Monday, October 19, 2009

Watercolor Class

The opportunity to work with watercolors never came up while I was studying art in college.  However, the town I live in was offering beginner watercolor classes and a friend pushed me into attending.  She wanted to try the class and needed me to be the "wing man", side-kick, buddy.  I went along thinking, "Ok, I never worked with watercolors before.  Maybe I will learn something." 

We signed up and received a list of all the supplies we needed to bring to the first class.  They described the class as a guide in the use and application of watercolor and "other water media."  I'm thinking this is going to be good. 

Teacher ©2000 Dora Sislian Themelis

The classroom was a big space with a long line-up of tables and chairs.  We found a spot and set up our supplies.  Other students filed in and set-up, too.  Most of the students were retirement age, we were the youngest in the group.  That doesn't bother me in the least, I'm there for the lessons as well as meeting other artists. 

The instructor began the demonstration.  He pulled out a magazine clipping of a painting someone did of a ballerina in a pose.   With his pencil he sketched out the lines of the painting on his stretched watercolor paper.  At this point we didn't receive any instruction in how to lay out the paints, how to stretch the paper and if we should or not, which brush does what, how to manipulate the paint on wet or dry paper, and he's advocating the piracy of another artist's art!  I am floored!

We Are Artists Too ©2000 Dora Sislian Themelis
 Compounding my rage at this guy, the other students were all copying his painting of a painting.  They were actually taking photographs of his painting of a painting so that they could duplicate it at home! My friend loved the class, socializing with the others, taking phone numbers, emails, and having a ball doing that.  I'm flipping out.

I finally asked the instructor when was he going to teach us something.  He didn't answer.  When I asked why he was demonstrating on someone's painting, he had no answer.  I asked if he was going to set up a still life or have a model to paint from, he still had no answer, except to say these students want a demonstration each week.  Well, I thought, let me teach that class and we'd have some quality art work to show for the time we're there! 

Watching the Teacher ©2000 Dora Sislian Themelis
He did not like me and chose to ignore me the rest of the 6 weeks in the class.  I decided then, that I was going to paint him and the rest of the students, like it or not.  He definately did not.  And the students definately did not, as they glared at me while I painted them. 

I taught myself how to use watercolor and loved every minute of my rebellion.


  1. Interesting story! So are you still working on your watercolors? I like what you did!

  2. Thanks Peggy, yes I'm enjoying "my way" of working with watercolors! A few are in my etsy shop now.


The Latest Work With Permission

©Dora Sislian Themelis, 11x14 Watercolor, Patmos Sunset Available for purchase The latest work is from another person's photograph...