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.
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!