Several years ago, I met a local floral designer, Josi Stone, of Wildly Floral Co. Her approach to floral design is one that embraces local flower growers and sustainable practices, with a more organic flow to her arrangements - making them feel like they still belong in nature. I painted one of her arrangements into a watercolor several years ago and realized since I loved her subject matter, so might my students.
With that idea in mind, and everyone getting restless this summer, I put together a 2-hour workshop called Painting Florals in Watercolor. Held in mid-September, each student received their own bud vase with a small grouping of flowers including: a dahlia, a zinnia, a carnation, Japanese anemone, and bridal veil spirea. I set up tables in the backyard and used my patio as a demonstration area.
I began the workshop with a brief, incomplete demo of my flowers, showing my students how I move around a painting, gradually building up from light to dark. Sometimes showing them areas where I move into spaces with intentional darker values to bring out the lighter ones. Throughout that 2 hours, I added areas to the painting as students had questions - such as how to create the lip of the glass, or make the water's edge apparent. We spoke about darkening spaces to create more depth (such as in the interior spaces of the dahlia's petals), and then deciding what colors to use in the background. Each student was also given an easel on which to prop a colored backing board - helping them to focus on the flowers, and not the visual noise in the backyard.
Students brought their own materials from which to paint, but I used the following:
Completed by a student who started taking classes with me over ten years ago. She drove to my home, all the way from PA to take the workshop. She had an ah ha moment when I suggested she add a dark color around the background to try and pull it all together.
This painting was completed at Christine Anderson's home post-workshop. She took at the subject matter and decided to make it part of another painting. Since we met over ten years ago, she's developed her own watercolor practice and now has an Etsy shop.
These two works are by a couple that came together to celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary. They happen to also be two very creative individuals in their vocations. Marcia LeBeau is a poet and the founder of The Write Space, a co-writing space. Lee Seidenberg is a photographer and the owner of Exploratory Creative. Nothing says love like a couple who paints together!
Most of the student's works at the end of our workshop.
Most of the student's works at the end of our workshop.
FINALLY, my work, mostly completed after the workshop ended. I hope to offer a workshop like this again, but as we are now nearing the colder months, I'm thinking that a Zoom workshop over the winter might be JUST THE THING.
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Summer art lessons and workshops finished off a few weeks ago with these fruits of my students' labors. I had the fullest teaching schedule I've experienced since closing my Newton studio, enrolling several new students in a part-time summer drawing camp, an after-camp art class, and a watercolor workshop. Since putting my youngest in part-time childcare, I've been able to promote my lessons to a wider audience and offer more sessions.
These are just the tip of the iceberg from the summer:
What's even better than this visual eye candy is the experience my students had. None of them wanted the classes to end; my watercolor workshop students couldn't come up with one criticism. I worked with several adults, particularly mothers, who carved out time for themselves for the first time this summer. To see their joy and satisfaction from their work was priceless. And, whether the students were children or adults, the process of making these works was a conduit to growth, learning, and joy (despite occasional frustration).
Interested in experiencing the joy of creating? Check out my Fall lesson schedule online. I'm offering several small group sessions in my West Orange Studio on the 3rd Floor including after school kids classes, an AM jumpstART for adults, and my signature Saturday teen class, as well as two classes (Painting in Watercolor and Taking Watercolor & Drawing Further) at Work & Play in South Orange.
Art and camp shouldn't just be for the kids! Take a break this summer and enrich yourself artistically with a workshop designed to allow you to explore the art of painting in watercolor. This is an affordable and accessible medium that you can participate in with little investment and you don’t need a studio at home to create in watercolors. We will begin the workshop with some basics about painting in watercolor and each week build on your skills, eventually exploring ways of including collage and mixed media in your watercolors. The entire workshop will focus on creating art in a watercolor pad (similar to a sketchbook that is portable and easy to store).
It's a five week workshop, Exploring the Art of Painting in Watercolor (July 8th - August 5th, Wednesday mornings from 9:30 - 11:30am AND now, Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 9:30pm) designed to offer you an introduction to the medium and gradually allow you to develop an understanding of its breadth, starting with the basics of painting in one color to incorporating collage into your watercolors. No experience is necessary and on-site babysitting is available!
What I love about Work & Play is the setting and space. The photos below show the workroom where the watercolor workshop will be hosted. Can't you just wait to spend time painting in this brightly lit, open and airy room? Congrats to designer, Hanh Truong, for creating a simple, yet inviting room that just begs for creativity.
Owner, Deborah Engel, founded Work & Play in 2010 after her own experiences juggling young children, commuting into the city, then freelancing from home and wanting an opportunity for connection with other professionals. Work and Play opened in early 2015. In short it's a membership-driven coworking space that allows for drop in babysitting, caregiver & me classes and birthday party space, and now Adult Camp, located in downtown South Orange.
Enrollment will be accepted through July 1st only, since your tuition covers all supplies, plus coffee and healthy snacks! If the timing of this workshop doesn't work for you, but you are interested in the topic, please send me a message or fill out the survey below and if we generate enough interest, I might be able to offer another time or day. Offering these workshops are always a shot in the dark, so the more you tell me, the more I can accommodate you. Hopefully I will get a chance to work on letting you play with watercolors this summer at Work and Play!
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Deemed the Kitchen God's Artist by NJ Savvy Living for my sainted appliances, I'm now known more for my vibrant, meditational paintings of chairs set surprisingly in landscapes. Since relocating to NC from NJ, mothering my two sons, and caring for our rescue pup, Cider, took the lead. Now, that my Durham home studio is renovated it's open again for virtual art coaching and the resumption of my personal art and commissions. The work I make is inspired by my joy of teaching, exploring nature, and traveling. On The Teaching Artist Blog, I share my approach to teaching and educate my readers about my creative process.
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Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.