Watercolor workshop, a day well spent

Published 9:16 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

Thirteen area artists spent an enjoyable day recently learning watercolor techniques from Montevallo native Troy Crisswell. Crisswell is well known for his fascinating, and sometimes bizarre, paintings using interesting and unusual techniques.

A painting he calls “Girl in Purple Hat” was the focus for the workshop. Crisswell explained that the initial phases of the drawing were demonstrated and consideration was given to light and shadowed areas creating various shapes. Washes of watercolor were applied in thin layers to give certain tones and definition to shapes in the main subject and to create background atmosphere. In the afternoon, everyone worked on their own paintings, applying the techniques presented during the morning. A few of those attending the session were beginners, but most were accomplished artists who wanted to learn new techniques.

Artist Troy Crisswell explains watercolor techniques to the artist-students during a recent workshop. (Contributed)

Samuel Landis of Hoover, the youngest of four members of one family who took part in the workshop, said, “I love art, and I am really at the stage that I need additional instruction. Today I’m learning a lot and enjoying it very much.”

Alice Hand, also from Hoover, volunteered that she had painted years ago, met Crisswell and took his oil workshop and that she wanted to learn watercolor techniques. She explained that Crisswell is easy-going and makes it fun.

Montevallo artist Debbie Sullivan, who painted the whimsical murals in the children’s area of Parnell Library, paints in three mediums including watercolor, but she explained that she thinks watercolor is harder to learn, and she likes to learn new techniques.

Other attendees were June Pilkerton and Becky Cox Rodgers of Montevallo, Therese Heckel of Calera, Martha Grantham of Alabaster and Gayle Yester of Gadsden. In addition to those were Amy Goodnough, Jane Patterson and Pat Smith of Hoover, and Don and Nancy Rosenstiel of Birmingham The Montevallo Arts Council sponsored the workshop, and Council volunteers Becky Crisswell, Suzanne Hurst and Libbie Rodgers, president, assisted Crisswell.

“The artists had a wonderful time and learned so much,” said Rodgers.

Several of them joined the Montevallo Arts Council before they left, or said they would join when they returned home”

An upcoming event sponsored by the Arts Council is the Fall Exhibit 2011 in the Parnell Memorial Library Gallery that will feature the art of 27 Arts Council members. The exhibit will be on display from Aug. 29 – Oct. 20. Arts Council members and the public are invited to their annual meeting on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 3 p.m. in the gallery, followed by a reception honoring the artists whose work appears in the exhibit. Other information about upcoming events can be found at Montevalloartscouncil.com.

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net.