Francesco Fontana – Watercolor in One Stroke – (10-09-2017)
Based on most common students’ issues, my standard workshop will focus on three major tasks according to students’ level
Make it Transparent (Beginner)
— Learn the skills to keep your paint transparent, even when your color should be darkest than black. If you are a beginner the quality of your first attempts will double the very minute you give your watercolor its inherent beauty: transparency!
One Brushstroke (Intermediate)
— Learn the economy and expression of the brushwork. Every stroke makes the difference, it’s the ultimate one, your signature. Done quicker than expected? Don’t worry, paint a larger one or hundred more! A priceless discipline for intermediate painters!
Be a Magician (Advanced)
— Learn the artifice to translate real life into poetry. Even when you paint the most mundane subject, you will be able to interprete it with artistic personality. Secrets for advanced painters to develop their unique style!
The followings are necessary for beginners and just suggestions for advanced painters. The latter are free to use their own typical material, as long as they have professional grade paper, pigments and brushes. Clean water and passion would help as well!
1 full sheet (22 x 30”) every two workshop days. Weight min 140lb (300 gr/mq) cold pressed paper. Arches, Fabriano Artistico or equal pro brand. Blocks with glued edges 11 x 15” will do as well.
1 Drawing + Painting Sketchbook: fine grain, 100% cotton rag, 70lb, (140 gr/mq), 8 x 10”
A stretching board for lose sheets, made of plywood, foam board, masonite or alike. Size should be at least 1/2 inches (1 cm) larger in each side than your max paper size (I use half sheet)
Indoor we may use a table, with a lectern table top easel or simple a couple of book under your board.
Outdoor a light collapsing easel (1,5 Kg) is a good choice. Check W&N or competitors. It has a reclining board holder from vertical to completely horizontal position. Two camping seats are a great alternative out door: one to seat while holding the board on your lap with left hand on its upper side; the second seat to hold palette, water pot, and brushes beside. This option is good to move the board around, at any inclination, vertical to horizontal.
A squared porcelain plate is the best for me. I prefer to drag the paint rather than dig into wells. When a folding palette is needed I might use a Mjiello 18 Airtight / Leak-Proof Watercolor Palette. enameled metal is definitely better than plastic, which tends to stain. I generally do not use pans, to also save brush tips from wearing.
I use tubes. Start with a short number of hues but definitely get artist grade paint. More pigment concentration, less paint waste. I paint in a limited palette, recently inclined to a selection of earth colors by Daniel Smith. Their Quinacridrone Gold is my fave yellow. And Sodalite Blue is my choice as dark modifier (I have not converted to the use of black yet!). Got some other brands in my box: love Burnt Sienna by Schminke and China Orange from Sennelier. My purest Blues are Winsor & Newton both red and green shade. I use a bunch of different reds. Basically you want to have in a priority order: primaries, secondaries and earth colors. I rarely use opaque white.
Hue Warmer Cooler
Yellow Cad Yellow Lemon Yellow
Red Cad Red Alazarin Crimson
Blue U/marine Cobalt
Earth Burnt Siena / Raw Siena / Ochre Row Umber / Seppia
Orange Winsor Orange
Purple Winsor Violet
Green Sap Green Viridian
Feel free to include one or more from the followings at your choice:
Darks Bruno Van Dyck / Ivory Black / Payne Gray / Neutral Tint / Sodalite Blue
Highlight Chinese White or Zinc White (Opaque)
Hake and large flat synthetic (Rosemary&Co, Princeton))
Flat rectangular medium synthetic (Pricenton)
Mop squirrel and filbert (Princeton)
Round large mix sable / synthetic (DaVinci)
Round medium* kolinsky sable (Rosemary&Co)
Round medium synthetic (Princeton, Eleganza by Springer Pinsel )
Round small synthetic (Princeton)
Spotter very tiny round (Princeton, Eleganza by Springer Pinsel)
* The size of a well sharpened pencil
Round brushes with fat belly and tiny tip are necessary. I also love flat brushes. Sometimes I cut straight an old pointed brush! As for size every brand goes by its own scale. Pure Kolinski sable is the finest and pricey one. You can find mixed sable / synthetic hair at a reasonable price.
Brands: I used to paint with W&N Series 7. But even the most costly sable tends to wear its tip especially if you use pans and wells in your palette. Currently I am happy with some Rosemary’s & Co sable brushes. Also working with DaVinci mixed hair and other German brands for synthetic Springer Pinsel (Eleganza). Also use good Chinese calligraphy brushes, as well as some squirrel and synthetic from Princeton.
Masking tape around 1 inc / 2 cm, sketch / note book, soft pencils, rubber, kneaded eraser, cutter, water container (no glass, collapsible if you travel) and a small spray bottle. A sponge, paper towels and tissues. Brush pens (optional) full black, mid grey, light grey for tonal studies. Hair dryer indoor is a smart tool and a cordless one outdoor a real luxury!
References indoor workshop
Please bring pictures of your favorite subjects.
Any subject, not necessary cityscapes.
But please photos you have taken.
Print them in color and/or black and white.
Your own drawings are welcome as well.
Be prepared to share them with the group.
No guarantee that your pictures will be chosen as a demo reference or assignment, but I’ll consider your suggestions.
Your Free Art Pack;
On the first day of your course at Las Orquideas each artist will be presented with a free art pack.
Dalvaro Art Bag.
Selection of 12, 5ml, Miele, watercolour paints.
Sufficient paper for the course.
This is a guideline only, as there maybe factors outside our control which can easily force changes to be made.
Sunday 10th September;
Monday 11th September;
Get to know each other. Morning usually begins in the studio with an introduction to the course, presentation of your free art pack and a discussion about the materials you will be using. Followed by a demonstration showing the process Francesco uses to produce his paintings.
After lunch each student decides on a location within the gardens to make a sketch ready for a painting of their choice.
Tuesday 12th September;
After breakfast a mornings trip out to Denia, lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue our session after lunch before returning to Las Orquideas.
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Wednesday 13th September;
Today we stay close to home, to paint at one of the many wonderful locations within a short drive of Las Orquideas. The afternoon session is spent in the gardens and/or the studio.
Thursday 14th September;
A full day trip to Valencia city . Painting in the morning, which is continued after lunch in Alboraya City or we spend the afternoon sightseeing.
Valencia Photos Gallery
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Friday 15th September;
Morning is spent finalising the weeks work. Lunch is followed by a presentation of the weeks work and evaluation of the course. This is followed by an evening meal in the town.
Saturday 16th September;