Working on Paper

We knew we were in for a treat when we walked in and saw three of Julie’s unfinished works of flowers in watercolour. They looked complex and beautifully impressionistic. How could we attain to doing anything like that!!

Saturday we did a painting on paper, white iceberg roses against a mixed wash. We worked from a mix of photos, carefully dividing our paper into thirds in order to fix our composition well. Julie drew the roses prior to applying the first beautiful mixed washes for the background on wet paper. She reminded us of a number of principles, as she went along. Learning to observe and photograph flowers from many different angles and composing a picture from a few photos was very helpful.

Our second background layer was the same coloured paint only thicker and applied wet on dry, cutting in sharply around the white roses. Then we did some lovely shading of the roses drawing in some of the background colour over the roses as shadows, with a synthetic brush. This was done before the background paint had dried. The crisp white roses, retaining some of the white paper, were vivid against the background.

After we added the rose centres, scratched back the stems and lines with half a used up credit card, and added in “the jewellery” or finishing fine touches of leaves and buds, we each had an impressionistic painting of iceberg roses. All masterpieces of course!!

Julie was a great teacher, demonstrating very clearly, giving lots of individual, encouragement and coaching. For lovers of watercolour painting and flowers it was freeing, fun and we learnt so much.

– Truda Keane

Working on Watercolour Canvas

After the conclusion of the workshop on Saturday the Coach House was quickly transformed and made ready for Julie’s demonstration that evening.

We started with wine and nibbles on the deck at 6.30 which was a pleasant introduction to Julie’s wonderful demonstration of watercolour on canvas.

Julie explained that the special gesso applied to a watercolour canvas contains a resist to enable you to wipe out easily and the surface is the purest white.

Julie always chooses dramatic photos to work from and, after marking off her canvas into thirds by making a small mark at each edge, she draws her composition with a fine, pointy brush and grey paint. She stressed not to use pencil. If you make a mistake, spray with a FINE mist and pat off with a tissue. Julie prefers to use Daniel Smith paint which is very vibrant and she always leaves the edges of her canvas white.

Her brush moved quickly over the canvas and the wonderful roses began to emerge. Julie kept spraying lightly to keep the colours flowing. She used half a credit card to pull out lights. Her completed works are varnished with two or three coats of acrylic varnish.

On the Sunday, most people chose to do poppies and two did magnolias. We found the size of the canvas a little daunting but soon gained in confidence with Julie being so helpful and encouraging.

She told us to always have blooms at the edge of our page facing in not out. Our composition was created using the flowers from several photos. We kept applying the mist to blur the background. The canvas gives you more ‘open’ time, doesn’t form ’cauliflowers’ and granulates beautifully.

What a great weekend. We all went home keen to complete our work and inspired by Julie.

– Doreen Teasdale