Thursday, 8 April 2010

Dubai workshop - Painting Portraits in Watercolour

"When I grow up, I want to be......."
   

Recently I held my first workshop in Dubai. Yes I did say first! No one can hold workshops without having a first one, although I do teach on a one-to-one basis.

I was very fortunate to be visiting two wonderful friends in the UAE, Chris and Pat Southcombe. Chris is a professional artist and Pat a retired Art Gallery Manager. They organised and arranged everything for the workshop, so I knew everything that needed to be done, would be done professionally, and all I was left to do was teach.

Although I know there is still so much out there for me to learn, I am at the stage where I am comfortable with my art to teach others, although initially the idea of doing this to a class full of students was a little daunting. I thought on the years of being a retail manager and holding meetings, along with a few, but very valuable words from Chris, which I will always remember and suddenly put me at ease.."Just be yourself"

I visited the art centre the day before to get a feel of the space that had been given to me, and to organise the room. My main thoughts were that of the students. That they enjoy the day, be inspired when they leave, and have learnt something new to take away with them to experiment with, so they too can move forward with their art. I thought long and hard on this and recalled the few workshops I had been to, what worked, what didn't. I was fortunate to have recently been to a workshop by Trevor Waugh, and learned a lot from his way of teaching. I wanted to achieve that balance of showing them how to, by doing demos, along with time to work on a one-to-one with each student continuously as they set off to try what they had learnt, stepping in with the next demo when needed. This turned out to be very successful.

The morning of the workshop saw us up at 5am and on the road to Dubai by 6am. This meant we avoided any traffic delays from Sharjah to Dubai. We arrived at 7am, 2 hours before the workshop started, making sure we were well prepared for anything the students may have forgotten. Extra paper, water pots, paints, brushes, rubbers, everything in fact that one needs at a workshop.

Students arrived on time and set up their equipment eagerly awaiting to start. We started the day by working on preparing their drawings for the portraits. I then did a small demonstration on painting daises loosely, explaining what I was doing and why. The students then spent 15 minutes just loosening up. There was a lot of laughter as most of them hadn't painted my way before. This helped to relax everyone before starting on their large white clean sheet of paper.


I had decided it would be easier for everyone if we all painted the same image. I had pre drawn and we produced large images of the photograph for those who were not confident in drawing, to be able to trace it. Unfortunately we had not time for  portrait drawing lessons, and the aim of the workshop was to paint a portrait in watercolour.
 
Everyone gathered around my table and I started a demo of a portrait from one of my own photos of my grandson Isi. My first demo was to paint the portrait starting with an overall wash of colours. I worked so far then they all went off to have a go. This was followed by demos on how to paint the features. I then showed them an alternative way by starting with the eye and painting out from there. This was very well received.

The end of the day came round far to quickly. I was so pleased that the students had a finished portrait to take away with them, and some even went onto a 2nd one. The enthusiasm was wonderful to see and be part of. I had produced a step by step guide for painting eyes, a colour chart for skin tones and a colour properties guide for them to take away with them.


Everyone had a wonderful time and I know I certainly did. I have received nothing but positive comments from all the students, along with being asked when I will be returning to do another workshop.


* * * * *
I owe a very special thanks to two wonderful friends, Chris and Pat Southcombe. They played a very large part in making this happen and the whole day very successful, fun and professional. This I shall always remember and be forever thankful for.


28 comments:

Cindi said...

stephie.. you know how proud i am of you and your fantastic art!!!!!!! its about time you step out and let the world see how wonderfully talented you are.. and besides that,unbelievably humble, kind and caring..

i can tell by the results of their paintings and the smiles on their faces.. they loved every second!!..those folks were sooooo lucky... i wish i lived closer i'd been their in a flash!!

chris and pat knew it was time and i'm so glad they gave you that much needed, gentle nudge!!

way to go, my friend!!! enjoy every second of this wonderful journey!! you deserve every second!! you are the best!!

Stephie Butler said...

Cindi...Thank you so much.. I really do wish you could have been there too, along with all my friends, now wouldn't that be fun.. I know someday we will meet in person, and I'm so looking forward to it, guess I better start saving eh :)

Stephie

Deb Townsend said...

Stephie, I'm just so glad you posted all about your workshop! It looks like everyone had such a fantastic time and you can certainly see that they learned so much by the pics of what they're working on.

I'm just so proud of you! You're such a wonderful artist and have so much to share. I just can't wait for you to do your first workshop in the USA!!!! We're waiting!!!

Ruth S Harris said...

Congratulations Stephie, I can't think of anyone more deserving of success!

Your workshop was clearly very well planned and organised, no wonder everyone enjoyed it! One day I hope I'll see you paint in person again.

jaytee said...

Stephie...... great to see the photos of what was quite clearly - from the participant's faces and paintings - a hugely successful event...... you deserve every second of that success...... you have such enormous talent... and great personality .. it simply HAD to be a winner... that they want you to return is the biggest compliment of all....

I can't wait to see you in action down at the Kington Gallery .... I am already getting excited at the prospect.....its looking a bit different from when you last saw it .. but not different enough just yet for showing off the star you are fast becoming !!!

