Art student, Cameo Saraceno gave a free watercolor lesson to interested children in her neighborhood. She taught students how to paint a cat with watercolors, Monday evening, August 27th.
Cameo supplied the watercolors, watercolor paper, drawing board, pencils, drawing paper and water pails.
Cameo taught students to stretch their watercolor paper by soaking it in a tub of clean water for around fifteen minutes. She then showed them how to take the paper out of the tub and how to lay it out on a flat, smooth board of heavy Masonite. She also explained in detail how to secure the edges of their paper to the board with gummed tape, the kind often used for posters.
Since it generally takes 24 hours to dry, she handed out already-dry paper flush to the board’s service, wrinkle free.
The students, under Cameo’s instructions, laid out their pallet of watercolors. She told them to group out the colors by “temperature” Reds, oranges and a few earth tones such as raw sienna and burnt umber. Cool colors like greens and blues were also grouped together. She told them mixing would be much easier this way.
She showed the students how to sketch the cat on a piece of drawing paper with a pencil. She told them they could use a photograph of their own cat, or if they didn’t bring one, they were welcome to use one of hers. Cats struck several poses from napping, to playing with a feathered wand. She told them to focus on the angle of the eyes, mouth and ears and little by little add detail. She directed them to draft in the texture of the fur and the tail.
She stressed the importance of painting a thin wash of watercolor onto their papers by selecting a neutral tone to start with, like a beige or eggshell and packing their brushes with water. She demonstrated how to dilute a wee bit of paint with their wet brushes and painting in the cat’s body and head with the large shapes that they started their drawings with. When their preliminary washes were dry, she told them to pick out secondary colors that would be in their darkest tones and utilize them to distinguish details in their paintings. She educated them to use a small amount of paint in the areas that were going to be the lightest. She told them that with watercolor, they needed to allow the white of the paper show through the highlighted areas. “Decide on your middle tone—the ones between the darkest and lightest tones—and fill them in.,” she advised them.
Then she went around the room, answering questions and telling each student what a wonderful job they were all doing… Happy students took home their masterpieces home the next morning.