Heidi Willis conducted a one day watercolour workshop on the 13th February 2016.
Waterlilies in Watercolour – workshop report
Our first workshop for the year focussed on watercolour portraits of waterlilies with Heidi Willis. She plunged through muddy ponds to find us some live water lilies to see, and provided some reference photos to work from. Heidi’s beautiful style is a result of thousands of hours of painting, and she shared many of her learnings and little gems of information as she took us step by step through painting a purple waterlily. http://heidiwillis.com.au
We all know that deep-hearted sigh we do when we see a perfect water lilyrising from the surface of the water with such divine beauty…it almost hurts! Have you ever wanted to capture one in a painting or to be even better at it?Well now might be your chance.I am offering an opportunity to join me in a one-day intensive watercolour workshop on water lilies and would really love to see you there.
With step-by-step tuition and guided hands on learning we will look at practical approaches and strategies to paint this subject,to find a new level of confidence in your work, and refine your techniques for watercolour in general. Working in transparent watercolour, we will explore essential techniquesof this medium such as working with washes, the more complex process of glazing (or layers of wash) and the intricate art of dry brushingto a selection of beautiful water lily elements. This is a wonderful chance to understand this beautiful medium better and ultimately establish the footholds for improved independent painting.
- Notebook or sketchbook for taking notes •
- Pencils, 2H, HB and 2B •
- Mechanical pencil 0.5 mm HB or 2H •
- Tissues (odourless, plain white, good quality) •
- White eraser •
- Drafting tape/ Scotch magic tape
- Watercolour paints (I use transparent artist quality Windsor and Newton myself) •
- Taklon or good quality detail brushes sizes 5/0, 1, 3, 4, 5 (with GOOD points and a cover sleeve on them) •
- Palette •
- Water container •
- Masking Fluid (only if you already have it) •
Watercolour Paint ~ ARTIST QUALITY ONLY
(This is my full list of paints. We may or may not use all of them in this workshop)
- Sepia • Paynes Gray • Winsor Violet • Perylene Maroon • Permanent Rose • Scarlet Lake • Winsor Red • Indigo • French Ultramarine • Cobalt and/or Cerulean Blue Red Shade • Raw Sienna• Burnt Sienna • Olive Green • Green Gold • Windsor Yellow • Permanent Sap Green • Anything else that you may have or fancy
I will provide paper/board and worksheet needed for the day. The cost of the paper is $5.50 a sheet. The worksheet printing costs are $1 (on the day) I will also have a small supply of taklon brushes available if you need them.
Australian born, Heidi Willis is an entirely self-taught watercolour artist specializing in Natural History illustration. Heidi’s powerful and distinctive works are meticulous, fluid reflections of our remarkable natural world; each piece an intimate, intricate expression of subject, colour, light, atmosphere, texture and form. Her work offers viewers an intriguing insight into the rich and fascinating natural world as she experiences it. Painting full-time since 2003, Heidi quickly established herself as one of Australia’s emerging artistic talents. Her reputation as a leading natural history, wildlife and botanical artist is now well established with her paintings found in significant public and private collections around the world.
Heidi presented to our KAS meeting earlier in 2015.
From our meeting reporter:
Australian born, Heidi is an entirely self-taught Natural History watercolour artist, which means
she paints any natural subject – including plants, animals or insects in their environment.
Her work has been a hugely challenging journey which started when she was very young.
Initially she wanted to be a surgeon and oil painter which put her at a crossroad. Which way to
go? The answer came when she opened an Australian Geographic Magazine and felt an
overwhelming connection to the incredible illustrations by renowned artist Bill Cooper. Now
clearly focused Heidi set out on her path of self exploration and began by teaching herself
watercolour. She had no mentors or association with other artists, she just worked tirelessly
day in day out, even while having 3 children in 3 years by the age of 23. She would have one
either side of her and the other one on her back as she worked!
All this dedication paid off when, by chance, while having her work framed at The Art Scene,
she met the Curator of Botanica, who was so impressed by her work that she invited her to join
the exhibition and it was here that Shirley Sherwood, owner of the largest private Botanical
Collection in the World, bought one of her works. Understandably Heidi was blown away by all
this, but it proved to her that she was definitely on the right path. Since then she has received
worldwide acclaim and had numerous exhibitions including some in New York and China.
After having a much needed 5 year break, Heidi didn’t know if she would be able to paint again,
she was very unsure, so she started by sketching on a trek through Nepal. She then realised it
was still there and immersed herself once again into her passion. Her incredibly detailed works
require great discipline and perseverance, skills such as mind and time management are
essential. When painting large works like her recent 5’ x 3’ commission, she breaks it down into
small manageable sections, into what she calls “micro-journeys into colour”, keeping her
excited and motivated. This is vital as her works can take up to 2000 hours to complete!
Heidi then gave us a demonstration on how she works her magic. She always works flat and on
illustration board, putting down between 3-6 layers of wash even on a simple flower. She
described the intricacy of Botanical art like splitting hairs, then splitting again, then again and
again. When dealing with something as intense as this, she said you either practice it or avoid it and we certainly know what Heidi does!
You can book this workshop online via this KAS website.
Any inquiries please contact either Anne Carpenter on 0411 034 413 or Thomi Graham on 0408 891 702