Awaken your Creativity with a Watercolour Class – I’ve followed @ipoojakapoor_watercolours on Instagram and been bowled over by Pooja’s lovely style of painting. To be honest, I was highly envious of her ability to produce such beautiful creative work with such relative ease! So, I bit the bullet and decided to attend one of her workshops.
These are held either on zoom (she has customers all over the world and with corporate customers booking them as teambuilding) or, if you can attend one, at various locations in and around London. I went to Old Amersham on a wet Sunday, where Pooja was running a session at Hawkyns, Atul Kochhar’s restaurant at The Crown Hotel. Pooja provides all equipment necessary, but I soon discovered that she has a loyal band of followers who’ve been to multiple classes and keep returning, and practise at home between classes. There were people of all age groups, mothers and daughters, friends, and couples.
We gathered around while Pooja explained the processes and demonstrated the various methods of achieving the best effects. She told us that it’s crucial to ‘loosen up’; ‘be free’ with our brush strokes and not be afraid to use plenty of water (on the paper and to clean one’s brushes between colours).
We were shown how to use textures – salt crystals for example – to add interest with darker colours. Also, how best to use our palette and save pigments for future use, reawaken the colours and see what colours are in it.
“It’s all about having fun,” she stressed, as she demonstrated how to use a pencil lightly to map out our painting before starting. I had no idea that using the end of my brush, or a cocktail stick, could add another dimension to my work while the paint is still wet. And the knack of spattering paint to add interest was completely new to me.
Pooja suggested our first attempt should be lupins – a perfect subject with lots of vibrant colours and opportunities to experiment with different brush techniques. Off we went to our tables (which we had laid out on arrival) and set about our own attempts at replicating her techniques.
Reader, it was a revelation! Some of the other people were old hands at this watercolour lark, having been taught by Pooja before, but in no time at all, we had all produced very passable attempts at foxgloves as demonstrated earlier. While we were painting, Pooja came round and gave tips – in my case, it was “put some water outside the paint area and then touch it to let the colours seep”. This seemed alien to me, as my previous art attempts were neat and tidy, but I took her advice and was delighted to find that it really enhanced and ‘loosened’ my picture.
We stopped for a snack lunch that was included in the workshop price, before another tutorial where we were shown how to paint Black-eyed Susans and add textures to their dome-shaped central cones of tiny disc florets.
Pooja explained that we wouldn’t achieve the same results again: that’s the beauty of a watercolour painting. My attempt was, I must admit, surprisingly pleasing, and I’ve vowed to invest in a decent set of watercolours and brushes to experiment further. I hadn’t really painted anything since my school days but having enjoyed the satisfaction of creating and the relaxation it provided, I’ll be busily experimenting.
I can’t recommend Pooja’s workshops highly enough – she has lots more information about them on her website thepetalsstudio.co.uk and there are more scheduled in central London most weekends till the end of the year, and very reasonably priced. You could also buy a voucher – what a fabulous present!