Explorations in Transparent and Opaque Watercolor
Our program is intentional about encouraging students to indulge in their passions and channel their creativity. Through our Watercolor course, students have the opportunity to explore a versatile medium and in turn, cultivate their own artistry. Watercolor is a popular medium for professional artists and illustrators. Historically, the scale of watercolors has ranged from the miniature to the monumental, and the portability of watercolor has made it the favored medium for travelers.
Within this one-week course, students explore a number of techniques and styles:
- Transparent watercolor: Students will learn traditional and experimental techniques in transparent watercolor and savor its unique luminosity.
- Gouache: The saturated opacity of opaque watercolor (gouache) will compliment skills learned with transparent watercolor in individual and combined paintings.
- Authentic gold-leaf: This will be available for students who wish to learn how to utilize its decorative effects and appreciate how gold-leaf has been used in traditional and contemporary art.
Various supplies and materials will be provided for this course. We provide Windsor, Newton-Cotman, and Holbein paints as well as Arches watercolor paper in cold-press and hot-press surfaces so that students will understand the quality of professional-level materials. Students should bring a small sketchbook to work out ideas.
Simplified Class Schedule:
- Day 1 (9:00 -12:00):
- Transparent watercolor techniques with cold-press paper
- Painting Lesson I: Abstract multi-color pattern painting with hard-edged transparent layers
- Painting Lesson II: wet-in-wet technique creating a series of luminous soft-edged shapes and patterns
- Day 2 (9:00-12:00 & 2:00-4:00):
- Transparent watercolor – controlled wet-edge technique
- A colorful still-life will help students appreciate how to create a realistic painting using this technique
- Day 3 (9:00-12:00):
- Gouache – color study with hot-press paper
- A painting of an abstracted or camouflaged object introduced students to the unique opaque quality of gouache with its high degree of saturated color
- Color theory principles will be utilized such as complimentary colors and simultaneous contrast
- Day 4 (9:00-12:00 & 2:00-4:00):
- Transparent watercolor and Gouache combination painting
- Students will first create a transparent watercolor ground using experimental techniques with salt, straws, eye droppers and spray bottles
- They will overlay shapes and forms of their invention in gouache
- The use of gold-leaf will also be introduced
- Day 5 (9:00-12:00):
- Open painting project day
- Students may utilize any of the techniques previously learned to create a painting or series of paintings of their choice.
While students will appreciate the length of time allowed to complete each project, short presentations on traditional and contemporary watercolor will compliment course projects and teach a short history of the medium. While working on paintings in class, many conversations and discussions naturally occur, these have included college portfolio preparation and career options in the arts.
Faculty: Characterized as stunningly contemporary, Kathryn Myers, MFA, Professor of Art for UConn's Art and Art History Department, is returning for her third summer with the Pre-College Summer program. She is an acclaimed watercolor artist who has been teaching for over three decades. Her early works in transparent watercolor were large-scale narratives and her recent works in transparent watercolor and gouache were inspired by her frequent visits to India including three Fulbright Fellowships in 2002, 2012 and 2014. View Professor Myers' work at KathrynMyers.org.