By Pat Renner
During the last four days in April, Gold Beach artists had an opportunity to develop their landscape skills under the leadership of watercolor legend Harold Walkup. Watching his demonstrations is an enchanting experience in which one almost forgets to take notes.
Harold is a great teacher who knows how to get students warmed up by challenging them to exchange a non-objective color experiment with their neighbor, who then forgets routine procedures and favorite colors to solve an unusual problem. He begins his demonstration by loosely referring to a sketch, which he shares with his students. Students are free to adhere closely to the sketch or range away in their own imaginations, which is a great technique when a teacher is dealing with beginners, as well as painters with more experience. Harold’s kind and informative teaching style made the afternoon critique session a helpful tool for improving our work, tailored to our individual experience level.
Choosing subject matter that could be anywhere in our area, Walkup sprinkles techniques such as scraping out, adding action lines, using an unusual brush, and casually throwing out hints as how to brighten up a dark painting with new methods such as preparing rough paper with a thin layer of liquid acrylic. He even did a quick demo of rolling waves with a rainy sky, which we have seen many times this last winter. It’s time to observe and practice!
We were also fortunate to view a slide show of Harold’s sojourn in Spain where he, and his wife Judy, made many friends and gave demos to groups of Spanish watercolorists. His paintings from that trip were gorgeous and his gentle humor was greatly appreciated. Finally, Harold Walkup gave us the tools to achieve a finished landscape and the inspiration to paint, while going on to make our own discoveries.