Watercolour Classes 5/5

Today is LIFE DRAWING! Help! Even if I can draw a bit, I can’t draw quckly, plus I’m totally Euclidean, and people are The Hardest Thing in the world to draw. 

We begin with the techniques  of doing colour impressions first, and then adding lines afterwards; then look at some Georgia O’Keefe nudes that are 100% broad brush watercolour – and amazingly lifelike and full of life and light. 

Then we do what we can to copy these techniques:


Next we turn from the copies, and the life model comes in; and we’re given instructions for different processes. I do not understand what the teacher is talking about. I invariably do the opposite of what I’ve (I think) been told. 


We are given limited time (say 5m) to complete each phase. Unfortunately it takes me 5m to find the paper, find the tape, stick it on the board, discover I’m not supposed to use tape, get the paper soaked, stick the wet paper on the board, mix some colour, start drawing, discover we’re not supposed to draw, get some more paper, mix some paint, struggle to understand why the colour doesn’t appear on the paper, and then the bell goes and 5m has gone. Stress!

After the backgrounds have dried or partially dried, we’re instructed to add lines. This I do, but I’m under time pressure; stressed, I’ve never used an easel before, and not used to drawing with permanent marks. The second mark I make is in the wrong place. Game over. Come back next year. 

This is what proper learning is like. Don’t understand what I’m doing. Can’t do it well, or easily, or at all. Because I’m learning. So I keep calm, keep going, waste a lot of paper, and suffer the humiliation of showing my childish scratchings to the class. 

I don’t know if I’m too tired, too stupid, too clumsy, or just too resistant to the concept of creating images with a brush, rather than a pencil. I think I needed tuition in image making based around Shape, Tone, Colour, and Texture, rather than solely with Line. Not that pencil has to be restricted to only Line, but I have been largely addicted to Line.  

I freely admit that in fact this is exactly what has been given me through the week, though for me, not explicitly enough, or as a ‘compare and contrast’ exercise in opposition to drawing. It’s up to me now to go away and process all this. And turn myself from a pencil drawer into a brush painter. If I want to. 

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