Time To Play

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” Henri Matisse

On Tuesday the 5 May at 6.30pm, I joined as a co-host, the inaugural online workshop for Australian master watercolourist Chan Dissanayake. Joining his enthusiatic group of budding watercolour artists and on another evening the intermediate and advanced painting group we had immense fun. As both groups were eager and engaged, zooming in from their respective art studios from regional Australia to Ireland, the USA and NZ.

Chan as usual was very generous and patient. He used his gift of quickly making everyone feel at ease, encouraging lots of questions and discussion. I volunteered to help manage the Zoom technology, chatbox and housekeeping, while he concentrated on his painting and teaching. He also put a lot of thought into what painting models to use providing something new to explore each class. What’s more, he and I worked out a key feature of using his Zoom (not his students) to ‘spotlight’ and lock his screen on his painting, brushes and palette during the class.

What was the best thing? Apart from covering the key fundamentals of using watercolour and watching Chan’s demonstrate, we got time to play! Chan gently and skillfully led the group into commencing the first of many of painting exercises. He encouraged everyone to be bold and try new things. Whilst the class enjoyed watching Chan paint, from his tips on planning, to his spontaneous and free style of rapidly working carefully with the water on his brush and paper. Even more fun was having the dedicated time to play, experiment and learn by trial and error. This I know is the secret ingredient and essence of sustainable learning. So big thank you to Chan for reminding us of this and the importance of savouring the journey, not only the destination.

Head In The Clouds

“See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo.” Arthur Conan Doyle

On Sunday an international audience of students of watercolour painting gathered online to revel at the work of Australian Master watercolourist, Chan Dissanayake sharing a 1 hour FREE demonstration of painting clouds.

I was delighted to be invited to co-host the session, managing the Zoom side of things while Chan focused on his painting and sharing his insights into the process of creating a lasting impression of clouds. Chan explored how to search for and incorporate ‘lost and found’ edges, tones and perspective as well as composition and design always allowing for this extraordinary medium of watercolour to do its magical thing.

I was particularly enthralled at learning of and seeing, for the first time, the compelling work by Edward Brian (Ted) Seago (1910-1, 974), the self-taught English painter and his paintings . His paintings of clouds were magnificent and moving. o

Chan reminded us of the importance of artists using their senses to capture and translate impressions of nature, not copying purely what we see, but rather always considering what we feel, sense and desire to come through in our work. All in all a super practical and unique demonstration, with important lessons for how optimise the sponaneous medium of watercolour.