Since my previous post, many events have occurred. The COVID-19 outbreak has posed a few challenges that have been difficult to work through, but I have found solutions that can keep my in-depth project progressing at the rate I would like it to be. Prior to spring break, I had two meetings with my mentor Nina. During the first meeting, she went over some of the basics of watercolour painting. Nina taught Amin and I about the basics with materials, colour theory, and the different watercolour techniques. Nina would demonstrate the techniques and we would practice after observing her. This worked well because we had time to take in the information and we had sufficient time to ask any questions.
An overview of what I learned in meeting #1:
Basics with materials:
- Tape paper down because it keeps the paper from moving around or curling. It also creates a clean border for the painting which makes it more visually appealing.
- White is not used for watercolour painting. Unlike acrylic where you would add white to make a colour a lighter shade, in watercolour you can just add water.
- Leaving negative space (white spaces) in your painting can be used effectively. For example, you may use negative space to create highlights in your paintings.
- Graduated wash
- Mixing hues
- Building values
At the end of our mentoring session, Nina gave us a homework assignment for our next meeting. The assignment was to create a small abstract painting that has 4 layers, each layer for one of the techniques learned. We were to choose and use a specific colour theme so I choose warm colours (pink, orange, and yellow).
My Abstract Painting
Two weeks later, we had our second meeting. First, we discussed the abstract paintings and reflected on what went well and what we could work on. Following that, Nina went over some more basic skills for our lesson. We learned about glazes, wet-on-dry applications, mixing neutrals and flesh tones, and layering. Similar to the first meeting, Nina walked us through and demonstrated the techniques while we would watch and follow along.
These are examples of layering with different shapes:
Nina left us with a few homework/practice assignments to complete over the break. The assignments are painting 3 shapes and a bottle using the layering techniques, a small still life painting with 3 objects, and to take a photo to use for watercolour painting for the next meeting. Through these two meetings, I feel that I have learned so much from Nina and I now have a basic understanding of watercolour painting. Although COVID-19 has presented obstacles for in-depth, looking towards the positive side of this situation, I have had a lot of extra time while social distancing. Taking advantage of all the spare time I’ve spent at home, I have been working on those assignments mentioned earlier and practicing to improve my skills.
1. What has been my most difficult mentoring challenge so far? Why?
The most difficult mentoring challenge I have come across so far has been meeting with my mentor. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, schools will remain closed until further notice and the meetings we had set up were all during school hours. Although this may be an obstacle to my learning, there are ways around it. This has been the most difficult challenge to deal with because we had all our meetings outlined with what we were going to learn during each one so our learning will have to take a different direction. We will have to find a way to work around this and to meet with Nina. To make up for the meetings that will be missed, we found that it would be a good idea to set up group video conferences between Nina, Amin, and I. That way, we can still learn, just at home, and we still have the ability to ask questions and receive feedback on our progress.
2. What is working well? Why?
Something that is working well is the structure and flow of our mentor meetings. Since our meetings are short in length, it is very important that we know what we want to accomplish for each meeting so we can continue to grow and improve and make the most out of each meeting. I feel that this has worked very well because we planned what each meeting would look like by creating an outline before the first meeting took place. This is especially helpful now, due to the fact that there most likely will not be any more meetings face-to-face. The outline has also been useful because I can look back on it as a reminder of what concepts we have gone over, and I can look ahead for what is to come during the next meetings.
3. What could be working better? How can you make sure this happens?
Something that could be working better for my in-depth project is communication with my mentor outside of the meetings. I have realized that since our last meeting, I have not contacted my mentor many times. As stated earlier, setting up frequent video conferences would strengthen the communication between my mentor and I. To make sure to improve on communication, I will make an effort to message Nina every week to update her on my progress, ask questions as needed, and discuss what our plan will be going forward. Strengthening our communication outside of the bi-weekly meetings will not only be useful to my growth in watercolour painting, but it will also strengthen my relationship with Nina.
Overall, I am satisfied with the progress I have made over the past few weeks and I am looking forward to learning more and improving as my in-depth journey continues. Stay safe and stay tuned for more updates.