Saturday, April 8, 2017

Painting Lavender at Summerhill

It was a cold, dreary day with occasional rain showers and blustery wind here in western Pennsylvania on Thursday, but that didn't stop my Summerhill Sketchers from gathering for a class on painting lavender fields.

I've been working on the lessons for my workshop in Provence in June, and I thought I'd try this one out on my local painting students. They're always up for a challenge, and I thought they'd enjoy mixing those gorgeous lavender colors and putting together this pretty landscape.

I taught two different ways to paint the lavender fields. First we tried a wet-in-wet approach, where I brushed on pale lavender, then dropped in deep purple and allowed it to mingle and diffuse, creating midtones. The deepest shadows were added after the first layer had dried.

For the second technique, we started with a pale lavender wash and let it dry, then glazed successively darker values over it, one layer at a time.

Of course, the key to a good watercolor painting is value contrast, so I stressed the importance of adding some nice dark shadows at the end to make things pop. A little spattering and texturing, and the sketches were done!

Here are some of the paintings the students did. (Not all of these are completely finished, but I thought you'd enjoy seeing them anyway.)

I love how each person's style is uniquely their own.

Even though it was a gloomy day outside, we were celebrating spring inside. I set the tables before everyone arrived...

and ran out in the rain to pick forsythia and daffodils to brighten things up.

I even took the time to fold cloth napkins into bunny shapes.

I just knew it would make my friends smile when they saw them. It's so much fun to do special little things to surprise them.

We had three different kinds of quiche for lunch: traditional quiche Lorraine, plus a vegetarian quiche and spinach/bacon quiche. It was hard to pick a favorite; they were all so good!

The side dishes were herb-marinated vegetables and a coleslaw recipe I like that has a touch of Dijon mustard in it. (See the recipe, below.)

For dessert we had a swoon-worthy trifle made with yellow cake, lemon pudding, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Oh my!

After lunch, Carol shared her beautiful camellia page...

as well as the amazing hand-kit shawl she made over the winter.

Pat has been painting on canvas with watercolors - I've been wanting to try that, so I had lots of questions for her.

Larry confessed that he worked on some of these Zentangle designs while he was at work. We promised not to report him!

I love the rose painting that Teresa brought to share. We're planning a trip to her garden in June to see her collection of old-fashioned roses, some of which have been in her family for generations. Just imagine the smell! I can't wait.

If you're ever in the area, I hope you'll plan to stop by for a Sketching at Summerhill session. We have such a good time, and despite all the gabbing that goes on, we actually get some painting done, too. :) The next session will be May 4. Spring road trip, anyone?

Here's the recipe for the coleslaw I made for the sketchers. The dressing is light, and it keeps well in the fridge for up to a week.

Dawn's Coleslaw

¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. salt
1-3 T. sugar
¼ cup mayonnaise
½-3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard

Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, salt, sugar, mayonnaise, and mustard in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves.

3 cups shredded cabbage
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
2-4 Tablespoons grated onion
¼ cup grated carrot

Combine the cabbage, celery, onion, and carrot in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately or store covered and refrigerated for up to one week.

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