Posts Tagged ‘thumbnail studies’

Wednesday Watercolour Class at DVSA – Week One!


Last night, I was at the Dundas Valley School of Art to teach Watercolour: Concept and Technique. This course, based on observation of the still-life, is comprised of eight evenings and we got off to a good start.

I didn’t discuss or demonstrate anything to do with watercolour technique. Rather, I focused on finding a composition with a thumbnail sketch/study. Thumbnail sketches are a very helpful part of the process. They don’t have to be pretty. They’re tools; not masterpieces. I lightly sketched an area of the still-life before deciding where I wanted to focus. I framed that area with pencil lines and shaded the main shadows within it. My next step was to enlarge the thumbnail on my watercolour paper while maintaining the same proportions as the sketch.

This was a new concept to many of the students. They worked hard on their thumbnails and on transferring the compositions to their larger watercolour sheets. The process slowed some of them down a bit and not all finished their watercolours. I didn’t mind that at all. As they incorporate thumbnails into their practice, they’ll become quicker and more assured. At the end of the evening, we looked at the paintings in two batches. See you next Wednesday!

Click on any critique image to see a larger version.

Wednesday Critique a

Wednesday Critique b



Sustained Saturday – Watercolour Plus!


My studio hosted our second Sustained Saturday of the Winter term yesterday. Almost everyone worked in watercolour but you’ll notice, in the critique image below, a very nice pen and ink drawing. It’s the reason for the ‘plus’ in the title of the post.

Last Tuesday, I gave both classes a lesson on thumbnail sketches. Yesterday’s group got the same lesson as well as a similar still-life. Once again, I asked the students to crop their compositions quite tightly. I showed some examples of my thumbnail sketches, including one I prepared from the day’s still-life.

We always have a lot of fun on these Saturdays but the level of concentration was very high. The thumbnail process paid off with some very striking compositons. Our final Sustained Saturday of the Winter term will be held on February 25. There are still a few spots left. Why don’t you join us?

Sustained Saturday Critique