70. New Botanical Watercolor Courses for Beginners on Saturdays

It will be via Zoom, continuously! 

The pandemic changed our every life dramatically. We have discovered every possible way to get connected and continue our daily activities amidst the frightening uncertainty. The adjustment to online platform, Zoom, was one of the changes I made for my classes, but surprisingly, it became the favorites for my students. To compensate the indirect learning situation in the online classes, I put in extra time and efforts for the class preparation to make each class an effective learning experience. The results have been very rewarding. Both my students and I love having the classes via Zoom. So, we decided to continue the Zoom classes even though we can go back to in-person classes in USA. The continuing Zoom class means people from far away can take this watercolor for beginners! In my current drawing classes on Saturdays I  have people from several states and abroad. Every week, it is fun to say hi to each other, and hear what's happening in many other places. It is ironic to get connected to people near, far and farther due to the lockdown. This is the moment when I feel human capabilities are truly limitless. 

In this watercolor course, I will start from the very beginning stage of learning watercolor materials to understand fully how the tools and materials work and apply them with efficiency. Then basic painting methods and techniques will be introduced with lots of demos and logical explanations. Whenever water is involved in the painting media, the process becomes innately scientific. I always try to explain the painting methods and techniques scientifically so that students will learn them naturally.

Tools &materials

Working conditions

Color mixing/matching and theory

Painting techniques, fixing,  and botany  

Very often the smallest changes, or completely unexpected effects from something else will create different appearances on the plant specimen. For example, the three different light and shadow situations in this photo are the results of just different backdrops. In my class, I help my students be aware of every little possible element that can affect the painting situation and choose what best suits for the purposes. 


Then, there are challenging parts in mixing and painting green leaves. Fresh and lively leaves are something botanical artists have to master in order to create scientifically informative paintings with live specimens. However, green leaves are not as pleasant as they sound for botanical artists. Some practices and good methods will help us achieve what we want. 

Another important area I emphasize in the beginner's course is color mixing in general. In botanical art instructions, we usually focus on color matching section by section. However, in the painting progress colors with water won't remain in a restricted area, and furthermore, we have to take advantage of the natural flow of the water and paint in especially transparent watercolor. Therefore, we need to understand the full color dynamics in broader way to get over fear and hesitation in the painting progress. Understanding color mixing with  3 primaries is very helpful, even though other paint tubes will be added to our palette. And, of course, mistakes happen and it is not the end of the world. There are ways to fix the mistakes to certain extent. 

When the most of the attention falls in the painting techniques and the aesthetic aspect of the painting, the scientific aspect will fall short in the botanical art/illustration. Without the sufficient scientific information, the painting might become a floral or decorative painting with its main focus on the pretty picture of a plant. With this reason, knowing botany and how to show botanically critical information in the botanical painting is very important. In my classes, whenever we deal with a botanical specimen, the scientific/botanical aspects are emphasized.

Each summer, the watercolor beginner's course starts and the mostly students continue to be in the intermediate level class. Currently on Saturdays, the drawing courses are going on. In a few weeks, most of the current students will continue with the watercolor, but a few spots will be open for new registrations. For registration, visit my website www.heeyoungkim.net 

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