Last weekend Sketchbook Skool held an online watercolour workshop with the incredibly talented American watercolour artist Mario Robinson. I attended the workshop, and though I couldn’t stay for the whole live event, I was able to catch up with what I missed afterwards via online recordings.

I’ve spent several hours today painting the model from the workshop, Nellie, doing my best to follow Mario’s instruction. I didn’t have the same paints that he used (he used Winsor & Newton paints which I don’t have) or even all the same colours in other brands of paints so I had to do my best to approximate his colour mixes – but my painting is still much too brown. I clearly didn’t get the blue to brown ratio right when mixing.

I learned so much about technique from watching Mario work. But what I also learned is that I really don’t have the patience to be a realistic painter. I’m always too keen to just rush ahead with my pencil and brush. After 2 hours of blocking and glazing I’d more than had enough and I really didn’t want to do any more. I wanted to finish this and move on to my next portrait. So I stopped at this half- finished point rather than continue on…


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I love drawing things. These days I am rarely found without a pen, pencil or stylus in my hands. In my working life I spend a lot of time in meetings and classrooms, reading papers and strategies, so my home life provides a creative antidote to all that! I also have chronic pain, lots of it. I have scoliosis, fibromyalgia and CRPS, so my life is a balancing act, trying to balance work, which make me feel part of the real world, with pain, which is ever present, and art, which soothes my pain.

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