Sat & Sun Sept ’15 Intensives. Playing with Colour in Sketching


All week the weather forecast looked ominous for the weekend but we were so so lucky and the rain held off for us.  The Intensives were run by Judy, Toni and Karen so lots of individual attention was given to all students.

Now with our Intensives, you may not take home lots of pretty pictures! But by golly you’ll learn a lot and have many pages of techniques to learn from in your sketchbook. Intense? Very!  Fun? Absolutely.

Many students often ask “how do I prepare my colours?” and “I’m not sure how much paint or how much water to use”, so this Intensive was all about understanding how paints work and in particular the intensity of colour that you can achieve with watercolours and watercolour pencils ranging from nearly transparent to very dark and rich.

We covered a huge amount of information:

  • How to prepare paints and did exercises showing how paints vary from translucent/transparent to very deep.
  • We looked at layering both in watercolour and watercolour pencil and discussed how to drop paint.
  • What happens with layering if the paint is dry and what happens if you drop a colour on top when it is still wet.
  • How to sweep our brush quickly without applying too much pressure
  • And most importantly I emphasised the importance of not fiddling with the paint!

We mixed big puddles of strong colour: one ultramarine and one rose for painting beetroots and red onions and then worked on layering our colours. It’s gorgeous to see the intensity of colours you can mix and how they work when you can see through one layer to the next.  Some great results were achieved with dynamic strokes of colour.

A lot of time was spent playing with colour to really try and understand how it works.  Great fun!  Half the time it doesn’t do what you want it to do – never mind, this is all about discovering.

Numerous cups of tea and coffee and banana bread kept everyone going as everyone needed to concentrate for long periods! Toni and Karen were invaluable helping everyone all day too.

Lucky us, not a raindrop in sight for the walk down to Manly for lunch.  We had big tables reserved and really enjoyed the food.

I demonstrated how to do sky and simple ocean and beach and showed how to do three types of sky:  simple clouds, a gradated wash and then wetting paper and dropping colour in.  It’s quite challenging to wet the paper and drop paint on and then try and control it.  Well you can’t of course. It’s the accidents however that make it so much fun. Yikes, that paint didn’t go where I wanted it to!  Oh no I added brown by mistake and now it looks muddy!  These are things that happen and that’s how you learn. Can be frustrating at times, but it’s so important to keep trying in order to reach an “ah ha” moment!

The Intensive provided a lot of information for students to be able to begin to understand colour and go home and experiment and discover the amazing and varied results that you can get with colour.

Overall a great weekend and I know many folk went home armed with some new knowledge and definitely in need of putting their feet up!


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