Saturday, February 7, 2009


I decided at the last minute to take a 3 day workshop with Karen Frey through the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society. Karen is a favorite of mine...both her work and as a person. She is a tiny woman with a huge talent. Her paintings are to drool over. They must be seen in person to fully appreciate the richness of the paint, the gorgeous mixtures of color and value and the unusual edges she develops through her unique style of painting wet into wet. I actually studied with Karen for two years at her home studio in Oakland. I wanted to learn the "secrets" to this way of painting. Well, in two years I never saw her paint a painting from start to finish. In fact, she only "demoed" little bits here and there to help a student understand something. Karen was a great teacher and I learned a lot from her. She was the one who urged me to start drawing directly with a brush and helped me in many ways. In general, I think it is smart to have students develop their own style...but, darn it, how does she do it? I still wanted to see her paint. I now have my wish and I am very excited. Click on the post title to go to Karen's website.

Here is Karen's painting after day 1. She has a simple grid marked on the photo and on the board. She draws with a brush using a weak solution of Manganese Blue. Next she goes over the entire painting with a very diluted wash saving the whites. She never uses masking fluid and paints around the whites. This stage is harder than it looks. She softens edges as needed. That is as far as we got today. Tomorrow she will finish the painting and then it is our turn.

Here is my painting after the "sissy wash" has been applied, along with the original photo I took and then how it looked after I put it through a few filters in Photoshop Elements. I used the photoshop version to do the underpainting. It feels good to be painting again after days of office work.


meera said...

Looks very interesting--looking forward to seeing the various steps.

carol said...

Looking good - not too 'sissy' a wash. Will keep watching.

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