The Emotional, Psychological, and Spiritual Content of Color in Abstraction: Watercolor

Linda James grew up in the midwest and received a BFA in Painting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1971.
Her path in life has always included a range of overlapping interests. For over 40 years, Linda has been a freelance graphic designer. In addition, she operated a fiber arts studio in the 70s, raised a family in the 80s, became an herbalist in the 90s, and had an herbal health care practice in the early 2000s. Indigenous art forms have always intrigued her – including Indonesian ikat and shibori, aboriginal dot paintings, Native American carving and basketry, and African and Central American textiles. There is a spiritual content in all of these art forms that unifies them. It is that focused intent that influences her present work in watercolor. In 2010, she began creating one-of-a-kind handpainted artist books. Creating visual narratives is of particular interest as well as exploring the emotional and spiritual vibration of color. Her paintings continue to be exhibited regionally and are in private collections around the country.
Saturday, Sunday
9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.
All Levels Welcome
Gage Capitol Hill
  • All paper will be supplied
  • Tube watercolors, professional grade. My favorite brands are Daniel Smith, Winsor & Newton, Holbein, and DaVinci. Most brands come in 14 or 15 ml tubes. Winsor & Newton offers 5 ml tube sizes. For this class, avoid buying paints that have the words “Mixture” or “Hue” in the name. They will not yield the same results. Required:
  • Aureolin Yellow or Winsor Lemon
  • Cadmium Yellow Light or Medium
  • Quinacridone Gold
  • Rose Madder Genuine
  • Cadmium Red Light or Medium
  • Permanent Rose
  • Cobalt Blue
  • French Ultramarine Blue or Ultramarine Blue
  • Phthalo Blue (Winsor Blue)
  • Burnt Sienna or Italian Burnt Sienna
  • New Gamboge
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Cobalt Turquoise Light
  • Dioxazine Violet (Winsor Violet)
  • Phthalo Green (Winsor Green)
  • Viridian
  • Optional:
    • Quinacridone Magenta
    • Cobalt Violet
    • Hooker’s Green
    • Quinacridone Burnt Orange
  • I recommend mixed synthetic/natural hair brushes, but there are some good synthetic brushes available and they tend to be more affordable.
    A #8 round, a #3 or #4 round, a 3/4” flat and a 1-1/2” wash (example: Princeton 4050 – around $20)
  • Painting or drawing board (large enough to hold an 11” x 15” sheet of paper)
  • A roll of 3/4” drafting or artist’s tape
  • A white plastic 18-well (or larger) covered palette
  • A 2 or 4 oz. plastic spray bottle
  • Some experience with watercolor is preferred. All paper will be supplied. A $20 supply fee will be collected in class.

    In this two-day intensive, we will focus on color as the primary element in abstract expression. Using examples of prominent color field painters from the mid 20th century to the present, we will examine the use of color in terms of its emotional, psychological, and spiritual content. We will also look at the relationship between color and music, and how both resonate with us on a personal level. Exercises will include color experimentation using variations in form, harmony, contrast, balance, repetition, and juxtaposition.