I have been quite a bit remiss in my blogging efforts as I have been working on diversifying my art business. Many exciting changes on the horizon! By getting out of my comfort zone with business decisions as well as the artwork itself I am making discoveries that last year I would have never have even dreamed possible. I had found myself becoming intimitated by that blank sheet of paper and not knowing what to paint. I have,also, found myself wanting to avoid the acrylics and focus only on watercolors. I have expanded my interest from painting my usual subjects of horses and dogs to football paintings and plein air landscapes.
I am particularly passionate about painting en plein air with watercolors. There is no better medium for me for capturing the immediacy of the moment, atmosphere and light than with watercolors. Plus, I find my muse out in nature. I work with the bare minimum of a sketch, find the big shapes, lightest lights and darkest darks and just run with it.
There is one part of myself that I have discovered and that is I'm a very impatient painter. It is a part of myself relative to my work that I have struggled with and I happy to say I have finally come to terms with. I have learned to be okay with my impatience! Oddly enough in every other area of my life I am extremely patient. Go figure! The better my technical skills and understanding of the medium the easier it is to be successful in the outcome. When I have an idea I need to just get it down and out. Otherwise, I tend to lose interest. I'm not one to have painting languishing on the easel for days as I work glaze upon glaze! Nope, not me! I get in there and get out. And this is where I love, love, love watercolors. It is perfectly suited to my style. I'd love to hear how you other artists deal with aspects ands pecific traits of yourselves relative to the painting process.
I'll be blogging a lot more about my process in the coming months. So be sure to bookmark or sign up for updates.
A super fast plein air piece done in the very early morning hours.
Watercolor, 10 x 8 on Waterford Saunders, 140lb, Rough
I have been busy in the studio painting and playing with watercolors and exploring light. My favorite moment in a painting is throwing in those dark darks. Adding those darks just makes the light jump off the paper and brings the whole painting to life! And as I become more fluent in watercolors I find that I don't wait until the end of a painting anymore to throw them in there.
This work-in progress is an 8 x10 of San Fransisco Forty Niners Quarterback Alex Smith. The painting is just about finished so I'll get the final up this week. This piece was basically about exploring light and dark and keeping the whole conception loose and fresh. Big brushes, juicy washes and working standing up ( so that can I use my whole arm) with broad brushstrokes helped me to achieve the effect that I was going after in this painting.
Other places to find me ...Comment on or Share this Article →
Jump! ęDeborah Bollman-O'Sullivan, Watercolor
Watercolor Classes For Adults
Artist Deborah Bollman-O’Sullivan and Front Street Gallery are pleased to present a watercolor painting course for adults. We will cover basic techniques such as getting to know our materials, wet on wet, wet on dry, finding basic shapes, basic color mixing and color value. We will then jump in and explore the wonderful world of watercolor.
Students will work from still life and photographic reference material.
Come and join us for a fun, creative evening in a relaxing environment. All levels welcome.
Classes are taught by professional painter Deborah Bollman-O'Sullivan.
Classes will run for 4 weeks. Tuesday evenings from 6:30 -9:30. Classes start Tuesday, November 23.
4– 3 hour classes- $175
Drop in fee- $38.75
Art supplies provided by student. Materials list available upon sign-up
Great Swamp Plein Air
Comment on or Share this Article →
Pat's Rooster- Watercolor by Deborah O'Sullivan, 5x5
I am delighted to be able to present guest blogger Australian artist Charles Sluga. Charles is a wonderfully accomplished watercolorist and teacher.
Good Tutors and Good Students
I have been prompted to give my opinion because I conduct a lot of workshops both in Australia and overseas and have been teaching watercolour painting for many years. I have a number of pupils that have attended many of my workshops and continue to do so. Recently these people have been criticized or mocked because they choose to continue to come to my workshops. Mocked by students that seem to change their tutors as often as the wind changes.
So the question is - Should a student go to many different tutors to learn or should they stick to one? I think I have already indicated what I think, but let me expand on this.
Well from my experience and observation over twenty years of teaching I strongly recommend choosing one, but it is conditional. The student must try different classes until they find a tutor that they are happy with. A tutor than has the pupils best interest in mind and will push the student and point them in the right direction for them to discover their own way of expression...kind of like a guiding hand. A tutor that does not let his or her ego get in the way!
I think as a student if you find that your work merely looks like a second rate copy of the tutors work then I would suggest you find another tutor. It is not the tutors job to produce 'parrots" that mimic what they do. It is all about pushing, questioning and getting the students to explore possibilities until they start to discover themselves. If you can find a tutor that can do that then stick with them. For those of you out there who criticise these students and call them groupies, fans or try to convince them that they should go to someone else, then I would say to you..."continue to go to your dozen tutors in a dozen workshops and continue to produce inferior copies with no self expression....you have missed the whole point of being an artist and the journey that it involves".
Having said that, if that is what you want to do...go ahead ....it obviously satisfies some need, but be aware that others may wish to go further and demand more of themselves.
So in summary:
A good tutor:
- Someone who pushes you to question everything!
- Someone who does not paint by formula.
- Someone who will not spoon feed you.
- Someone who recognises your contribution.
- Someone who is not there to boost there own ego.
- Someone who takes there work seriously.
- Someone who plans lessons well.
- Someone who will give you time.
- Someone who believes they are still learning.
- Someone who doesn't want you to merely be a "parrot"
A good pupil:
- Someone who will work hard.
- Someone who will take risks.
- Someone who will work in between workshops
- Someone who will ask questions.
- Someone who will not only be interested in the final result.
- Someone who is persistent.
- Someone who is open minded.
- Someone who is not there to boost their own ego!
- Someone with a sense of humour.
- Someone who has a love of Art.
So these are just 10 points I consider important for both tutor and student (there are more!)
In closing I would like to congratulate Sharon...one of these so called "groupies" of mine who entered her first exhibition recently and won the award for best watercolour. The wonderful thing about that is that I had not input or influence over that painting. She did the whole thing on her own and it was her own expression in paint! Well done!
I also congratulate these group of students that do continue to come to my workshops and tours...I am looking forward to continuing the journey with you....you have become not just students but friends! So let us all ignore the comments from others and continue to do what we do best...work together and move forward!
By the way, just to make it clear - I don't mind who people go to! I am not saying it has to be me (because even though I am good :), my style of teaching may not suit everyone ). It is not about me...it is about you...the student!
See you at the next workshop :)
This article is reproduced with permission.
Copyright 2010 - Charles Sluga
For more on Charles and to view or purchase artwork visit.....
Deborah O'Sullivan Art
Facebook Comment on or Share this Article →