Calico Art - Carol Vaage

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Artist Studies - In-person classes

A blank white paper, a new palette, great brushes, and panic sets in! I had several teachers that helped me past that blank page fear, walking me through different aspects of art, opening my mind, removing the blocks of internal messages of ‘you are not an artist’.

Kathryn Hines

My family gifted me a watercolour sketchbook class offered by the City of Edmonton with Kathryn Hines. At our first session, Kathryn set up a still life arrangement consisting of a green teapot, white creamer, olive vase, an orange, and a blue and white checked tablecloth. Our tools? 3 primary colours squeezed onto a foam plate, a piece of paper, and an unruly mid-sized Chinese paintbrush. Frankly, I was stunned, but gave it a shot. Then the group critiqued all the paintings. Amazingly, mine was not the worst, nor the best, and to me, it seemed like my colour mixing was awesome. 

You can see the objects are floating, and the teapot has a unique shape. I chose not to attempt all the still-life objects but loved the beautiful background effects.

Kathryn helped me become bolder with pencil lines and sketching. I learned how to do amazing gradients. She also opened my eyes to the difference between realistic and loose paintings. I began to see the beginnings of my favorite art style.

Edmonton Lifelong Learners Association (ELLA)

Every spring, ELLA holds three week-long spring session classes at the University of Alberta. The daily art classes were almost 3 hours, so a great deal of information and practice was shared. Two of the artists I studied with Susanne Lamoureux and Frances Alty-Arscott

Susanne Lamoureux

Beginner Drawing – Definitely not in my wheelhouse. But with Susanne’s teaching expertise, I learned so many new skills and techniques. We explored pencils of different values, graphite, and charcoal. Experimenting with paper textures and erasers, we selected different photos to represent.



Watercolour Pencils – Susanne offered other courses that I took as well, such as Watercolour Pencils, and Pencil Crayons. She helped me learn layering, glazing, and patience.



Frances Alty-Arscott

Frances drew me in to her watercolour style with the brilliant, vibrant colours and bold strokes. We learned how to represent impressionistically rather than realistically. Frances had us work through value studies of our photos, followed by colour studies before we began working on the actual painting. Focusing on the light source and shadows, we learned to create dimension in our paintings. The technique of using masking tape to block out areas for trees was a fantastic tip (below left). She praised me for my mark making with flicks and palette knife work (below right).



Willie Wong

Willie is a favorite art teacher in Edmonton, offering 6-week courses through the South-West Seniors Association (SWESA) watercolour and acrylics. He brings detailed drawings and guides us step-by-step to produce a stunning, beautiful realistic painting. I’ve taken a few of his courses, and his wealth of knowledge and practical tips that he shares are amazing. He has an affinity for his not-so-clean palette and demonstrated how adding different colours here and there can make a painting pop.



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