Arlene Sy
Art + Illustration


My journey as an artist chronicled in life events, thoughts, and musings.

Post-workshop wrap-up

I conducted my second floral watercolor illustration workshop last weekend!

While planning for the session, I thought of holding the class in the morning (compared to the first, which I conducted in the afternoon). I wanted to see if I could take advantage of the morning light that generously filled up the space. As predicted, everything felt so much lighter, warmer, and easier on the eyes. We were lucky it didn't rain, either!

(The photo above was taken after everyone left the space last Saturday.)

Coming from my first session last year, I was able to edit and pare down the class to the simpler, more essential things. (I was a little more confident this time, too, yay!) Though fairly successful, the session last year felt bloated and slightly "all over the place"--at least, from my perspective as a first-time teacher. Plus, I was suffering a really bad cold then, but still decided to wing it (never will I attempt to force it again).

This time, I also made it a point to do a live painting demo for each exercise. During the first run, I only went as far as guiding participants using a marker on whiteboard. While this was particularly useful for sharing tips on drawing, creating basic floral shapes, and the application of wash layers, it was still limiting. I realized, if I wanted to learn how to apply watercolor washes and layers (with all the nuances, subtleties, and "happy accidents"), I also needed to see how a teacher would do it.

The final guided exercise was my favorite part of the session (as one of my participants later pointed out, too). The first time I conducted the workshop, I asked everyone to bring a photo of their favorite flower, to be used for a referencing activity. I realized this might not have worked out as I intended, because everyone had their own skill level, and I noticed how some people had a harder time painting from a reference than others.

This time, I decided everyone should reference from the same photo. I picked out a rose from one of the many not-too-complicated-looking ones from a Google search. With the same reference, I was able to clearly demonstrate my drawing and painting approach, while still giving participants some distance and freedom. The results were amazing!

I absolutely loved seeing how every rose came to life! My heart burst with so much pride and joy. It definitely brought out every person's drawing and painting style--which, I'm sure, says something about their own quirks and personalities. And, do take note--for many, it was their first time ever to draw and paint a rose! (Above, left to right: Work by Cheekee, Lorra, and Paola)

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Here we were (left to right): Cheekee, Aisa, Punky, Joyce, me, Paola, Ces, Hillary, and Lorra! Thank you so much, I had a wonderful time with you all!

Thanks to this session, I'm now even more excited about future workshops. I've started mulling over one other subject I feel I can teach with confidence: landscapes, cityscapes and scenes. Animals and people might have to wait a little longer, I'm afraid! Hehe. But I sure do hope I eventually get to teach those, too.

P.S. Thank you, Aisa and Joyce, for bringing a few sweet treats over! I felt giddy having a couple of pastry chefs in the class!

P.P.S. Thank you, Lorra, for writing such a kind and generous review! (Check out her blog post here!)