Intro to Watercolor class, Charlestown Library

Over the weekend, I was pleased to discover several art classes offered at public libraries throughout Boston.  Yesterday I went to the first of four classes offered by local artist, Elisa Solignac, at the Charlestown Public Library.  Lest anyone think I might have some drawing ability (at least not without instruction), this class demonstrated my lack of innate ability.   It’s a good thing I’m teachable.

We started with a couple of drawing exercises.  After repeatedly telling us to take a close look at the still life she’d composed, she covered it and asked us to draw it from memory.  I have no clue as to the purpose of that exercise, unless perhaps it was to see how we drew something we couldn’t see.

Drawing the still life from memory.  My attempt at creating folds in the cover cloth is pretty hilarious.  The items are floating above the cloth, and I have no idea why everything is so small. 

The next exercise was one of my favorite types of exercises:  we were to draw the still life without looking at the paper.  I often seem to do better when I’m looking at the form rather than the paper.  The exercise works well if you’re drawing a single object–e.g. a hand or model–but not so much for a multi-item still life.

Drawing without looking at the paper.  The draping of the cloth is the best of all attempts.  There’s more perspective in the table legs too. 

We were then told to paint the composition.  The only instruction we were given is that light blue and purple are useful for shadows when something is white.  I wouldn’t expect a beginning watercolor to feature so much white (table cover and bowl were both white and the bottle was clear) and multi-level no less.

1st watercolor attempt — that blue blob at the bottom doesn’t belong there and my attempt at fabric folds on the left side was a complete failure.  There’s also no sense of perspective identifying the table as such.  There’s maybe a hint of it being multi-level.  I didn’t even attempt to paint a white bowl on a white cloth.
With some instruction, this might have turned into a decent piece.  I like how the clear part of the glass bottle turned out.  The table cover definitely needs work.  My attempt to use blue and purple to highlight the cover folds and create perspective was a big fail.

I was really looking forward to the class but left kind of frustrated.  Unfortunately there was no instruction.  I heard someone comment to another that when they took the same class last year with the same instructor, at the end everyone felt they got at least one thing from the class, as if that was a consolation.  I won’t be able to make the next class; whether or not I return for the final two classes remains in the air.  At least I learned one thing…I’m seriously in need of instruction on perspective!

Up next in about an hour…figure drawing with Elle!


2 thoughts on “Intro to Watercolor class, Charlestown Library

  1. I think that you did pretty well with the fruit, especially the apples in the foreground on your first attempt. Drawing still life is difficult and watercolor is such a loose medium, I found it challenging to use for figurative work. Abstract, no problem. I froze the first time I had to draw a still life with others around me. It was an admission’s test for Framingham State (art major). At the end of the test, I had nothing on the paper. Needless to say, I wasn’t accepted. You did not fail. You got stuff on the paper.


  2. I love seeing the difference in the sketches with you looking at the items and not looking at them.. I have such little artistic talent with drawing that all of this seems pretty good to me.. I look forward to seeing more and hearing about your experience!


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