

This is beautiful work, Rhonda. Some of the best pears I have seen and such wonderful look of light.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks so much, Ann :)

Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Stunning pears! Glad you enjoyed. I knew Suzanne would be a great teacher on many levels.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Pam :)