My mother had been undergoing surgery and the subsequent recovery time for 3 years now. She was finally back on her feet and rearing to go! We had promised ourselves a watercolor workshop together to celebrate her new life, a life of pain-free mobility granted to her by a magical surgeon from Pakistan working in Ireland. A man of God. Every day was now a gift, and not to be wasted. So with great enthusiasm, the hallmark of my mother, she booked us into a workshop in Tuscany, Italy.
From Nice, France we boarded a train and travelled for a full day, changing stations and languages and finally arriving at a renovated watermill in the hills of Tuscany. Our watercolor workshop began the next morning under the guidance of Fabiano, a sweet Brazilian man, assisted by his equally sweet wife. My mother has been working with this medium for years; I find it very challenging and so avoid it, but a good watercolor must be one of my favorite art forms.
Fabiano specialized in flowers, and there were plenty of wild ones growing around to choose from, and a market nearby with sunflowers and such like to make for good subject matter. The most successful day was mid-way through the workshop when all the other students left for a tour of the area and Mum and I were left alone to paint with no interruptions. I had never done a workshop, and there were good things about it of course, but the late starts and demos and meals and tea-breaks are not conducive to The Flow. Silence and no people is what you need.
I learnt a lot: some pigments are transparent and others are not; some stain and others lift; mistakes CAN be lifted if the right brush and paper and paint are being used; the medium lends itself really well to and abstract feel but an ability to see and draw are fundamental…
Its a free way to paint in some ways, and is so light that it makes the soul exhale and feel peace… and I can see how studies could be really inspirational steps towards larger and gentle oils. Meaning that the softness of watercolor would lighten the effect of oil paintings, that can become heavy quite easily.
And the tooth of the w/c paper could lead to interesting staining on the canvas. Not that the watercolor painting is in anyway less than an oil, but oils don’t limit the size of the piece, which the paper does.
I have a lot to learn; I constantly over-worked, as usual, but I really enjoyed the immersion and would like to continue… I tried to put into practice what I learnt upon my return to Jamaica but sadly became disheartened without my mother’s encouragement to keep me going!