Trust your intuition, you

As I mentioned in my previous post, this weekend was the Watercolor Society of Oregon (WSO) Spring Convention. The WSO conventions are always something of a highlight for me; they are events that I plan my year around, both time and painting.

I have been painting very little, if at all in the last few months, and frankly the next few weeks don’t look any brighter on that front. Still, I went to the convention hopeful that I would find a spark I could nurture when things calmed down a little.

And let’s not understate the value of seeing friends!

I’ve been tired and I didn’t want to fight Friday afternoon traffic, so I did not sign up for any Friday events. Saturday  morning I arrived and dropped off a little project I had been working on for WSO, then went to my first break out session.

“Learning How to Batik with Watercolors” with Kristie Mooney

I wasn’t sure about taking this session, but the only other thing in this time slot I was interested in was full, so I took a chance. I had seen Kristie’s work and it is lovely. It’s always nice to have another technique in the hopper!

The class ended up being more about choosing a strong design for your painting (ahh… if only it was that simple) but I think I learned enough that if I ever decided to try it, a quick Google search (for an article like this) could solve any gaps.


  • Use Unryu paper
  • Repetition works well
  • 5 simple shapes works well
  • Take a photo, turn to black and white, change to 4 layers
  • Blue tape to batik on yupo; beige tape to batik on watercolor


  • First layer – white – wax (candle wax or other parafin) (fondu pots work well)
  • Second layer – light – yellow
  • Third layer – medium – red
  • Fourth layer – dark – blue
  • Fifth – use iron and newsprint (no ink) to remove wax
  • Sixth – use mat medium to stick to a surface


  • Camera Lucida
  • Pro Create
  • Comic Pic
  • Arat Card
  • Click 2 Comic

“Landscape Sketching” with Sarkis Antikajian

I was quite excited about this class, hoping for a class with an emphasis on landscape design. Instead, this class was about the power of sketches and how as artists we should not expect them to be a full painting. I enjoyed it a great deal… and it was interactive, so I got to apply paint!


  • Use soft rigger (not pencil) for drawing
  • Use inexpensive WC paper with tape around as frame
  • Put colors you like as something similar to what’s there. That’s style. Shapes and colors, mannerisms you like
  • The purpose of a sketch is to document a place as you see it.
  • “I like to be heavy handed. I lean toward strong colors right away and movement.
  • Pick and sketch what attracted you most. Everything else as you have time.
  • Sometimes I like the sketches more than the painting.
  • Use mop for large flat area. Use quite dry.

“Juror’s Critique 2 – Participant” with Jean Pederson

If “recent events” had not happened, I might have considered taking Ms. Pederson’s class. I liked her bright colors and interpretive manners. Upon hearing her insightful and constructive juror, I found myself even sorrier I was not able to take the class. But I got a lot out of it, not just for the piece  submitted.

“That’s Not the Shape of My Heart” – mixed media, 12″ x 15″

During the critique, the image would flash on screen and Ms. Pederson would ask the artist, “What was your intention with this piece.” Some of the answers were really good. Mine wasn’t. “It’s an experiment,” I whispered. She didn’t seem to mind and encouraged the group to try new things. She pondered the piece and came up with three things that I think are the root of my dissatisfaction with this piece.

  1. The “heart” shape is strong. Too strong. And jagged.
  2. The facial geometric area is too even.
  3. There is an not a clear emphasis on organic vs. geometric lines. There need to be more predominance.

Those are things I felt even as I was doing the piece, but Ms. Pederson “put her finger” on them.  Throughout the critique, Ms. Pederson told participants to “Trust your instincts” as I wasn’t the only person to have a list of issues with a painting that the juror echoed.

The critique was my last event of the day. I was tired and when I had signed up I knew I would be. So I didn’t make plans to go over the show. In fact… I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll have to make a special trip up later.

Jean Pederson Lecture & Demo”, with Juror Jean Pederson

The next morning I returned and listened to the WSO morning business meeting. My personal biggest triumph over the weekend is that I DID NOT VOLUNTEER FOR ANYTHING!!! My friend, Sandra, had orders to tackle me if I tried, but I was able to restrain myself all on my own.

After the business meeting, Ms. Pederson gave a lecture on painting with intention. I tend to prefer actual demos, but she said she was a slow painter, and you have to respect people who know what works.


  • Who am I and what am I trying to say?
  • Integrity and authenticity
  • What they really mean is to have a value scale (regarding saving whites)
  • Catalyst for change / working outside your traditional practice
    • Memory paintings
    • Artist residency
  • Red Deer College (teaches summer courses)

All in all, it was a good convention. Not great, but that is probably 100% my current mood. But I left with a lot to ponder, which is really all you can ask for.

One thought on “Trust your intuition, you

  1. Tara thanks for great recap. I didn’t get up there. I appreciate your notes and comments.

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