A Class with Rick Surowicz: “Abandoned” (Day 1)

I’ve long wanted to try one of Rick Surowicz‘s online watercolor classes, but haven’t felt focused enough to take the time to do so.  Yesterday I decided I was ready.  His classes are not expensive compared to other artists’ classes – $39.00.  I think that is a worthwhile investment.  And a bargain.  Surowicz has a number of videos on YouTube which I find so informative and educational that I thought a class with greater depth of what he does, how he thinks, would be a great benefit.

The class I decided on is called “Abandoned.”  I can do okay with water and trees, but buildings and perspective are a problem.  This was the primary reason for this choice.  Additionally, there are structural elements, such as planes and angles and deciding proportions.  I am not good at this at all!

So, today I sat down, downloaded and printed out the PDF files.  I got out my sketchbook and did the preliminary work – sketches of four different compositions and value studies of two of them. (Click on one to see the gallery.)

I am full of good intentions, but very bad at executing them!  I keep telling myself to do value studies, but don’t.

Making all these sketches -12 in total – came with an amazing “ah ha!” moment:  drawing the same thing multiple times gets you familiar with it.  I started learning where the chimneys were, the slants of the roof, the arches.  The house became like a friend who you haven’t seen for awhile – but the features are so familiar.

Here, on the one with 3 values (white, medium, dark), Rick had us consider light from the left and light from the right.  There are similarities and differences, and if you look, you will see them.  This was fascinating as I have never done anything like this – I’ve done value studies, but not with a changing direction of light.

So far I am really pleased with the course content.  Rick has an even pace when he speaks, and his reasons are clear.  As someone who taught for many years, I tend to be highly critical of online courses.  So far, I am very happy.  Content is clear, and progresses logically.  I am looking forward to continuing more tomorrow!  Thank you, Rick!