I’m delighted to offer a new workshop, “Draw and Paint Monarch Butterflies,” at beautiful 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on Saturday, January 12. Working from actual specimens, with step-by-step guidance, learn to create a realistic monarch using gouache and colored pencil on handmade buff paper. No experience is necessary and all supplies are provided. Class size is limited to 10. The cost is $65, and illustrated gift certificates are available if you plan to use the workshop as a Christmas gift. Email me to reserve a spot.
Two more things about the workshop: We’ll meet from 10 to 4, so bring a sack lunch to enjoy on the deck during our midday break.
Also, it’s important to me that you know our butterfly specimens were not wild-caught and killed. They were raised from egg to caterpillar to cocoon to adult, allowed to live a natural life and then after they died were carefully collected for our use. Butterfly farming preserves habitat and discourages destructive land use; it can also be helpful in supporting threatened species. Just so you know.
I’m delighted to offer a new workshop at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center:
Aquatic Plants in Watercolor Pencil Saturday, September 8 from 10am to 3pm 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center (on the Causeway) Spanish Fort, AL No experience necessary! The Mobile-Tensaw Delta, considered the best remaining delta ecosystem of its kind in the United States, is home to 500 species of plants. We'll focus on some favorites including lotus and pitcher plants, sketching from specimens and reference material and then creating color studies in watercolor pencil. Step-by-step guidance will be provided -- all levels of art experience (or none at all) welcome. Bring your lunch and a small set of watercolor pencils, and all other supplies will be provided. My botanical drawing workshops fill up fast -- your registration must be received to hold your place. The cost of the workshop is $50. Email to sign up: email@example.com
My online class in Watercolor Lettering has kept me very busy for the past several weeks, but on Saturday I had the pleasure of teaching a small workshop in a beautiful riverfront hideaway near Moss Point, Mississippi. The trees overhanging the water were full of trumpet vine, and we put them to use as the subject of gouache resist paintings. I love gouache resist, which is the art equivalent of opening a mysterious present on Christmas morning. You don’t know what you have until the wrappings are torn away to reveal the surprise beneath. In my method, I begin with a quick pencil sketch on heavy watercolor paper. Next I create the painting with a very thick (we’re talking peanut-butter-thick here) layer of gouache. After allowing it the dry completely, the painting is covered in a layer of waterproof India ink — I use a two-inch housepainting brush for this step. That has to dry, as well, before the fun begins: I take the piece outside and put it under a stream of water from the garden hose, scrubbing the ink away with the aforementioned house painting brush. Under that layer of inky blackness is a jewel-toned image, and everywhere the paper remained blank are lines of India ink. Old clothes are highly recommended for this adventure!
I live in a place where it’s not unusual to hear the “who-cooks-for-you?” call of barred owls, especially just before dawn. Eerily beautiful with their pale faces and dark eyes (they are the only brown-eyed owl in the eastern US) they thrive in neighborhoods. Despite the fears of my neighbors who are convinced that the owl roosting in their oak tree wants to make a meal of their chihuahua, barred owls are usually after rodents… and older neighborhoods, like the one where I live, provide a steady supply. They are large creatures, with wings spanning three feet. Twice, while walking at night, I have seen barred owls soar past just a few feet above my head like silent ghosts, gliding fast, suddenly materializing out of the dark. It is a sight that will stop you in your tracks.
We drew barred owls (along with a number of other owls, and some hawks, eagles and osprey) during a recent workshop at 5 Rivers. By popular demand, I’m going to lead the “Drawing Birds of Prey” workshop once more on Saturday, July 14, from 10am until 3pm. No art experience is necessary, and all art supplies are provided. There are a few spots left at this time… registration is $60 and must be received to hold your spot. Email me for info.
(I’m painting some samples for a June 30 workshop, “Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs,” to be offered in Birmingham, Alabama. Join me for a day of creative botanical fun… no previous experience required, and all supplies are provided. Best of all, you get to take home six organically grown potted herb plants at the end of the day!)
To ask a question or sign up, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nature Drawing Workshop: Winter’s Tale (Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10am-3pm, Five Rivers Delta Resource Center, on the Causeway in Spanish Fort, AL) The stories of spring lie hidden just beneath the surface as winter draws to a close along the Gulf Coast. There is a simple beauty in bare branches, seed pods, tiny buds emerging and the first insects to venture forth as the seasons turn back toward warmer days. Spend a day in one of Alabama’s most beautiful waterfront settings, using traditional drawing techniques to create elegant and accurate drawings of winter nature subjects in pen-and-ink. No experience necessary! All art supplies provided. This event helps support wildlife education programs at 5 Rivers. $60
Embellished with original illustrations and hand lettering, GIFT CERTIFICATES are now available for all classes and workshops listed here. Email me to request one: email@example.com.
You know the old saying… a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, instead of trying describe what we’ll be doing in the “Old and New: Hand Lettering and Vintage Photo Transfer” workshop on June 4, here are a few thousand words’ worth of explanation.
Not calligraphy, but hand-drawn letters that you design to fit your taste and personal style. Perfect for labeling botanicals, enhancing your journal or creating a wondrously literary sketchbook! Here is another example:
After lunch, we’ll switch to “vintage” photo transfers, using a simple nontoxic technique with baker’s parchment that does not harm your original in any way. Here’s one made from a snapshot of a stone angel in a New Orleans cemetery, transferred onto heavy Strathmore watercolor paper:
…and here’s one made from a 1932 photo of my grandparents, transferred onto handmade bark paper. Enjoy!
