Watercolours Unleashed at SAA HQ

Believe it or not... Not all of us that work at the SAA HQ are artists... In fact some of us have never really picked up a brush since school (not counting the odd touch of emulsion whenever the house needs a good freshening up!) but every now and then one of us gets inspired by one of the amazing artists that come in to HQ, who never fail to show us how much fun painting can be.
This happened recently with a couple of us in the marketing department just as we were working on releasing the recent DVD from Jane Betteridge, 'Watercolours Unleashed'. The finished painting was propped up in the office whilst the DVD sleeve was being developed, and both Emily and I were captivated by the colours and movement in the finished painting. It was then that we both decided that we'd follow the DVD and create our own...


We asked Anita - the SAA in-house artist - if she'd help us along and of course she jumped at the chance, she's always keen to share the painting bug with others.

By the time the date of the lesson arrived, four others in our department had 'signed up' and so the painting began!

Now I think this is where it is only right to say that whilst we are all beginners, we are at different levels of this. Emily and I are enthusiastic beginners, we'll happily play with any new products or give some easy painting activities a go, but others in the group don't really come into contact with the physical materials, so it was clear from the off that Anita needed to keep her eye on us and keep us on the straight and narrow!


Here are a few pics from the evening...



- Ending with Pizza of Course!


So 'how did I go?' I hear you ask.

It was strange really, to see six people who are always so confident in their work crumble when handed a pipette of granulation medium, seeking the guidance of Anita and looking for praise and approval.

The whole process was a real roller-coaster of feelings. At times I was quite nervous, and painting with the group saw me sat quietly (quiet is not usual for me I assure you) watching how others in the group were applying their paint or flicking their palette knife. At other times I was mesmerised, watching how the different materials moved and responded on the page. There were definitely at least three times where I could have thrown the paper in the bin and started again, and if Anita hadn't stopped me I probably would have.

What I have learnt from this is that, as a bit of a novice, it is really tricky to know when your painting is working, and when it is time to step away from it - but I guess all this comes with experience and practice. The biggest lesson that I've learnt is that painting doesn't have to be scary. It is completely fine to create something that isn't quite as you'd want it to be. We have all put a mount around our finished paintings, and they are currently propped proudly on our desks. We're already talking about what we'll change next time, and what colours we might use instead...

So until next time (and there will be a next time)... Happy painting!

- Sam Revill


If you'd like to have a go at creating your own dandelion clock as the marketing team did, you can find the full lesson in Jane Betteridge's DVD, Watercolours Unleashed.