How art education is different from training
Question from Linda
I'm thinking about signing up for the watercolor academy but I'm looking through your website clicking on the info as well as watching some of the demo videos - am I understanding correctly that you don't tell me what colors to purchase or what colors to use for anything so none of this is a step-by-step?
For example, the apples or the flower the description says use whatever colors you like; how am I supposed to know which ones would look good together? Like while the video was going on, is he gonna say grab yellow ocher and grab this and mix it together and apply it to your paper? Or is every video going to be me guessing?
I just want to be sure that I'm signing up for something that I'm going to learn from and not spend $300 on videos that are just gonna give me generalized "do what you think looks best" information. I'm sorry to be so harsh but I really love this classic style of painting and want to be sure I know what I am signing up for.
Answer from Vladimir London, Watercolor Academy tutor
Do I understand you correctly that you are looking for some "repeat-after-me" watercolor course where you can make replicas of artworks as shown in the video lessons? I'm sure you will find plenty of such courses on the Internet; they train students how to make copies of pictures they see on the screen.
Although you mentioned in your email that you want "to learn from", I see that you are confused about tainting and education. We educate students, while other courses train. If this sounds to you the same, here's the question: If you had a teenage daughter, what would you rather have for her - sex training or education? Please do not get offended, I gave this example as a very clear explanation how the Watercolor Academy course is different from other online courses.
In other courses, you will get training, which is "grab yellow ocher and grab this and mix it together". This tells you what to do without you learning why you need to do so. Watercolor Academy is different. Before we talk about painting something, we educate about color theory, color contrasts, color mixing, five methods and nine techniques of watercolor painting, and so on. By the time a student gets to painting lessons, one would be fully prepared to make educated decisions about colors and techniques to be used.
Regarding the mentioned video about the "Dry Brush on Moist Alla Prima Watercolor Painting Technique", this video, as it's clear from its name, is about technique, not colors. For that reason, it doesn't matter which colors you use, as long as you understand how to apply paints on paper with the needed amount of moisture on the brush and paper. It could be any color you want, but the technique will be the same. Refocusing student's attention to colors from methods would be an erroneous teaching approach.
Also, in the Watercolor Academy course, we do not want students to make copy-paste replicas of pictures they see in the course. Such activity is called "copying". The aim of Watercolor Academy is to help students to become original fine artists, not reproducers. Many beginner artists do not see the difference. They trace photos and decorate outlines with watercolor paints. This is not art, but reproduction. If making copies is your ambition, there are many other courses where they train that, but in the Watercolor Academy, copying is not encouraged. Instead, we want you to watch our video lessons, understand why and how certain techniques are used and apply that knowledge for making your own creative works of art.
Now, about paints, colors and other art supplies. In many watercolor courses, they provide a shopping list and tell you where to get those materials. Once again, Watercolor Academy is different. We educate students on art materials, telling all you need to know about paints, brushes, papers, etc., which qualities to look for and how to test those qualities, and so on. This knowledge will help you to make educated purchasing decisions rather than blindly buy every item on the list.
If you are serious about getting professional watercolor painting skills, I would advise to take the Watercolor Academy Correspondence Course.
Today, this is probably the best watercolor course you can find on the Internet. There are no other courses where you will get unlimited, lifetime, personal, one-to-one tutoring for a one time low fee. In this course, your art skills will be fully assessed and a special curriculum will be created for your level of skills and needs. You will get 100 art tasks one by one with in-depth step-by-step explanations, demonstrations and instructions. You will receive full feedback on every artwork you make in this course together with explanations on how to fix mistakes and how to improve your skills. We guarantee that you will reach the advanced level of watercolor painting skills as long as you follow your curriculum and our guidance.
If you find any better (or equivalent but cheaper) watercolor course, let me know. I have searched very hard and can proudly say that the Watercolor Academy Correspondence Course is the best.
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