A Virtual Watercolor Workshop with Smithsonian American Art Museum

Last week, I had the opportunity to teach via the Smithsonian American Art Museum Luce Center—Virtual Beyond the Studio Workshop. I am excited to share that it was a sold-out virtual workshop, building on the success of previous years and such a large platform that SAAM has. As an artist and instructor, there's nothing quite like the joy of teaching to a lot of people, and this experience was no exception. I forgot to take a screenshot of all of us in the zoom, but I can guarantee it was my largest virtual class yet! 

I want to take you on a quick round up of the workshop- we explored some essential techniques, and then painted apricots using these foundational skills that I use in each of my own watercolor paintings.

Conducting a virtual workshop via Zoom brings its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. To ensure a the best experience for participants, we sent out kits containing all the fundamental supplies needed for the course. By providing the necessary tools in advance, everyone was able to dive right into the creative process. I had two cameras, my iphone shooting my desk view from above and my laptop camera for the profile angle. 

During the workshop, I guided participants through concepts such as wet in wet, glazing and even scrumbling! By equipping participants with these skills and this vocabulary, I hope that participants are able to create work in their own style utilizing these new ideas while putting a definition to each concept.

Apricots, with their vibrant colors and simple shape, were our muse. By observing these fruits up close and personal, participants understood how the fruit could be simply rendered (drawing circles on the page) and that we could just focus on the techniques to illuminate the shapes themselves in different ways. Through layering washes and glazing techniques, and understanding the interplay of light and shadow, participants were able to illuminate their fruit with vibrancy depth, and a true range of value. A particular highlight was exploring the final touches of one my favorite concepts—rendering drop shadows—which added a touch of magic and three-dimensionality to our watercolors.

Teaching brings me a ton of joy. Although I prefer teaching in person, I was able to witness the satisfaction and progress of many of the participants in this virtual experience. The positive feedback and exceptional artwork created by participants they shared later over Instagram was awesome!

The virtual watercolor workshop with the Smithsonian American Art Museum Luce Center was super fun and educational - I hope to continue to teach these experiences. I am grateful for the opportunity and connect with fellow artists and share my skills.

If you're looking for a similar experience or want to explore watercolor, I encourage you to join future workshops or courses.  Check out my upcoming classes, and see and even greater variety of classes that SAAM has to offer, here too!