Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Fun with Beginning Watercolor at KAC

Busy students working under the skylight at Kirkland Arts Center this weekend
On Saturday and Sunday, February 25 & 26, I taught another Introduction to Watercolor Workshop. It's a fun opportunity for adults with little or no watercolor experience to find out what it's all about. I do one of these workshops for beginners each fall, winter and spring. The basics are always there, but each season brings new subjects and new techniques to try. Join us for the next one April 29 & 30, 2017. More info here.
Over the two day course, we covered lots of techniques on how to control your brushes, water, pigment, etc. We practiced saving white space, using negative space, and basic color with a dual primary palette. As each project was finished we pinned the results up on the wall and made way for the next exercise.
Students got to take the art they made home with them along with a folder full of handouts for more practice at home.

Update 2/27/17: On Monday after the workshop, we woke up to a beautiful snowy morning! I was very glad to enjoy it from the comfort of my warm studio rather than worry about driving in it!

Monday, February 27, 2017

A page out of my USK Manchester symposium sketchbook.
Above shows how I used lettering in an expressive headline as an element of the design of the page. Materials used: watercolor, watercolor pencils, black Sharpie Stylo permanent waterproof pen, pencil. I had made these sketches on 32 lb. laser jet paper clipped to a clipboard. Then I cut and folded to fit my Pentalic Aqua Journal, attaching it at one end with permanent glue tape.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Group Reportage from Manchester Symposium, Inside and Out

Since I won't be able to be there for our group reportage Seattle 10x10 USK workshop, June 17, I've decided to organize my sketches and post some thoughts from my experience at Marc Taro Holmes' symposium workshop last July. Finally!
Perhaps this will give those of you considering the Seattle version an idea of how it works. (We do have a few modifications to the procedure, timing, etc. for Seattle, so read the program for details.)
Knowing how much information Marc Holmes imparts in any one workshop, I had a clipboard and stack of laser jet paper as well as my usual sketchbook, pens, clips and other supplies. I'm glad I brought an adhesive tape runner so I could attach one of the card prompts he gave us.
We walked over to a plaza across the street from the museum where Marc gave us an overview of the workshop with examples and a demonstration.Then we went out to tackle our first assignment.
We no sooner began our 1 minute, 5 minute and 15 minute sketch drills than it started raining in earnest. We dashed in and out of the small lobby nearby between sketches. We shouldn't have complained. Take a look at the poor "Holme-less" students in another location that morning with Liz Steel!
The unrelenting rain forced us into the museum, where we met in a top floor room. Marc dealt out two decks of his cards, face down on the table and we all picked one for the first assignment. Then it was down the wooden staircase, card in hand, in search of a subject to sketch.
I found a display case with incredibly detailed hand sewn dolls by Jane Livesy, inspired by "things with antennae". Her pencil sketches, hand stitching and carefully selected fabrics showed a meticulous depth of research into her subject. She inspired me to find things with antennae for the first part of my reportage assignment. The assignment was based on this clipped on card from Holmes' set.
         Butterflies have antennae! So it's down a flight of stairs to capture them. I admit I found it challenging to apply the concept of the prompt and opted for basic overhead views. While running up and down the Victorian staircases, time ran out before I could even get started on the bees.
Today, I've cut down the laser jet paper to fit my Pentalic Aqua Journal and attached it and other ephemera using a permanent adhesive tape runner.
Sharing final results after round 2
It was raining so hard that I made my second sketch looking out a ground floor window at a huge monolith in a rear courtyard. Included in the photo is my prompt from Marc's set of cards, clipped to the board. Here, we are just beginning to share all our results from the group reportage. (Crummy exposure on this photo, though)
My Bee Collection Sketch
I found that many of the students needed first round and sharing after to get a grasp of how this group reportage works. I liked the fact that when we shared our sketches, we would see an entire composite of the site, not 15 views of the front of the building, or some other scene that most of us might choose to sketch on our own. The final share in Manchester was awesome! Thanks so much, Marc, for the education and  inspiration. Bravo for keeping everything going despite the weather!

Because bees are such a symbolic icon for Manchester, I really wanted to sketch them while visiting the city. I had to wait for another opportunity and the next day I finally found a small collection of bees in a drawer in the museum's children's activities room.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rainy Days and Memories

Thursday was Groundhog Day. For most people in the USA, it's a 131-year-old tradition, when the most famous groundhog -- Punxsutawney Phil -- emerged from his burrow at Gobblers Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Thursday and saw his shadow, which, according to legend, means six more weeks of winter. 

Yesterday, February 3, was my parents' wedding anniversary. Now that they are gone, the date always brings up bittersweet memories.

So it's appropriate for me that today is my day to participate in a monthly online sketch project called #momentcatchers. I've been housebound with the seasonal cough, cold, fever lately. (Strike three!) I'm in the studio, puttering around and as I look out at the cold, grey, rainy afternoon, a touch of green in a dormant flower pot catches my eye........and our little hedgehog boot brush by the back door. Voila! I can catch this moment in my humble little sketch to express all the memories, a bit of ennui, and a hopeful sigh of optimism that Punxsutawney Phil's prediction might be off this year. Ahhhhh! Art is therapeutic. 

I stood inside the warm, cozy studio to sketch my take on the view by the back door, the weather, the season and my impatience with this irksome seasonal cold. Spring can't come too soon!

Friday, February 3, 2017

UPDATE! Classes added to Seattle USk 10x10 Workshops

The response has been phenomenal to our upcoming USk Seattle 10x10 Workshops! Thank you so much, sketchers!

All of our classes are full and registration requests keep coming. In response to that, we have added classes so that those on the extensive wait list will not miss out.

My original workshop runs from 9:00am-12:00 noon on May 20.
There is now an additional class the same day from 2:00-5:00pm at the same location.

I know that May seems a long way off, but the list for the second class is already starting to fill up. So please register as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Materials list will be sent once your registration is confirmed.
Class 8 - Visual Journaling: Sketching a Montage - Michele Cooper
May 20, 2017
Location: Starbucks Roastery at Melrose and Pike
Two sessions:
A. 9:00am-12:00 noon
B. 2:00pm-5:00

Registration and more information on all the workshops