Birgit O'Connor Watercolour Class
When I heard California artist Birgit O'Connor was teaching a watercolour class at Studio Six in Markham recently, I jumped at the chance to attend the three day flower painting workshop. Last year I learned how to varnish my watercolours from her excellent DVD Framing Without Glass, and have admired her style of painting enormous dramatic florals.
There were about twenty students in the workshop and the first day we learned her technique of making large, glowing washes by painting these half sheet warm ups. We used large brushes (size 20 and 30 rounds) and wet each area with lots of water so the washes would run together when the paper was tilted. Learning that technique alone was worth the price of admission! In the photo below, Birgit is pointing to my painting in the top row.
On the next two days of the class we had the option of painting along with Birgit on a second sample piece, or using our own reference photo to make a painting using her techniques. I opted for the latter and started a full sheet painting of blue Rose of Sharon from a photo I took in my friend Patti's garden. Below are the layers I finished during two days of painting.
I used MaimeriBlu pigments Cobalt Blue Deep, Sap Green and Indigo, and Winsor & Newton pigments Quinacridone Magenta and Crimson Lake for this painting. These combinations were new to me but I definitely will use them again as the mixtures were rich, somewhat liftable (so details could be softened) and non-granulating.
At the end of class Birgit posed with me beside my half finished painting (below). She was a very good teacher and the whole experience makes me want to paint more large florals.
The class was about a month ago and today I finished Blue Rose of Sharon (30 x 22"), pictured below. Let me know what you think.
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