In Your Home
Working with the Masters in Watercolor
Caroline had the good fortune to study with a number of the important teachers and watercolorists of the 20th century. She has chosen the giants Ed Whitney, Rex Brandt and Millard Sheets to share with you — passing on some their lasting contributions to watercolor as well as sharing with you some of her observations and memories. Besides her presentation, links to their works are listed so that those interested can learn more about these masters.
At Carona del Mar, Brandt at the top
The assignments will help you with your own painting and ground you in some of the most important concepts that made watercolor the American medium in the 20th century.
The course includes:
Ed Whitney, who changed my life and the way I painted
- planning for a painting
- working wet following the plan and layering wet to dry
Rex Brandt, my artistic “father;” and mentor
- quotes from my notes
- the hierarchy of looking — 2 exercises
- two shadow shape two-value drawings
- simplified value painting
- role of gradation
Millard Sheets, the master of color; also a good friend
- one design, 3 pairs, six paintings exploring the compositional role of value, intensity and temperature
- one design with two possible focuses; using the properties of color (same hues) the focus is changed from one in the 1st painting to the other in the second painting.
You need to have had Watercolor Basics or are familiar with the processes of watercolor before taking this course. It is a tough course that clarifies for the student some very important aspects of design and color — as taught by the masters. It also gives you a historical perspective on the development of watercolor as the American medium during the later 20th century.
Those who have taken it have been very excited about what they have learned. The average number of hours students who took the course for credit put in on the The Inspiration of the Masters is between 50 and 60 hours.
Left: shadow shape drawing aka Rex Brandt of the Orcas ferry landing + photos taken that day and the painting in his late style, done on location the following summer.
Right: Watermellon Lady by Millard Sheets. Study the use of reds in composing this painting.
Please check with me if you have other equipment you prefer. You do not need the list of paints but please get Artist quality of whatever pigments you choose. I strongly recommend the Arches paper. It is the most forgiving. And there are decent brushes that are not too expensive. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by using poor quality supplies! Longer equipment discussions are included in the individual courses.
There is a thorough discussion of all aspects of equipment in the Lessons for the Classroom ARTX 9008 class. If you are taking another class but would like a more complete exploration of the kinds of supplies that work (and don’t) please contact me.
See LINKS at the bottom of the page for supply houses.
Teaching aid using a concept learned from Millard Sheets.
D’ARCHES WATERCOLOR PAPER, cold press, 90 or 140 lb.
#2 or 2B pencil
2 pint or quart sized water containers
a roll of tissue
1″ clear-handled flat brush — such as WINSOR NEWTON or DANIEL SMITH (72-99) BRUSH
#10 pointed round brush — such as ROBERT SIMMONS #10 or Skyflow, white sable 785
LIDDED PALETTE — such as Aqua Pro, or John Pike, or Steve Quiller’s with at least:
• burnt orange or burnt sienna
• a violet
in artist grade watercolor paint such as Daniel Smith, Winsor Newton, Da Vinci, Holbein.
Arrange your paints in a color wheel (ie rainbow).
I use Daniel Smith colors. Assuming you do not want to buy them all, besides the 6 listed above, first consider the hues highlighted in bold.
pthalo green, or Winsor green
cobalt teal blue
pthalo blue, or Winsor blue
quinacridone red or perylene red
cadmium red medium
quinacridone burnt orange (or sienna)
cadmium yellow light, or Winsor yellow, or Hansa
Note: you do not want browns, blacks, white. The paper is the white and we mix luscious browns, blacks etc.
Millard Sheets, 1985
a large flat brush such as an 1 1/2″ or 2″ or larger.SKYFLOW is good but not necessary.
A lightweight board
tape or clips
Access to a digital camera! You can photograph flat on the ground in sunlight or on the floor in strong interior light.