David Lobenberg

California Vibe Watercolor Portraiture

Instructor: David Lobenberg
Medium: Watercolor
Dates: July 15-17, 2019
Class times: 9am–4pm
Tuition: $450
Level: Artists and art students; open to all levels of experience.

Why the name “California Vibe Watercolor Portraiture?” California has a well-earned reputation for free and creative lifestyles that are outside (sometimes waaay outside) of cultural norms. They say that if you lift the country up from the East Coast, all the nuts will slide down into California.

A California Vibe Watercolor Portrait starts with a painting reference photo. The photo must be EXPRESSIVE in terms of unique unusual and dramatic photo angles, left or right of center facial expressions, and in California surfer speak, epic lighting with strong, contrasting values. With these elements in place, the artist is set up for the painting stage. The painting action builds upon this photo foundation with further visual and emotional energy using “sick” expressive color and “nutty” paint application.

Expressive color is not about painting natural colors. It is about painting intuitively with spontaneous feeling and emotion. Rather than brown hair, the artist goes with purple or orange. Instead of observing the color differences between one side of a face and the other, the artist may sense one side green, the other lavender. To feel color in this way gives the artist a freedom of expression and a release from observable reality. Color is used as a powerful means of expressing and evoking emotions.

Expressive paint application, like color, frees the artist from observable reality and is used in an abstract-like manner with splatters, drips, blossoms, runs, pours, textures, etc.

In the California Vibe workshop, you will learn watercolor portraiture that goes beyond the norm with super expressive paint applications and wildly intense colors.

This will be accomplished by:

  1. learning how to take dramatic, stylistic photographs with camera, smart phone, or computer pad.
  2. learning a simple technique to trace contour outlines from your photographs that can be easily transferred to any size of watercolor paper
  3. learning to economically and with minimal brush strokes, render head structure and facial features
  4. working with a minimal color palette and the four basic water/pigment consistencies to render strong value contrasts, subtle tints, and intense hues
  5. painting 1/8th sheet (5 ½ by 7 ½ inch) “pochades” (a French word for a small painting), to quickly explore both paint application techniques and expressive color combinations.
  6. using your pochade(s) as a guide to paint your final California Vibe, beyond-the-norm, portrait(s)