I just finished an intensive and immensely rewarding online conference Watercolor Live! It was three days from morning to night with live demos from watercolorists around the world. It has been a long time since I paid to go to a workshop and even if I didn’t know most of the featured artists, I felt like I needed a creative break.
Seeing the range of styles and approaches was the most valuable for me, and what I try to teach and pass on to my own students. To find your own style, subject, and a process that fits…it’s not an easy challenge to meet, but worth the effort and determination to be true to one’s self without becoming just a fan and copying others. A mentor once told me to NOT look at any so-called living master, only the dead ones, because he felt it could unduly influence me and my style and my confidence as I was still developing my own voice.
I watched were Thomas Schaller painting while verbalizing his process and philosophy. I paid for the 60 day online pass because I knew I would not be able to absorb everything in 3 days from my experience going to film festivals. There is only so much popcorn you can chow down in one sitting and you need time to reflect on the impressions and experience. And to eat and keep hydrated. The majority of the artists were generous, articulate and together with the variety, it made for a intense, rewarding time. I got validation from watching and listening to some of my techniques and philosophy regarding what makes watercolor fun, challenging, and fascinating. I learned a few new techniques that I have adapted to my own toolbox. I made mental notes of what makes a good instructor so I can improve my instruction, and I also made note of becoming clearer in my own motivations and inspiration as an artist.