Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Our second day we got off to a slow start for some reason - maybe there was a feeling that we knew what we were doing this day, or maybe we just knew each other better and there was more chatting! ha ha  But even though we didn't jump in all bright eyed and bushy tailed, we still came up with some GORGEOUS Datura flower paintings by the end of Day Two.  What a bunch of beauties!

We each chose to have our background in the Cobalt Turquoise Light like Carol demoed, or another color to try.  Aren't they something??

Again, Carol demos a bit as we watch and listen.  A lot of us (especially the the second day) stood around her table watching to see those washes and pigments flow.  Then she stops at a good point, we return to our tables, and try to do what she's just done.  When we reach a good stopping point, we get back up and watch Carol demo more.  

(Always working on wet paper, sometimes really wet wet wet paper.  Letting the colors flow into the water and blossom and flow into each other.)

The first thing was the background - a graded wash.  Carol used Cobalt Turquoise Light (a Winsor Newton pigment).  You can find her pigment list on her Facebook page.

Again, as the pigment is drying on the paper, she weights down her paper edges - something I am going to do, too, in the future, and see what a difference it makes for me.  

Once the wash was done (of course, you had to mask off the flower completely before you painted anything so you had free rein to do a big wet wash without worrying about cutting around the flower parts), she started the flower, painting from background to foreground.  So the flower parts and foliage farthest back in the painting were painted first.  She kept working each section wet-in-wet, and let that dry before going on to the next section, moving towards the front.  If she gets hard edges where she doesn't want them, due to painting in sections, she just takes a damp brush and softens the edges.  

She used Aureolin Yellow and Burnt Sienna for the flowers; Aureolin Yellow and Prussian Blue with some Cobalt Teal Blue (I think) for the foliage and stems.  That's all!!

Although I still have to do the tiny parts that were masked out to finish my datura, I was really pleased with it.  I felt like, for the first time, I GOT it - I knew what I was trying to do and why - and how to get it to look the way I wanted.  I used very different colors from Carols' version, but the colors are a personal choice for me and a way to make my painting more mine (even though it's still a workshop painting and you CANNOT put a workshop painting in a show, calling it your own - especially since Carol gave us the templates and color photos of the paintings we did.)

I have some photos of daturas taken during a trip to New Orleans and will print those out and try this again, using different color combos.  I am really happy with those greens!!!

By the end of Day 2 we were all letting the water and pigment do it's thing (which is what makes watercolor so gorgeous) and checking our values by using Carol's red acrylic "screen" which we look through to take away the colors and show the values.  It is surprising how much color tricks our eyes into believing we have the right values when we don't, especially our darks.  

I got a bad piece of Arches paper, which is why there are blotches on the background violet wash, but since it was just a learning painting, that's okay.  I still learned a lot on this one.  This is cut from a full sheet of Arches 140# cold press paper.  I don't know why it was blotchy like that in the background wash - guess the sizing was bad.

Tomorrow, I'll share the painting from Day 3.  

Three Days of intense painting and I was exhausted, but happy!  I would do it all over again next month! ha ha  Check out Carol's Facebook page for photos from the workshop and her trip here, plus information about her upcoming workshops in Acadia, Maine and Door County, Wisconsin this summer.


Katherine Thomas said...

Wow! That IS really gorgeous! You have a knack for choosing the best workshops! I'm always impressed and envious of the things you do!

Maggie Latham said...

Great post, and so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for sharing. It sounds like a fun workshop. Paper: Maybe you have mildew in the paper, (which only shows up when you begin to paint) or the marks around the edges could be fingerprints from handling it while moving the wash around while it was still damp.... or even tiny splodges of water drips. You may have had some water on your painting table underneath the paper, which will create marks like these. Stuff like this happens to me all the time, which is why I always mask off a boarder with tape….. to handle the paper more easily...although the tape can cause back it's apples and oranges. Really. Love this, Rhonda, you must be please learning these techniques….

Diana said...

WOW Rhonda, thank you for the info. THat was an incredible workshop from the sound of it and I've tried out some of her ideas. Thank you. Wish I could have been there. Love,Diana


sounds like you worked hard and enjoyed the three days rhonda... beautiful result here ... it's a shame re paper ...thanks for taking the time to write these post and give us an insight to carol's workshop ...i love her "italian series"'s lovely you meet up with laura

Cathy Gatland said...

How fantastic - thanks for these posts on Carol's workshop Rhonda - so wish I could join one but this is the next best thing - fabulous results! It will be interesting to see how it influences your work in future. Going to check out her facebook page...

Jane said...

Rhonda, yours was the one I picked out from the group photo as my favorite before I knew it was yours. Great job, blotches notwithstanding.

MILLY said...

This looks really gorgeous, the colours are so eye catching. I can imagine you feel like a child, so excited with this and enjoying every minute.
Thank you for visiting and it was lovely to find your comment. Enjoy painting, I am sure some more wonderful work is going to appear after this course.

RH Carpenter said...

Katherine, I am at a stage where I won't take a workshop just to take one - the instructor has to be one I admire and want to try to follow and see if I can do something like they do. Hence, Carol :) I would study with her full-time, if I was closer to her studio.
Thanks, Maggie, about the paper issue suggestions!
So glad you all are enjoying the write ups about the workshop, Katherine, Maggie, Diana, Jane, Cathy and Milly.
Jane, good to hear from you!!! Congratulations on getting your painting in the PA Watercolor Juried Show (saw it when Deb Ward led me there to see her painting). said...

Loved reading your descriptions of the workshop. Each day gets more exciting!

How do you apply the masking fluid to the small areas? Do you use a brush or something else?

RH Carpenter said...

Carol, you apply the masking fluid with a brush, as always (just remember to prewet the brush and rub it in some soap - dishwashing liquid, handsoap, baby shampoo, etc. all work - prior to putting it in the masking fluid and don't use a good brush but a more ratty old one.