Botanical Watercolor Class with Rene Eisenbart-Day 1

I took the first of 5 classes in Botanical Watercolor painting with Rene Eisenbart yesterday, and I thought I’d share a little bit with you (The class is held every Tuesday).

This is a beginning to intermediate class, and I’m taking it because I’m at a point where I’m teaching myself as many bad habits as good ones.  I keep falling back on techniques I’ve learned from pen & ink and oil and acrylic.  I want to create watercolor paintings, not just paintings done with watercolor paint.  There is a big difference.

I’m taking a beginner’s class because when you are self-taught you can easily miss learning things that make your journey much easier.  Therefore, I wasn’t surprised that most of this first class was in the basics of drawing.  We didn’t start actual painting.  We discussed materials, what we wanted from the class and then did some blind contour drawing (you look at what you are drawing, but are forbidden to look at the paper as you draw).

Rene’s a lively speaker, and engages with the students.  She suggests materials and techniques, but doesn’t insist on them.  She’ll be looking for ways to help us polish our own style, not to slavishly emulate hers.  I didn’t get to paint in this session, but I’m convinced I’ve made a wise choice with my teacher.

Her recommendation for brushes were Connoisseur Risslon Daggers and/or Cat’s Tongue.  These are a natural squirrel hair/synthetic mix bristle. (Forgive the way the handles scanned–they are clear acrylic and the scanner had a difficult time, lol!)

The Daggers have a broad bristles that slanst to a sideways point.  The Cat’s tongue is similar but the point is in the middle.

She also recommends a #1 Princeton Liner brush for very fine detail.

I played with the brushes outside of class, and I really like them.  The downside (there always is one) is that if they get to dry, the bristles split apart and become unmanageable.  But when wet, they are a dream–you can switch from a broad stroke to controlled line instantly.  I’m sure as I practice I’ll learn just how wet to keep them.

As watercolor brushes go, these are cheap-around $14.00-$17.00 according to size. 

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