Having hardly touched watercolour in the last 18 months - mainly because I didn't know what I was doing - I decided it was time to learn some of the basics and so I signed up for Nigel Street's Understanding Watercolour weekend.
My confidence rose as soon as I began to put a small wash yesterday. Why? Because Nigel had provided artist's quality paint together with a block of Bockingford paper and a range of good brushes everything worked the way he had shown us. He had already explained the merits of various papers, brushes and paints. Using the good quality materials he supplied was a dream compared with my previous experiences.
As the weekend progressed we learnt to distinguish the properties and behaviours of soluble and insoluble pigments, what would give reasonable granulation, colour mixing and a range of techniques. I felt really good about my graduated washes. They were not as smooth as those in Nigel's demonstration but I was still quite happy as I now belief that with practice I could produce something pleasing.
Demonstration, followed by a chance to practice and receive helpful comments and guidance were all important. However, learning the basic theory about pigment and colour and technique has provided some fundamental building blocks for watercolour painting and gives a framework on which to build.
I have several books on watercolour painting but none have distilled the fundamentals in such an accessible way as this weekend course. Thank you Nigel!