Jdagradi bridge study 1

Painting the Plein Air Watercolor

City Park, New Orleans

Painting the Plein Air Watercolor is a 5-week workshop that will meet on Thursdays from 1-4 at the gorgeous City Park, in New Orleans. No previous experience is required, but a love of watercolors is a must! Drawing, composing, and painting en Plein Air will be our major focus. There is no equivalent to the freshness and excitement that can happen, while painting outdoors. Tuition is $300, The class size is limited to 10 students to ensure that everyone gets maximum attention.

Getting Started with Watercolors

DaGradi Watercolor Workshops are designed to begin at the beginning with watercolor, to give students the important information in a sequential way [that I wish I had been told!] that will save them time, money and frustration, as we explore one of the most beautiful of painting mediums.

The first workshop, Getting Started, is one in a series to be offered, each building on previous material. Future workshops will focus in-depth on one aspect of painting in watercolors: Color, Painting the Watercolor Portrait, Plein Air Painting on location, Still Life, and Drawing Basics.

The initial segment of these courses, Getting Started or Watercolor 101 will cover, in general:

  1. Watercolor supplies and techniques -Guide students as to how to lay a wash and the different types of washes. -Discuss watercolor pigments, brands and how to avoid buying the same pigment labelled with different names. -introduce the different types of brushes and why you might want to use each for a specific purpose. -introduce the different types and weights of watercolor paper and why student grade may not be satisfactory for most work, beyond playing with stroke repetition. -Explore the pigment to water ratio on the brush, and the reason behind having more or less of either, at any given moment. -Experiment creating soft and hard edges and how we might use them in a painting.

  2. Planning, Composition, and, ahem, Drawing -How to apply watercolor, with the painting preplanned, in stages. -How to set up a value sketch- and the different values inherent in any landscape. -The importance of using a design value sketch before starting the ‘finished’ watercolor. -We’ll play with creating value designs from a photo as well as from memory. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and a great way to jumpstart a painting!   We’ll look at examples, discuss composition and look at the benefits of setting up a daily drawing practice, 10 minutes a day.

  3. Practice and Timing -We’re going to work with one of the most important elements in painting a watercolor- timing. It’s really very much of a dance and a lifelong pursuit. After we cover these basics, I’d like everyone to follow through with 2-3 paintings, which I’ll demo in steps, as you follow along and do the same on your paper. .

  4. Color - We’ll cover working with a limited palette- 2-3 colors [which we will vary] for the first few paintings, to get a feel for how much can be accomplished with few pigments. We’ll work with mixing transparent colors as well as including some semitransparent and opaque watercolors.

  5. Looking at the work of past Watercolor Masters - This will be brief, but we’ll look at a few examples of different Watercolor Master Artists work each week, and see what we can unravel from their work.

  6. Most of our time together will be spent practicing. You can bring photos that you want to work from, or use those that will be available. The same basics apply to any painting that you might want to do. One of the keys to having a successful outcome, is a well planned value sketch and knowing when to apply pigment [how much?] with the right amount of water on your brush!. It’s a lot like riding a bike. It takes most people a few tries to get something that they’re happy with, but if you follow a good approach, it eliminates a lot of waste and frustration. Patience with any kind of new learning is important, so don’t expect to create masterpieces at a workshop. I’m always learning and am here for you to ask questions!

  7. At the end of each class, I’ll assign some homework watercolor sketches or drawing bits. We will have a community FaceBook page, solely for our group, where you can post your homework for others to see if you want to- or ask a question, before the following week’s class. It's strictly optional. A bare-boned materials list will be provided, with recommendations for specific brands and size of brushes and paper.