Sometimes bringing your camera pays off and you get some inspiring pictures to paint for projects in the future. Like these radishes. (original painting available here). I shot these at a farmers market in Huntsville last spring (and I KNOW I shot a very colorful carrot one, too but for the life of me I can’t find that one!). This was the subject for a watercolor class I taught a few weeks ago and my students were pretty intimidated (at first!) but quickly realized that with the right materials, they could accomplish it if they put their minds to it. I always preach that using the ‘GOOD STUFF’ right off the bat creates eager artists. That being said, I am not a believer in using student grade supplies in my classes I teach. Instead, I give them Ampersand Aquabord, Daniel Smith paints and I even let them use my good brushes (Dynasty’s Black Gold watercolor brushes). Long ago, I took a watercolor class back before I was a watercolor convert and was really turned off by it. I was given flimsy paper, poor paints and very bad brushes to use in order to create what the teacher was painting. It was impossible for me, I failed miserably. :-\ I believed that I was either a bad artist or watercolors were just NOT my medium. (Don’t quit my day job? Gah.) My painting results went into the bin as soon as I got home and I was absolutely against watercolors! They sucked in my book.
But then, my good friend and watercolor mentor Pat Underwood of Cowan, TN gave me some Ampersand Aquabord one day as I attended one of her classes that she convinced me to attend. She urged me to try it, that maybe I just was using the wrong materials and paint. “Use the good stuff! It makes a difference. If you use shit, you will make shit.” She was right. If it wasn’t for her, I would probably still be using pastels and oils… two mediums I love but wasn’t 100% happy with.
Watercolors is my medium, people. Once I went Aquabord, I never went back. Oh yea….
Just my two cents… and I live by that mantra to this day. Use the good stuff.