Review of workshop ‘Power of Tone’ with tutor Min Kim

by SUDHA SHENOY

Fifteen Watercolour NZ members gathered enthusiastically round a very inspirational artist from Christchurch, Min Kim, who paints vibrant watercolours. It was a full-on weekend focusing on tones. On the first day we started by learning about Tea, Coffee and Butter tones. Tea tone is light (10% pigment + 90% water); Coffee tone is 50% pigment + 50% water; Butter tone is opaque and thick comprising 90% pigment + 10% water. Tones add depth and character to a painting.

They create space, mood and atmosphere. For a couple of hours we practised painting shapes using different pressure on the long-handled brush to produce dolphin-shaped strokes. We were standing at the easel rather than sitting and concentrating on using the whole arm movement to paint freely.

The aim was to not fiddle with details, but to capture the movement. Min’s advice was “paint like a child - free and messy.” We practiced tones using different colours - a range of blue tones, followed by green, red, yellow tones and then the entire colour wheel.

Min described painting as a pressure art where each finger needs to move, varying the pressure. She also stressed the importance of keeping your colours clean and being aware of complementary colours, bridging colours and not getting muddy with colour mixing. On the second day we watched Min paint Kingfisher and Wax-eye perched on a cherry blossom tree. It was fascinating to watch the painting coming alive. We then had the opportunity to paint our choice of bird - Kingfisher, Wax-eye or Tui.

The important messages from this session were:

• Practise, practise, practise. Paint every day. Paint freely.
• Be positive about your painting. Paint with your own style rather than following a recipe.
• Keep your colours fresh. Know Warm and Cool and Bridging colours.

Thank you Min Kim for a weekend of inspiration.


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