Workshop preparation

This is an important page  for people taking a workshop from me.    This page will tell you what to bring and how to prepare for the class.  You will be directed to go to other pages on this site, and follow the instructions on certain things, such as paper preparation, i.e.  There is also a list of items that you should bring with you to the workshop.  If you go by the list in advance, you will have time to search for, and purchase, the necessary items.

       Even a 2 day workshop goes by very quickly.  I can't stress enough the importance of being ready on the opening day of the class.  Everyone in the class benefits greatly from the fact that we don't have to stop and resolve problems that could have, and should have,  been handled long before the workshop began.  Also, the other students and the instructor, are not required to provide items for students who are not prepared.   Borrowing is a poor habit to get into, so bring your own stuff, and make sure its the right stuff.  Be ready to paint. Don't expect the instructor or other students to have to wait for you. If everyone comes prepared, and we go about this like it is an important job, our workshop will be very successful. 



     !.  Paper.  (Number one in importance, and maybe my pet peeve!)


     I am lucky because I am blessed with wonderful students.  We don't always agree on everything.  We have our own preferrences.   Even though I am the instructor, my opinion counts very little in some matters.  The type of watercolor paper to use,  and its preperation, for example, seems to be one area in which I have little influence.  It is a pity that not all students heed my suggestions, at least until they are experienced enough to make a more informed decision.  I'm not only referring to paper, but many issues.  Some of the students are soooooo opinionated on the type of paper, and other things, that I feel they would stop coming to class if I insisted that they conform and follow suggestions.  Therefore, it is up to the individual if they decide to do what I suggest, however, we cannot wait for slowpokes, if you use inferior paper or paints, or anything else that causes you to have great difficulity, remember that the rest of us will not wait up for you.  We will move on and you will have to get by.  If you follow the suggestions below, you cannot go wrong.!

     If you go to the page on this site that says "paper preparation", it will tell  you precisely what kind of paper to use and how to prepare it.  When I was learning, my instructor only allowed one type of paper.  That was Arches 300 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper.   He was a very gentle spirit, but there was no room for compromise when it came to the type of paper he wanted us to use.  Nobody argued with him about it either.  Some of us may have wanted to try other paper in class, but nobody had the nerve.  There was an 18 month waiting list to attend his regular classes, lose your place, and you went  to the bottom of the list.  I for one was not ready to test him over something that seemed trivial at the time.

     Since that time, I have gained much insite about watercolor paper.  In my opinion, he was absolutely right!  It holds water longer, giving us more time to work.  It doesn't buckle, and  because of its thickness, it can withstand greater scrubbing and general abuse. (I guess if an Artist gets to that point with a painting, they may want to think about starting a new one.)  The point is a great paper!

     Sharing my experience with you,  I can tell you  that I've seen many watercolor paintings that were trashed because of the quality (or lack thereof) of the paper that was used.  I've seen countless paintings that would have been helped, if only Arches, 300 lb. paper would have been used!  I've seen many potientialy fine watercolor students become very discouraged and confused, only because of the paper they chose.

     It is a pain to have to prepare your paper the way I suggest.  It will take time to learn how to do it correctly each time.  Other people will suggest (and insist!) on trying it "their" way.  Other instructors may even scoff at you.  Stick to your guns, do it until you get it down pat, and eventually you will come to class with a paper that is stretched drum tight.  The board you use to stretch it on will be pulled together, and it will be bowed.  When you wet your paper, it will remain flat and tight, no buckeling.  Other students will ask you how you manage to get your paper so tight. (Yes, honestly!)  The instructor who may have scoffed in the beginning, may even approach you to learn your secret.  (Although maybe not openly!) Believe me, it would make his job much easier if the entire class used this same method. 

     There are some "block" papers that seem to work alright, but I can't tell you  who the  makers of the good ones are.    Several of my students have wound  up in class with a "block" of watercolor paper that gives them trouble from the start.   It is difficult to discribe the damage control that I have to do because of bad paper,  not to the watercolor painting, but to the ego's of the discouraged artists!





Watercolor Pigments (Paints!)


(The second most important item to bring to a workshop!)



     Buy Winsor Newton proffessional grade watercolor pigments!  Trust me on this.  Remember to invest a few dollars more and get "proffessional" grade pigments (Windsor Newton)  Here again, I've had Artists on the verge of giving up on painting because of poor substitutes. 




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Gene Drake

Cave Junction, Oregon 97523

Phone: (541) 592-4298


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