New this season: Hands-On Artisan Pasta Workshop with Mark Perez and my own Holiday Raku Retreat. Enjoy!
Val Webb’s Art Workshops
Sketching in Watercolor and Ink (Saturday, Oct. 9 from 10-4, hosted by Space 301, Centre for the Living Arts) Use pen and ink with watercolor wash to create lively sketches of the world around you: people, buildings, trees… we’ll even sketch our lunch! I will demonstrate simple on-the-spot drawing techniques, as well as tricks for capturing light and texture in a few quick strokes. Experiment with new and different sketch tools including walnut ink and water brushes. Learn informal lettering, to add a literary touch to your sketchbook. No experience necessary! Students will need to bring: Moleskine 8.5×5.5 watercolor sketchbook (available at Alabama Art Supply), #4 round watercolor brush, set of inexpensive dry watercolors in a plastic case. Other materials provided by the instructor. $75 ($65 for CLA members). To register, call Space 301 at 251-208-5671.
Once Upon a Paintbrush: Getting Started in Illustration (Saturday, Oct. 30 from 1-4pm at Mobile Museum of Art) This lively, informative workshop for aspiring authors and illustrators — or anyone who loves children’s books — covers current market trends, creative page layout and character design. Learn how to use images to move a story forward and receive practical advice about submission packages, copyright protection, publishing contracts and illustration portfolios. This workshop is interactive, with lots of questions and discussion. Participants will take home a generous amount of illustrated resource material. Reservations required, space is limited. Workshop is FREE with museum admission. To sign up, email Val at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday Season Raku Retreat (two Saturdays, Nov. 6 & 13, 10am-5pm both days) Handbuild, carve, glaze and fire… two full days of bas-relief handmade raku tile, from inspiration to completion. No experience necessary. While you work, a gourmet meal will be professionally prepared for you using fresh ingredients from our organic garden. Indulge your creative spirit and your appetite! Couples, friends or family who register together as a pair will receive a reduced rate. Raku Retreats are offered only twice each year, and space is very limited. $125 Email to reserve a spot: email@example.com.
Culinary Workshops with Mark Perez
Hands-On Artisan Pasta Workshop (Saturday, Oct. 2 from 10am-4pm, lunch provided) Experience a memorable afternoon of pasta making — and eating — as you learn to make classic egg noodles, whole wheat fettucine and spinach or tomato-basil pasta. Enjoy a professionally prepared pasta lunch made with fresh, local ingredients. At the end of the day, take home all the fresh pasta you have made. Limited to 4 participants; there is a small deposit required to reserve a spot. $85 Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Cheesemaking Workshop: Mozzarella (Saturday, Oct. 3 from 1-4pm) Transform a gallon of milk into a pound of fresh mozzarella cheese. Mark will guide you through the process to make a delicious, gourmet-quality cheese. It takes less time than making a trip to the grocey store, but after you have made your own, you’ll never want store-bought mozzarella again. Bring a gallon of milk and take home the cheese you make. All supplies included. There will also be a demonstration of easy homemade Greek-style yogurt and yogurt cheese. $45 includes informal cheese tasting. To register, email Val at email@example.com.
Val Webb’s Studio Art Classes
Botanical Drawing – Tuesday Evening Class (6 weeks beginning Oct. 5, 6:30-8:30pm) Botanical drawing is experiencing a renaissance today, and here in south Alabama we have an abundant supply of interesting subject matter: native coastal plants, tropical flowers, year-round gardens full of herbs and heirloom vegetables. We’ll use traditional scientific drawing methods to create realistic botanicals in pencil, ink, colored pencil and gouache. No experience necessary, all supplies provided. $100 To register, email Val at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Botanical Drawing – Thursday Afternoon Class (6 weeks beginning Oct. 7, from 2-5pm) This class is very similar to the Evening class, but provides six additional hours of instruction due to the longer, three-hour class sessions. $120 Email email@example.com to register.
Drawing the Details – Wednesday Evening Class (6 weeks beginning Oct. 6, from 6:30-8:30pm) This fun and relaxed class covers a wide range of handy skills and techniques in basic drawing practice. Develop your ability to use graphite and ink as we draw subjects ranging from local landscapes to people and animals. Suitable for all levels of art experience. You’ll be amazed by what you create! Supplies provided. $100 Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Bas-relief, the sculpture technique of creating the illusion of depth by carving your subject slightly higher than its flat background, is very ancient… and very fun to do. A cool, leather-hard clay slab has the pleasing consistency of a chocolate bar. The tools bite into the surface easily. My happiest days in the studio are the ones that offer a whole day of uninterrupted carving:
I’m excited about sharing a little bas-relief fun during a workshop being offered at Space 301, Centre for the Living Arts on Saturday, July 10. We’ll be up in the clerestory, a spacious and airy studio space created in the former pressroom of the Mobile Press-Register. When the newspaper moved out of its cavernous old production facility, the building underwent an impressive transformation into ground-floor galleries and upper-level teaching studios.
We’ll be using white stoneware, which is a treat to carve: silky-smooth to the touch, and it fires out to a lovely bone color. Each participant will prepare and carve a square foot of tile — made up of a combination of smaller individual tiles — using tools and materials that are theirs to keep. (They’ll need those tools later, since carving tends to be a bit addictive…)
Tomorrow is the final day to sign up for the bas-relief carving workshop. If you happen to be in the coastal Alabama/Florida/Mississippi area and need more information, email me or call Cindy Phillips at Space 301 before 5pm Friday. Cindy’s number is 251-208-5677. See you there!