How Eric Rhoads realized he needed a travel alternative to oils, and why now is the time to try watercolor – the medium that makes it easier to paint anywhere.
Years ago, I took my paints on a business trip to Russia. But back then, things were pretty crude. I got into a cab and tried to communicate with the driver to ask him to take me to an art store. (There was no Google at the time.)
It would have made a funny comedy sketch … me trying to explain “artist” and “supplies,” and him trying to understand me. After about an hour, we finally figured it out, thanks to my ability to draw for him.
$200 later, I hadn’t found an art store. But once we finally did, everything was behind a counter, and I didn’t know how to say “mineral spirits” or “turpentine.” I pointed to bottles, opened them, smelled them, but never found what I was looking for. Frustrated, I left without making a purchase.
And though I tried to paint without something to clean my brushes, it was a hot mess. It was at that moment in time that I decided I needed a travel alternative to my oils.
Over the years I’ve tried and had success with lots of products, like water-mixable oils, slow-drying acrylic, gouache, casein, and watercolor. And though I use them all, my one standard is watercolor or gouache (a form of watercolor).
Related > Browse our watercolor features at RealismToday.com
In fact, if you were to look in my carry-on bag on any trip, you’d see I have a small watercolor kit with me. I’d rather spend my business trip nights in a hotel room painting than at a bar, and on occasion, I’ll sneak in a painting between meetings. I don’t have to wait for them to dry. I can just throw them in my bag.
Many artists are moving to gouache or watercolor part of the time. Scott Christensen did a gouache demo at our online art conference, PleinAir Live. And on my daily Facebook show, Steven Quiller did a demo in casein, a similar medium. And of course, Sargent was a master watercolor artist, as were many others.
At each of our Plein Air Conventions, we offer a watercolor stage, but this year at PleinAir Live, due to technical limitations, a watercolor track was not possible. That’s why we’ve just announced Watercolor Live. A virtual conference devoted to water media.
Experimenting with water media is fun, but we all know that learning from the best of the best is the best way. We’ve put together a world-class faculty to teach you, including a Beginner’s Day.
We already have most of the faculty posted, with a few more to come (see the current list of faculty below). We would love for you to consider it. Simply visit WatercolorLive.com.
It would make a great Christmas or Hanukkah gift, and, like PleinAir Live, it’s a way to learn a lot quickly. The dates are January 28-30, 2021.
Sign up today before the November 30th price increase.
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