Thursday, March 5, 2020

Elite Animation Academy Watercolor Class

At Elite Animation Academy (8933 Conroy Windermere Rd, Orlando, FL 32835) I am instructing a watercolor class for the first time. These two sketches of City Arts Orlando (39 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL 32801) were done as a lesson in capturing values. My student was instructed to paint the scene using just one or two colors. We only did a few light pencil strokes to fit the building on the page. I used a dis-guarded pallet and painted on sheets of xerox copier paper. The pallet had multiple colors but I just chose based on what value I wanted on the page. My student had quality watercolor paper to  work on. The basic premise is that any object can be painted with just three values, Dark, medium and then pure white of the page for the light value. Rather than paint the sky, the street or the sunny face of the building, they were left pure white.Towards the end of the session we added a few dark strokes that could be considered line work in the shadows of windows or the shadows of the roof overhangs.

With the first watercolor sketch complete, we then recreated the scene using a full choice of colors. We didn't spend as much time on this painting but it went faster since we had made so man of the creative value choices in the first painting. One thing that often happens with a beginning watercolor painter is that they will start by painting the lighter areas like the sky first. Once blue paint is applied to the sky however it becomes a dark value. The building is green and again the temptation is to paint the light side of the building green first which negates the sunlight since that face then becomes dark. The goal was to repeat what was done with the one color value study by only painting the shadows and darks. On the first painting I repainted the shadow side of the building multiple times. On the color painting the shadow face of the building only has the first wash over it. Details and successive washed would be added if I had time to keep working on the painting. Another thing that happens with watercolor is that once a wash dries, it lightens up a bit. That is another reason I might hit an area of the sketch with a wash again and again.

A major lesson as well is that the watercolor sketches are not precious. There are things to like and dislike about each. The important thing is to keep dashing of studies like this. Each in turn will be better than the last although it might not feel like it at the time. It is good to be critical of your own work, as ling as it doesn't keep you from creating more work.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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