Watercolor paints are an intriguing artistic medium that many of us wonder about and admire, but never have the opportunity to explore. I am new to the world of painting and recently signed up for the Watercolor Skies class taught by Karen Brungardt just to see what it was like.
In Watercolor Skies, students learn a variety of techniques. The first of these is a basic technique—creating a wash of color on a wet piece of watercolor paper starting with dark pigmentation at the top and gradually applying lighter and lighter layers of paint as one approaches the bottom. As I and the others discovered, this is actually rather difficult to do. We tried it several times and with each effort, it became more natural to control the flow of pigment through the water on the page.
We then learned a to creating the impression of clouds in a wash background using Kleenex. As you can see from this example, this technique takes practice and it is easy to get carried away. Sometimes less is more. It was important to start with a dark wash at the top.
After trying the wet paper approach, Karen showed us how to outline the shape of a cloud on a dry piece of watercolor paper with a small round brush and water. We then applied paint to the paper leading up to that line. The objective is to allow controlled bleeding of paint into the wet outline to create the image of a cloud. We then added streaks of yellow and then blue, judiciously preserving areas of white.
In our final exercise in this class, we created a wash with yellow watercolor paint. After that, we turned the paper upside down so the dark part was at the bottom, then painted in clouds using permanent rose and dark blue inks. At the bottom, we painted a mountain range after mixing paints to create a deep dark purple color.
This three-hour class was small and focused, and thus we all had individual attention. Some students had more experience than others, and yet we all felt very comfortable being there and enjoyed the experience. To use the words of another student in the class, “Karen’s class was a lot of fun and she taught us techniques I am sure we all found useful for our future projects. I intend to spend time practicing what I learned. She personally interacted with each student every step of the way and followed up with sending us the instructions she presented, as well. Karen is very thorough and knowledgeable. Any class she teaches would be worth your time.”
Note: A list of current Fine Arts Guild classes is available at www.Saddlebrookefinearts.org and includes additional classes taught by Karen and other fine teachers.