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Teaching a watercolor class at the Beekley Library in New Hartford this summer has been terrific. Delighted at the level of talent in the class, I aimed to give thoughtful and specific feedback on painting well. We began with the oft-terrifying "busting the clean white surface of the paper," and continued all the way to the end game.
Every painting is an epic adventure in its own right, usually rife with traps, zaps and mid-life crises before elements come together. I recommended complete rejection of watercolor how-to "tricks." At the outset, the task is to explore, have fun and discover one's very own sensibility for painting – one's personal way with color and form. We began by copying segments of watercolors by the masters, all the while discussing value, edges, contrast, and many aspects of a painting that masters handle so well. (It is always safe to copy the masters.)
For me, it was fascinating to watch highly individuated styles emerge. I can humbly say that I had a blast.