Imagine summer. Midsummer. The long, light days and evenings, and the freedom to focus on your painting, and relax into a rhythm of looking and responding with mark-making. And producing more work than you imagined, because you're free of the usual routine.
There's still time to book your place on Light on Water: Expressive Mark-Making in Abstract Watercolour Landscape, 18th-21st June >
On this course, you'll be working freely from various subjects, including light on water at the River Derwent, Dales landscapes, and the historic gardens of our venue, Georgian Darley House, near Matlock in the Derbyshire Peak District.
This course is about gestural, expressive mark-making in watercolour, and building the confidence to let rip, laying down assured strokes and planes of colour. It's about finding and losing and finding your way again, learning to handle the paradox that painting is a mixture of maintaining control and letting go.
We'll be looking at what sort of drawings and preparatory work will most help you let go of, or summarise detail, in a few swift brush marks. We'll be referencing Ivon Hitchens's riverbank and garden paintings, and Peter Lanyon and Joan Mitchell for freedom in mark making. These artists worked in oils, but there is much here for watercolour work as well, especially if you're in the mood to break out of a rut. Htichens's and Lanyon's drawings in particular provide pointers towards drawing in such a way that it supports looser, and/or more abstract painting.
Imagine busting some myths about watercolour at the same time.
Let's destroy, once and for all, the myth that watercolour has to be small, tight, careful, cautious, wishy-washy, muted. What if watercolour can be large, loose, daring, bold, with strong rich planes of glowing colour?
Let's also destroy the myth that watercolour is a merciless and unforgiving medium, the hardest to learn, where you have to get everything right first time because corrections aren't possible or always show. You'll learn how to remove paint as confidently as you apply it, to create decisive, confident-looking brush-strokes.
Ella will be sharing her unique insights into the physics and mechanics of handling watercolour, refined over nearly twenty years' teaching.
For example, many people seem to paint with rather too 'dry' brushes, (perhaps to prevent the paint running), and too much pressure on the paper - a habit sometimes carried over from using oil or acrylic. Or house paint. Both of these tend to produce stripy and blotchy results. More paint on the brush than you'd expect and much less pressure on the brush can yield much cleaner application. This is turn allows the light to bounce through the transparent colours and back out from the white painting surface. And then the paint has a chance to glow, as only watercolour can. This course will help you develop the muscle memory to get vibrant watercolours every time.
Our venue is a gorgeously and lovingly restored Georgian house, owned in the mid-nineteenth century by Sir Joseph Paxton, garden manager at nearby Chatsworth. Darley House's gracious proportions and many original features combine with contemporary standards of comfort, warmth and WiFi for a memorable stay. And our meals, prepared by Master Chef Charlie Ratcliffe, are very much part of putting the 'treat' into retreat.
At the time of writing, residential and non-residential places are still available. Don't miss out.