Workshops - Michael Reardon

Michael Reardon

Michael Reardon - Watercolor Techniques, July 21-22, 2 Days, Intermediate/Advanced

California native Michael Reardon is a signature member of AWS, NWS, Watercolor West, and our own CWA. He is also an avid plein air artist who has been painting in watercolor for over 25 years.  Throughout his travels, he has refined his techniques, creating plein air paintings as he goes. Trained as an architect at UC Berkeley, he was an architectural illustrator for over 30 years. Michael and his work have been featured in numerous articles over the last few years, including Watercolor Artist, Watercolor, Plein Air, and the Art of Watercolour.

In this workshop, Michael will share information from his latest book, Watercolor Techniques, which hit the shelves this past spring.  In this workshop he will share some of his insights into painting and how to enjoy it. Through demonstrations and hands-on painting, Michael will show ways to simplify and create dynamic compositions, work quickly and decisively, and capture the essence of a scene convincingly. He will cover the use of a limited palette, dynamic color mixing, and the use of light and value to describe form.

Among the things that Michael is known are his unusual formats and compositions.  Per Michael: " I’m a strong advocate of 'less is more' in composition. For example, when painting a building, I usually crop some of it, rarely showing an entire building. I also use thumbnail sketches before starting a painting in order to reduce the scene to its essential elements, those that tell the story. I find that this allows the imagination of the viewer to fill in the rest, eliciting a more engaging image." In this workshop we will look at ways to simplify compositions and strengthen the impact of your paintings.

Describing his creative process, Michael says it is of utmost importance to find a subject that moves you. Then you can take that subject and develop a pleasing composition, rather than copying what is in front of you. Last but not least, use values to create a strong sense of light. In this workshop we will learn the fundamentals of composition, values and light.

While he prefers plein air painting, photos can be a great record of a scene when time doesn’t permit a sketch. When using photos, such as in this workshop, he prints them in black and white in order to not let the photo dictate the color scheme, then does a basic sketch and puts the photo away. Without the photo he is free to rearrange values, composition and light to suit his needs. He feels that his best work comes when he can see the finished image in his head. This sketch helps him to visualize the finished work. In this workshop we will stress the importance of a value sketch and visualizing the final painting before you begin.

To learn more about Michael, see his website:

Materials List.

Workshop location is east of San Francisco, on the Walnut Creek/Concord border, at Cal State East Bay. Details.

Non Members Fee: $330.00 Members Fee: $275.00

This workshop takes place on:

Friday, July 21, 2017 - Saturday, July 22, 2017 9:00 AM-4:00 PM

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