Why Watercolor?

Suze has been drawing all her life. After an initial undergraduate degree, she pursued fifth-year studies in printmaking and ceramics at the University of Washington. Her professional career has included the graphic design of printed materials and interface designs for commercial and prototype software applications. In the last few years she has devoted herself to the watercolor medium. From traditional landscape sketches –she calls them her love letters to the planet—to large scale industrial subjects and the numbering systems on utility poles, she loves to bring attention to what people don’t usually notice. She finds intense visual experience to capture everywhere she looks.
Saturday-Sunday
9/15-9/16
9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.
$215
All Levels Welcome
Gage Capitol Hill
Paper: I like 140 lb archival (100% cotton or rag) watercolor papers with a cold press or rough finish, such as Arches, Fabriano, Saunders-Waterford, Kilimanjaro. I’ve been known to paint on gessoed or synthetic paper too but I keep coming back to traditional watercolor papers as offering the most flexibility. Despite their stated equivalence, the same papers in block form have a much less forgiving surface and I recommend against the blocks. I rarely work larger than quarter sheet outdoors: 11” x 15.” And we’ll do some exercises on smaller pieces first.

Brushes: A minimum basic set of a #8 round, a one-inch flat, and a rigger or other fine pointing brush if you are purchasing new; or whatever you are used to and already have. Watercolor brushes are traditionally much softer than acrylic or oil brushes. Holding a lot of paint and keeping a good point (for rounds) are the important qualities. If this is your first experience with watercolor, don’t buy expensive sable brushes right away. Even though many people swear by them, I’m hard on equipment and find soft synthetics to be just fine.

Paints: A basic set of colors. “Professional” or “artists” watercolors in tubes are almost always more intense than pans; I use only tube colors. Bring what you have if you already have watercolors; it’s not a requirement to go out and get all new paints. Here is my basic color set; I try to have both a cool and warm version of each basic color, as well as a good mix of transparent/opaque/staining pigments. Every manufacturer’s paints are different; I mix them up a lot. I generally like Daniel Smith, Schminke, Holbein and Winsor & Newton. I’ve developed a personal addiction to some particular hues, but again, bring what you have.

Required Color

  • Raw Sienna (more opaque than transparent)
  • Potters Pink (transparents)
  • Cadmium Red (opaque)
  • Permanent Orange (opaque)
  • Quinacrodone Sienna (stain)
  • Cerulean Blue (Dan Smith’s is opaque)
  • Manganese Blue Hue (transparent)
  • Royal, Indanthrone or Schminke’s Delft Blue (stains)
  • Cobalt Blue (opaque)
  • Cascade Green (Dan Smith)

Optional Color

  • Aureolin (transparent)
  • Cadmium Yellow (opaque)
  • Quinacrodone Gold (stain)
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson or Carmine (stains)
  • Ruby Red, Opera, Quinacrodone Magenta (stains)
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    What is it that keeps artists engaged with this supposedly difficult medium? How is it like all others, and how is it different? Under the guidance of expert watercolorist Suze Woolf, we will start with studio exercises to develop our powers of observation and facility with the medium. Using those principles (and weather permitting), we’ll move outside to make fresh, spontaneous, and spirited landscape paintings.
     
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