The challenge I set for myself to correct the ‘lost focal point’ wasn’t easy, but it sure got my attention! Saying I’d fix a weak watercolor and have it done in a week bothered me all week. I could see I had lost the focal point, but it took analyzing to figure how to get it back. I have loved Sargent’s watercolors and the answer was right there: he often used darks to pull out a weak focal point. Keep in mind, if you have a favorite artist, many of your problem pieces will be solved by studying that artist’s work.
The pressure of saying publicly I’m going to do something in a week put that in my mind very, very frequently (as in, what happens if I can’t do it?) So I’m going to try the same motivator again, and let’s hope it works. We live in Tucson, Arizona with mountains on three sides. I don’t do mountains well. So this week I’m going to start my day, every day, with another sketch of the Catalina Mountains outside our front windows. They are gorgeous at first light and dull in the middle of the day. I get bored very easily. Is it possible to stay motivated and improve in one week? Monet did the hay stacks over and over, but he chose different times of day and different lighting. Kevin Macpherson, the keynote speaker for the Plein Air Convention and Expo this April in Santa Fe, New Mexico painted his pond daily for a year as a daily warm-up. Those little paintings are marvelous! With my temperament, is it possible to do those same mountains over and over again and get better? I think the motivator is not watercolor, but announcing the project publicly. If you aren’t getting better, you might try this. I do suggest you keep a timer on the project each day so you don’t bog down.
In the last two weeks of January I had both a ‘refresher’ workshop (advanced Pocket Sketching), and a beginning workshop. The quality of the work was wonderful. Gail asked me if I’m getting tired of teaching. I can say “Yes, but I keep inspired by helping you find watercolor is easy to learn, fun and rewarding.” This technique is so easy to learn, I do hope more people will take advantage of my Instructor’s Course (Feb. 27 through March 3), so they can teach it in their town on a weekly basis. (Driving around the country to teach workshops is not the most efficient way to enjoy teaching: it’s a lot of work! I’ve been able to introduce Pocket Sketching to thousands of people, but have always had in mind some will teach many more. My time to pass the baton is coming.)
Meanwhile, watch for workshops in your area on www.pocketsketching.com/schedule.
Here are a few coming soon:
Beginners: Feb. 9, 10, 11 at my house with Day Three at Tucson Botanical Gardens.
Refresher: one day, Feb. 16 at my house*
Beginners: Tohono Chul Park, Feb. 22 – 24 with Day Three in the Park
Instructors: Feb 27 – March 3, at my house
Watch for Tubac in March and Santa Fe in April, both with fabulous streets, shops, ambience for your delight!
*This is set up for May Delle who sketches and paints and at 97 years young and still taking classes! Everyone’s welcome. The attached sketch is hers. She’s amazing!!!!
Happy watercolor and urban sketching!!!!