We had the privilege of attending a workshop with Joseph Zbukvic, one of the world’s best watercolour artist. I have been trying to participate for many years, but his courses have always been fully booked year in advance. Last year, around Christmas, EPC Art Courses announce a workshop in Girona with Joseph. Exactly three o’clock I managed to press the button and we got two places, for me and my wife Margaretha. We were lucky, The waiting list for a workshop with Joseph is around 350 people.

But who is this popular artist?

Joseph Zbukvic was born in 1951 in Zagreb, former Yugoslavia. He is autodidact and has painted his entire life. As an eighteen year old, he immigrated to Australia because of the political situation in his home country. There he studied industrial design, but soon discovered that watercolour would be his life. He quickly made a success in exhibitions and had great success in various art competitions.

A simple practice, said Joseph, a beach

The first day we painted indoor, in a studio above a bar in Girona. Joseph painted a very simple picture, as he told us, with a beach, a mountain, and a man with a dog.

“This is easy, later this week it’s gonna be much more difficult, joked Joseph. He partly moistening the sky. Then on with a little color so he got both soft and hard edges. The beach was painted smoothly and he put a little blue close to the water, because the wet sand reflects the sky. A few quick brush strokes in the water made the paint stand on top of the rough paper, so called drybrush  Suddenly we began to see waves and how the sun shines on the water.

Then we should paint the same, he said. We started and Joseph walked to us and commented, he pointed out what we could improve.

My attempt was okay. Joseph thought that the forest was a bit to turquoise.

Sedan skulle vi måla likadant. Joseph gick runt bland oss 20 deltagare och kommenterade, han påpekade vad som skulle förbättras.

 

 

 

 

 

It looked very simple when Joseph did this…

The first day we painted indoor, in a studio above a bar in Girona. Joseph painted a very simple picture, as he told us, with a beach, a mountain, and a man with a dog.

“This is easy, later this week it’s gonna be much more difficult, joked Joseph. He partly moistening the sky. Then on with a little color so he got both soft and hard edges. The beach was painted smoothly and he put a little blue close to the water, because the wet sand reflects the sky. A few quick brush strokes in the water made the paint stand on top of the rough paper, so called drybrush  Suddenly we began to see waves and how the sun shines on the water.

My colourful attempt

Then we should paint the same, he said. We started and Joseph walked to us and commented, he pointed out what we could improve.

In the afternoon he painted a landscape. A photo he took from the bus was a reference. First the sky in the same way as before, then the green landscape. Here he told us about Mr Bead and Mr Gravity. Mr Bead is a long drop of color and water across the paper, a small stream of water that you can lead down, without getting ugly edges. Mr Gravity pulls the pigment down, so sometimes it may be good to keep the picture on the slope, maybe even up side down. He was careful to leave small white spots here and there. These little pieces were then transformed into buildings and other objects. 

-If you paint the entire surface, if you cover it all with paint, it will die, explained Joseph. In the foreground he laid a warm color and put a wet orange string on top that ran downward. Amazingly, it looked like dry grass. Then we had to make a similar one. It was fun. Joseph went as before around and commented.

All participants at a long table in Girona

In the evening there was dinner in the street outside. We sat next to five artist from Singapore. That was very nice. The other participants at the workshop were from Canada, Germany, USA, France, New Zealand, Holland and Norway. We were served fish for the main course.

 

 

 

Continue with day 2

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