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Lesson Plans

Re: Teaching Watercolor

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Lily/Clair Kerns (CWKerns)
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 07:04:41 -0500

>Subject: Teaching Watercolor

>I have never taught this before. I have some ideas on how to present it,
>was hoping you could tell me some of your success stories in teaching this
>medium. I would prefer this class to be exciting, not just mechanical in
>nature. Any interesting approaches to teaching the basics that you know
>I need to entertain and challenge the intermediates and hook and educate

I too love watercolor--but I can't do it in the traditional form. After
many years of trying (and buying many books!) I was finally able to analyze
my problem--I am not a previsualizer (for leaving white spaces, etc.),
and making a drawing first is too much like coloring to suit my very right
brain style. I first flow on color in an intuitive--what does this need
next?--style and then decide what it will become. I may even do a dozen or
more of these at one sitting to be finished later. I also much prefer using
acrylics in a watercolor style.......

One of the techniques I have used (great for stormy days) is to use a
colorful slide. Project it completely out of focus for the first layer of
painting. Refocus slightly and repeat until students can see some detail
to finish it as they choose.

My favorite intuitive style is to ask them to paint a dark area of
interesting shape, not centered, and then add two more dark , smaller shapes
in relation to the others. They can then finish as they choose.

I like these kinds of watercolor projects because
1. There is no right or wrong--it doesn't have to look like "that" tree or
what ever, so a degree of success is built in;
2. It pulls creativity out of students in a way that "looking at
something and painting it" often fails to do;
3. Students learn decision making in a special way because there is always
another possible approach, another possible way to work around a problem;
4. It builds confidence in and experience in using their intuitive
knowledge of composition, color, value etc.

I've developed these ways of working out of personal need, but I am sure
there are others who would benefit from this kind of approach.