Watercolor: Take the class or buy the DVD?

Class Project 2013

Class Project 2013

I’m not an expert, but I love to watercolor.  Mostly I like to design and use my designs in other ways…like taking a watercolor and hooking it into a rug. And I am a DVD aficionado.

Each of us will have our reasons why we take classes or buy DVDs.  I’ve listed a few of my own that may help you make your decision.  Some advantages to taking classes are:


  • I meet and make friends of other watercolor artists.
  • I can ask questions.
  • I can make suggestions.
  • I can watch demonstrations up close.
  • I am more inclined to attend a class because I’ve paid for it.
  • I seem to paint more when I’m in a class.

But there are several reasons why classes are not always my best option:

  • Often the class slows down while the instructor helps those less proficient.
  • A class may contain a technique I’ve already mastered, and I become bored with the redundancy.
  • There may be disruptions from a variety of places, including phone calls, late students, distracted or unprepared instructors.
  • Holidays and weather can affect schedules and rhythm.  I can miss a class because of illness or a conflict in schedule, and sometimes can not make it up.
  • Classes are expensive.

I’m vacillating on a decision to take a Charles Reid class next year.  It is very expensive, but I’m close enough to drive in every day, though it would be an hour each trip up and down the mountain.  I already own every DVD Reid has produced, and most of his books as well.  He is my favorite watercolor artist, and I try to emulate his style.

Class Project 2013

Class Project 2013

The advantages of DVDs are clear:

  • Normally they run $29.99 or less if you buy them used on Amazon or Ebay.
  • They are edited and consist of multiple takes providing the best of instruction the artist has to offer.
  • You can back them up and see a technique, or listen to an instruction repeatedly until you get it!
  • You can watch and paint on your best, most creative days.
  • You can situate yourself in the optimal position, with the best light and plenty of room in which to be most comfortable.
  • You are in control of your own class, starting and stopping at your whim and will.

The only real disadvantages I’ve ever come up with are:  You can’t ask questions, and there is no one there to critique you.

So why am I thinking about taking this Charles Reid class at such a tremendous expense and inconvenience?  I think it’s because I want to meet the artist who has taught me so much, enhanced my artistic life in so many ways, and brought me joy on days when I most needed it.  And to be honest, there may be a “groupie” factor involved.  He’s my rock star when it comes to painting, and I simply want to meet him.  OK.  I’ll probably learn something too – hopefully a lot!


About Patsye

I am an older woman and artist. I love to craft. I love to sew and knit and crochet and needlepoint. I love to paint and draw and make art with my hands. Being creative is what gets me up in the morning. Art is my tea, my fresh air, my good book, and my cats all rolled into one. I have much to share and hope you'll visit often.
This entry was posted in A Day In My Life, Rug Hooking, Uncategorized, Watercolor, Whimseytopia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Watercolor: Take the class or buy the DVD?

  1. I think wanting to meet the person who inspires you and learn from them directly is a good reason to do this. You might come to regret not going for it, so if you can learn some more, why not? 🙂 DVDs can’t give you real life feedback, can’t they?

    • Well hey you! I pop over to your site now and then, but as you can see I have been very BAD about posting. You, on the other hand, are a maniac with the keyboard. Where do you find the time???? Thanks for commenting, and you are right. That feedback is important, and my decision has really been made. I’m saving my money and will definitely be taking that workshop. Besides, the drive up that mountain is beautiful! Love to you Estrella! Patsye

      • Exactly, there’s the inspiration as to what your future watercolors will display, that beautiful mountain 🙂

        I have to write or I feel like poo, honestly, so I try to blog at least once a week. Or twice if the posts turn out really short. Wish I could still do my old posting schedule of every-other-day, but that won’t happen again any time soon…
        It’s great to have you over when ever though, so don’t be a stranger 😉

  2. Carol Baum says:

    Hi Patsye,
    I’ve had workshops in sewing arts and also one on one instruction in the music field. You’ve listed well all the positives that are relevant to your choices. I’m justing giving my two cents and either way you go with this, you will know that you made the right choice but only after you make a choice. I always prefer human interaction with another artist. I would also want the DVD’s along with attending the workshop so I could have some references to follow up with.

    There may be unforseen benefits from attending this workshop. I attended a jazz session workshop
    and met some very talented and famous artists. I had thought the class would be with a talented
    musician but basically unknown in the music world. He got sick and the instructor who replaced him
    was a famous recording artist.

    If your health or circumstances make attending workshop difficult, then it’s obvious DVD’s are the best option. I hope to see you post some beautiful water color on your blog!

    • Thank you Carol for both reading and commenting on my blog. I appreciate it so much when people add to my post with insightful opinions. I’m actually saving my money to attend Reid’s workshop, and I agree with you that the unforseen (or should I say hopeful) benefits will be that he’ll be doing a project that doesn’t exist in any of his books or DVDs. And yes, I will be posting some of my work online as I am getting ready to convert many of my watercolors into rug hooking designs. My passion has leaned toward hooking (actually punching with Amy Oxford punch needles) because it’s a way for me to use my watercolor creations in a more permanent way. Because I am not a famous artist, few people see my watercolors, and most wind up in a portfolio that gathers dust. Being a better artist by attending workshops will help me with both my designs and my use of color, and this in turn will enhance my rug designs and patterns. My eyes are not what they used to be, and rug hooking is big and bold, and easy to see. I imagine this will be my retirement craft. But then who knows? I think of you often and hope that all is well in South Carolina. Have you thought about meeting me in Charlotte? Patsye

  3. I faciltated workshops for 10 years and finally handed over the reins to another volunteer. I loved meeting all the instructors and interacting with the students…However, after all this time I honestly didn’t see anyone in our art club incorporate what they learned!! sad but true. They seemed to go back to their own style or method. I got a little jaded after l0 years…it is wonderful meeting the artists but they seem to cover what they have in their books…so if you can learn by reading it is just as worthwhile. The one advantage is meeting other artists from your area.

    • Hello Ruth: I thought if anyone would read this post it would be you. And I was thinking of you when I wrote it. Although I loved the teacher of my last class, it turned dull toward the end. Reid is a favorite of mine, and his simplistic approach to this very difficult medium has helped me in my progression as an artist, which, as you can see, has not gone that far. Anyhow, I enjoy it, and think it would be worth the money just to meet the guy who was so much a part of helping me over my tragedy. I have so many small paintings now that I want to turn into rugs. My class is in Vermont this summer, and I will be a certified Amy Oxford instructor. I can’t wait. Hope all is well with you. Patsye

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