One of the things that I love about watercolor is the huge variety of processes and techniques to choose from when painting. After taking many workshops from many wonderful, professional artists, I've enjoyed adapting those techniques to how I paint, eventually passing along the information about the processes to my classes via demos. Credit is duly given to the instructors for their specific techniques that they so willingly share.

Years ago, a friend introduced me to Stephen Blackburn. Deb Ward had been fascinated by his beautiful handling of watercolor, so a bunch of us signed up for his workshop in Lafayette, Indiana. Since then, he has been to the Cincinnati area several times to give workshops ... twice, in fact, to give workshops for people in my classes. One of my original paintings of penguins, shown on the blog on March 24, 2008, was created during one of those workshops.

The daffodil painting shown here was a demo for Tuesday's class based on info that Steve taught us. Posted here are also two stages of the painting before completion.

First, miskit is 'poured' in a 'stream' onto the paper and then spritzed with water to create trickles for it to flow into. It's a lot trickier than it looks to do this part. Once the miskit is dry, paint is poured over the paper, with several colors being applied. Each color can be allowed to dry in between pours, or for more color mingling, the colors can be poured all at once.

Once the miskit's removed, the subject can be established, as it was with this painting, or the subject could be determined ahead of time before pouring. I do a detailed value study of the drawing in order to know where NOT to paint. For the most part, the picture is developed by painting behind the subject matter, with those darker values popping out the focal areas. This 'negative' painting preserves the beautiful results of the poured paint over the ruffly miskited areas, allowing them to remain untouched.

The final look couldn't ever be achieved with a brush. The unique textured surface created with the poured miskit and paint adds so much to the final painting, making it more unique and intriguing to look at. Thanks, Steve, for sharing your discoveries with us.

Steve won the top award several years ago in International Artist Magazine for one of his exquisitely rendered sunflowers done with his technique. He's a master artist who has developed his very own technique of creating beauty, and he willing shares his techniques in his workshops. Deb's invited him to return to Cincinnati to teach another workshop in May. Hop over to her website - http://www.debwardart.com/ - for more information about the workshop, but hurry. Several people from my classes have already signed up.

Pop over to Steve's instructional website, where you can sign up for his newsletter, too. If you click on the workshop page, you'll see him in action at one of the workshops he taught in my studio. Here's the link - http://www.learnwatercolors.com/

Next month, watercolor artists from around the country will enjoy being at Kanuga Watercolor Workshops near Hendersonville, North Carolina. I've been able to be there for most of the last dozen years to continue learning more about creating art. I'm one of those people who think that learning never ceases and love taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible to experience more ways to be creative. Although there are more than ten instructors to choose from at Kanuga each year, this year Miles Batt will be my instructor for the week. So looking forward to going!

"SONG OF SPRING" Transparent Watercolor on HP 140# Arches, 16 x 12"


RHCarpenter said...

Beautiful, beautiful, but I'd almost like to see more intense darks here and there - it's almost too pretty? Is that possible?

Sandy Maudlin said...

Yes, Rhonda, it was way too pretty so I killed it back in places earlier. It was sickenly sweet. Yellows are a bear to work with for me. I'll work in some more quieter darks.

meera said...

Beautiful painting! enjoyed reading your explanation. And thanks for the links!

debwardart said...

Thanks, Sandy, for getting the word out about Steve's workshop! And, of course your painting turned out great!

Chris Beck said...

So interesting!! Thanks for sharing and for giving additional links. Enjoy Miles Batt's workshop -- he's a very creative guy and the workshop I took from him some years ago was great fun.

masmoulin said...

its a very beautiful watercolor. I love, and your blog is very well

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thanks so much for the comments, everyone.

Niclas J├Ânsson said...

I wish I had your touch with the colors, Sandy!

Sandy said...

running through real quick and got stopped by this beauty.!