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Watercolour Workshop with Susan Kane

July 29, 2019

On Saturday I bit the bullet and took a Watercolour Workshop with the lovely Susan Kane. I have never been a confident painter when it comes to Watercolours, Goache or Oils as I’ve never really been taught how to use any of these mediums. Sounds strange for an artist to say that, but I’ve always had more confidennce with pens, pencils, then later printing inks and techniques and later still digital and ceramic / 3D imagery.

I have admired Susan’s work for quite a while, initially when seeing her chalky pots and teapots.

Through to her stunning watercolours. Just look at the movement and dancing colours below … wow !

There’s a 2014 interview with Susan on the ‘Made in Bristol’ blogsite here.

I love the swirling stems, the almost Japanese sense of placement and the calm, serene feelings they create when looking at them.

Susan is resident here at the Manchester Craft and Design Centre and also works from a downstairs room delivering the Watercolour Workshops.

fir + wren at Holm

This was my view for the 3 hours, plants, people and paper.

Initially we tried painting outlines with just black paint, each sketch was timed for 1 minute. then we tried it with our non-dominant hand (which in my case was my left hand) and that felt so strange. Then finally another minute observing the flower or stem you had selected to paint and a minute creating it with your eyes closed.

Great techniques for loosening the mind and freeing up the senses, to hopefully allow for smoother, longer strokes and a calmer sense of movement.

We later had a few minutes to add colour to the sketches that had dried, and tried using masking fluid and a wash which we dried with a hairdrier and then painted back into the white area left when the fluid was removed.

This is one of my favourites of Susan’s work, beautiful colours and windswept forms.

Throughout the afternoon Susan gave us quick demos before we had our turn.

A great introduction to Watercolour and one that I hope will encourage me to pracise my techniques further. I wouldn’t say that my paintings were much to get excited about just yet but it’s about making that start and then learning from your defeats and triumphs : )

Prints of Susan’s work are currently in Ikea. She has worked professionally as a designer for 30 years, predominantly in floral, printed textiles, including 3 years working for Mary Quant.

With work sold privately to global collectors, commercially to Marks & Spencer, Monsoon and through agents to an international textile market.

If you wish to sign up for one of Susan’s classes this year, you can do so

Contact Artist

. (Or at The next one is August 17th, details and booking info here.

Thanks again Susan for the inspiring afternoon.

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