Stephie Butler said...

Deb...You are so sweet, thank you so much..To watch the paintings they were doing and the concentration was amazing and reward in itself.

You don't know how much I would love to come visit you all. I've been hinting to Dave :D

Stephie Butler said...

Ruth, thank you...Hopefully it won't be so long.. We are still looking at houses your way, so it could become a regular thing :)

Stephie Butler said...

Thanks so much JT... I would never have done this without Chris & Pat, they are so professional and taught me so much, apart from all the hard work they put in..We deserved those G&T's afterwards as well :D...

I'm so looking forward to the opening of your gallery, I saw the photos on your blog and it's already looking amazingly different...

Nora Mackin said...

Congratulations Stephie on having as I can see a very successful workshop. Yep would like to see you paint in real life one day soon.

Christiane Kingsley said...

Congratulations, Stephie, on this first of many successful workshops. Your students were very lucky to have a dedicated and talented instructor like you.

Melissa Fischer said...

What a wonderful write-up, Stephie, of what was clearly a well-received workshop. I love the photos of the smiling participants!

I am so excited for you that you have taught your first workshop (and so true that everyone needs to start with a first) and gotten off to a great start. Deb and I will definitely be starting to line up people for when you come here to do another workshop. I can hardly wait for the day when I can attend a workshop you teach.

I am so proud of you and so glad Pat and Chris urged and helped you take this step.

Fábio Cembranelli said...

Hi Stephie, congratulations, I agree with them, you're a very talented artist, I'm sure your workshop was excellent. The workshop pics are wonderful!

Jutta said...

Hi Stephie,
i can only echo what everyone else said.
Now that your first workshop was such a huge success I'm sure all the following will be too!!!
I'm so happy that Pat and Chris helped you but it's your talent, skills and your love for your art that made the workshop a real success.

Art comes from the heart
and your heart shines through every one of your paintings.

xxxooo
Jutta

Patricia said...

Hi Stephie

What more can I say?
It looks like a excellent workshop,
I only wish I had been there too.
Maybe next time eh? I'm so pleased
you have put this up on your blog,
let everyone see just how talented
and professional you are.

I recognise a couple of faces there, including Pat of course :-)

Well done

Christopher Southcombe said...

Stephie, it was a huge pleasure having you out here and so rewarding to see you in action. Had I been one of the students I would never have thought this was your first workshop. There was no sign of any of your professed nervousness. You were so calm, so natural and exuded confidence, as though this was an everyday event for you. Several of the students subsequently told me they felt so much at ease, you were so approachable. They all told me how much they got from the workshop and how much they had enjoyed the day.

To put it bluntly Stephie, you were good, very good, and highly professional. It was well worth all the effort that went into it. This must be the beginning of many workshops that will soon make you a household name in the world of watercolour - and richly deserved.

We are both proud of you. The naval signal code BZ - Bravo Zulu - meaning well executed, well done, always seemed to me to carry a lot more meaning than simply 'well done'. So, BRAVO ZULU!

Fernando Pena said...

Stephie, congratulations, I know you enjoyed it and also all the smiling faces say they also completed a great workshop.

Stephie Butler said...

Thanks Nora...I couldn’t think of anything I would like to do more....

Stephie Butler said...

Thank you Christiane for a really lovely comment...

Stephie Butler said...

Melissa, thank you so much, you are so sweet and your words really mean a lot to me... You don’t know how much I would love to come and meet you all over there.. and especially to be able to paint with you...

Stephie Butler said...

Thanks so much Fabio.... One day I hope I can make it to one of yours, that really would be something I’ve dreamed of.....

Stephie Butler said...

Jutta.... I have missed talking to you so much over the past couple of years, and am so glad we are finally back in touch with each other. You know how much I appreciate you words... Thank you so much...Hugs

Stephie Butler said...

Hi Tricia....thanks so much for stopping by, really appreciate it.. maybe you’ll be there the next time, and we can actually meet in person....

Stephie Butler said...

Well what can I say Chris... Thanks just doesn’t go anywhere near to saying what I feel for both you and Pat, and everything you’ve done for me. You know how much it’s appreciated and always will be.... and I haven’t forgotten our bet either :, so you best be working hard :D

My love to you both for everything.

Stephie Butler said...

Hi Fernando, so good of you to stop by and comment, thank you so much... have missed seeing you on the forum lately, hope your not working too hard...

becky joy said...

Glad you had a good workshop. Your work is beautiful. The eyes and personality in this painting are wonderful

Stephie Butler said...

Thank you so much Becky for stopping by and taking the time to comment. It really is appreciated so much...

Joanna said...

Stephie, I'm so happy for you that the workshop was a succes!!!!
I didn't expect anything else then SUPER!!!!
And I know all the participants had an excellent day and learnt a lot, because we paint together so many times.
Keep going girl!!!

Stephie Butler said...

Joanna....Sorry a bit late in catching up here...

Thank you so much, and for being there with me along the way. Hopefully we'll be able to get some painting time together later in the year .....

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