I usually refer to myself as an art appreciator, not an artist. So, when I got a chance to practice as an artist, I lept at the opportunity. That opportunity was opened up by the many fantastic workshops offered by the Craft Alliance. After much deliberation- should I do shibori? Or maybe clay? I finally settled on the Watercolor Workshop. I loved painting in middle and high school but it never really stuck with me. And, I wasn’t horrible at it– somewhere I have some lousy award for multimedia/acrylic painting. Alas, Craft Alliance reignited my inclination to paint.
Selecting a class to try first was difficult, only because they offer so many good ones. But, that’s a wonderful thing because now I have a list of classes I want to try. Maybe, just maybe those classes will get me out of a winter depression (it hasn’t hit yet, but I know it will). The Craft on Tap and Craft Uncorked classes look especially appealing. I finally settled on the Watercolor Workshop because of my interest in painting and it just generally worked out with my schedule.
The day of the workshop I was feeling pretty shitty- aggressive head cold and just general frustration about my car being in the shop for week three and having to get rides back and forth. I know, Uber, but hey that’s like a $20 ride from my house to the Loop…times two! Yikes.
Anyways, showing up slightly late, instructor Carla Tuetken was very pleasant and caught me up. The class was small, comprised of three other students and myself, all having prior knowledge and experience painting. Carla went into techniques, brush strokes, material selection, paper wetting and archival safe pens. One of my favorite techniques was adding rubbing alcohol once you have paint down– it creates a really nice texture resembling cells or tie-dye.
Once we had basic techniques under our belts, we went right into it. I mainly focused on landscapes and botanicals. As we painted, we chatted about small things, like family member getting married off, and Carla critiqued and offered suggestions as we went along. Carla taught me that it’s important to leave white spaces in watercolors– the less saturated with color, the more the painting can breathe. Towards the end of the class I started to get the hang of it and was pretty proud of the little branch I painted. I worked on about five pieces throughout the class and none of them are completely worthless. Time well spent!
I left the class feeling really good, almost light or high on art, if you will, despite the worsening head cold. I think with a few more workshops like that I may develop in a half decent painter. I do plan on getting some paints and dabbling on my own now, so good job Carla and Craft Alliance. The class was just what I needed to get creative on a different plain. Looking forward to taking advantage of course offerings coming up and expanding on what I learned from Carla during the Watercolor Workshop. I’m very happy we have something like the Craft Alliance in St. Louis– enriching culture through education, exhibits and much more.