The mindfulness that emanated from the children, when working from life drawing flowers, had a calming effect on the class. We took time to look very carefully at what was in front of us and broke it down into different focusses. Light, shade and how to follow the line from observation, combined with a little imagination, created stunning detailed pencil drawings.
The following week, building on the previous lesson’s observation skills, teacher and artist Barbara Veena Scialo showed a short tutorial to demonstrate “how to layer watercolours using their transparent effect”. With this in mind, the paintings gradually grew, one petal at a time, with the watercolour layers adding depth, variety and dimension to the flowers.
The timing of this session fell over Father’s Day, so some beautiful hand painted cards were created to celebrate this auspicious occasion!
Swapping a white background for black raised new challenges and opportunities for design. Instead of traditional paint brushes, the group were given bundles of cotton buds, to create their marks using a mixture of both acrylic and poster paints. The opacity of the paint raised new technical issues when representing depth, in comparison to translucent water colours, so instead of building up layers of paint, the artists used tonal variation to emphasise light and shade.
These paintings have strong compositions from the bottom left hand corner, spreading out across the landscape orientation of the card. To achieve this, the outline of the jar/vase is drawn first in chalk, followed by the arrangement of flowers and leaves.
To recreate the three-dimensions of lilacs through painting, everyone needed to understand how to mix the purple tones from bluer violet to warmer pinky mauve; as well as a range of warm and cool greens for the foliage.
Experimenting with cotton buds instead of brushes suited this subject matter perfectly. The group continued to enjoy exploring this technique using watercolour, which resulted in some soft, delicate, stippled paintings. By now the small hands were becoming experts and pushed themselves to create complex compositions and dynamic designs.
These competent paintings really show how much the class has understood the technique and now they can be really confident to enjoy their new skill. This is something you can try at home, other subjects to have a go at could include trees, fish, water and even a landscape if you’re feeling brave. Good luck.