Transforming the Ordinary into the Extraordinary with Watercolour

Recently I had the good fortune of meeting with Andy Evansen, the internationally recognised master watercolour artist and teacher based in Minnesota, USA. Speaking with Andy was an absolute pleasure as he was so down to earth and easy to talk with. After chatting for a little while, Andy shared that he had recently, been “painting up a storm” in his home studio, with his other Studio located in Hastings Street, where he both teaches watercolour painting and has around 30 of his paintings hung at any one time. I was thrilled and impressed with Andy’s sponaneous offer to give me a virtual tour of his well designed basement studio. A good size studio, bursting with an array of his recent watercolour paintings waiting to be framed and or shipped to a happy new home. I loved the studio space, particularly Andy’s designated areas for his watercolour paintings; his skeleton and medical drawings; a special table and lighting for photographing his paintings as well as another area for preparing his matt boards and self- framing. To top it all off, it appeared from my Zooming in from Australia, that Andy also has a decent sized studio kitchen where he can get a coffee.

In this our first ever introductory meeting, we also spoke about Andy’s recent trip to Catalina Island, which is about a one hour high-speed ferry  trip from Long Beach, California. Andy got to visit the Island before the Covid pandemic lockdown and managed to do what he loves most, to paint ‘plein air‘ for the upcoming annual exhibition being hosted at the Catalina Island Conservatory is the Sixth Annual Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show at Newport Harbor Yacht Club, featuring the works of 10 nationally recognized plein air artists who have interpreted Catalina Island’s wildlands, Avalon and Two Harbours. Sharing some of his recent paintings from his trip, I couldn’t help but be blown away, with Andy’s impression of the boats, water and beautiful sunlight mountains, a painting entitled ‘Early Departure from Avalon‘.

This particular painting in my humble view, is a must see for any aspiring watercolour artist interested in capturing the light and colour in a landscape watercolour painting. This led me, naturally to ask Andy, how he decides what and where he will paint and what inspired him to pick the spot to paint this fantastic picture.

I came away feeling inspired and super excited as Andy agreed that I could accompany him virtually on his next ‘plein air’ trip, with more exciting ‘behind the scenes‘ insights into painting with the marvelous medium of watercolour.

If you are interested in acquiring an original watercolour masterpiece or learning more about Andy and his paintings, I highly recommend checking out my short You Tube video. If you like the video I’d love you to Subscribe and click the Notification Bell symbol as well. That way you won’t miss out on updates about the upcoming AWS FREE ‘plein air‘ event with Andy.

Having fun exploring figures with watercolour

Recently I had a great conversation with Chan Dissanayake, Australian Master Watercolourist who presented a fun and very powerful way of painting people with watercolour. Chan shared a few very importance tips when it comes to picking brushes for figure painting. What I found when painting figures with watercolour is that it is so much fun, it is kinda hard to stop.

Come and join in the jouney with me on the AWS You Tube Channel, where I share some great insights and tips from great artists, like Chan and his intimate knowledge of all things watercolour. When you Subscribe on the AWS You Tube Channel and you will never miss the exciting news and updates coming up.

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.

Getting Virtual

“A little action often spurs a lot of momentum.” Noah Scalin

There are so many exciting things I love to learn about in art, the journey of artists and art history. I particularly enjoy learning about other artists such as past Australian artists Hans Heysen, William Rankin, Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Albert Namitijira, as well as European artists such as Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, Joseph Wright, Pablo Picasso and Pierre Bonnard, their history and just how they tackled their subjects and mediums in their painting. I also love the work of British artists Ed Seago, Edward Wesson, Sir Kenneth Clark and Trevor Chamberlain.

My philosophy is that if you are not sharing through connecting with your art, then you could be missing out. In other words, together we can do more! I also know that behind every artwork and artist there is a story worth sharing, that is why I’m proud to be soon ‘live streaming’ a series of online interviews with artists, showcasing their work in their upcoming Exhibitions. Also I am proud to be co-hosting a number of workshops with Australian master watercolourist Chan Dissanayake and hosting a number of virtual AWS community events and online ‘Plein-Air ‘ Paint Alongs. Student of art and experienced artists alike, connecting and learning together. I’m excited and can’t wait to share this journey with you over the coming months. So stay tuned…..and please feel free to share.