Sunday, July 5, 2015

Watercolour workshop with Shari Blaukopf, Part 1

images from Shari's website

I have just returned from a three-day workshop with Shari Blaukopf, a talented watercolour artist and a generous and seasoned teacher.

Shari teaches full-time at Vanier College in Montreal, and is a member of the Lakeshore Artists. She is also a leader of Montreal's Urban Sketching group, USK:MTL.

Shari teaches all over the world when her schedule allows and I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend this workshop, only an hour from home, in Montebello, Quebec. Others in the group of 18 had come from Texas, Alberta, Virginia and Connecticut. With over 4000 following her blog, Shari has a wide fan base.

Most of the workshop participants stayed at the Chateau Montebello, where we met each morning before setting off to our sketching site. On Day One we found ourselves in a pasture with rolling hills and rustic buildings. Our approach to the site was on roads blasted through granite, leaving interesting faceted masses of rock face with its subtle colouration.

Because of rain on Day Two, we stayed close to the hotel, using the tents on the restaurant terrace for shelter, and on Day Three we set up in the town itself, looking for interesting street scenes.

Each day began with a two-hour demo, complete with detailed explanations, and ended with a group critique of our own sketches. We got to know each other over dinner every evening.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to explore watercolour. I hope to take the next few days to do more sketching. Mostly, I want to learn to work more loosely, to play with the paint and explore how pigment and water can produce magic on paper.

Watercolour may not replace fibre as a medium for me, but being portable, it could add an interesting element to travel.

Shari has published a small book of her Montreal sketches, and has designed an on-line class that can be downloaded from Craftsy. Along with Marc Taro Holmes and Jane Hannah, she is showing her paintings and sketchbooks at Stewart Hall in Pointe Claire until August 30.

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