Boston Travel Sketching Workshop 2019. Shapes. Colour. Letting go.

At last it was time to meet up for our 2019 Travel Sketch Workshop. The weather on Sunday was iffy so it was the large and grand Explorateur Restaurant which became our studio.
It’s always a good place for we sketchers with it’s big variety of seating. We were very happy with our booth and later the Library and we could order when we liked.

My Workshops focus on getting the simple shapes down and completing detail later. Same with colour. We apply colour to a sketch and focus on the centre to bring your eye in. Always done in the time you have.
It’s a jigsaw. You're deconstructing what is there and putting it back together. Everyone does well at this once they get the idea. We simply don’t worry about whether our sketch matches what we see. It’s just an impression and not a likeness. Today we sketched whatever was on the table for our warmup first sketch.

At the same time we’re discussing how remarkable is our limited sketch kit. Every colour under the sun will come for those 10 colours.. How to hold the pen. How to use aquarelle pencil to get fast coverage and quickly. Making notes on things of importance such as layering colours and leaving whites.

It rained heavily but we were cosy and busy. Lunch was ordered and we restored our strength. On with sketching we went.

The next day was about getting loose with watercolour. We’d quickly done a sunflower sketch late on the afternoon before, as a couple of students wouldn’t be with us for the 2nd day. We had reference for a box of sunflowers (thank you Clare) so that became our subject. Plan the page then put down your big main shapes in black pen. Now scribble your chinagraph round outside of petals and leaves.

Get your 8 watercolours paints ready in your palette and begin to lay big strokes of one colour. Load your clean brush and run another colour down. In 20 minutes we were done. And they looked fab. No time for fussing. There is an impression of your sunflowers.

Once we’d done a page of watercolour swatches using just those colours we were ready to go on location.

Along the sunny pathways we wandered enjoying the new leaves bursting forth on all the tress. Such delicious greens and a perfect view of the Statehouse peeking through them in the background.

That was to be our sketch. Let’s do a thumbnail in both portrait and landscape to see which we like. The value here is that you’ve observed all your elements and how you’ll put them on your page.

Once done we went on and nutted out the main sketch. What we all loved is seeing how differently we all put down the same subject. Watercolurs out and our colours ready in the palette, and off we go. Big strokes, side of the brush. Next colour and let it go over the first. Look at that lovely loose blend. Now more. keep working over you whole work to help you know where to put more darks and where to leave light.

What a great couple of days. Every sketch was loose and the colours so rich. So there it was. Another successful workshop with very happy sketchers who’d all learned new tricks and techniques.

It was a joy to teach you and I look forward to sketching with you again sometime soon.

Click here to order the Erin Hill Cotman’s watercolour set.

More Workshops to come. Watch this space.

Erin Hill