Cloche Designs | Watercolor Class With Gina Langford
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Watercolor Class With Gina Langford

By: Laura Nell Burton
Photography By: Christin Gish

Cloche had so much fun debuting Gina Langford at her first ever instructed “Introduction to Watercolor” class earlier this month!

If you’re just getting to know Gina, read all about her TOWN&COUNTRY-acclaimed work in this previous Love Letter.

Twenty-two class attendees were greeted by a summer treat of popsicles in prosecco and lite bites. Ella Fitzgerald radio (a favorite of Gina’s) melodically set the tone for creative juices to flow.

I introduced Gina and spoke about the many reasons why we love and respect her work so much. I also shared a special personal connection—a portrait of my mother-in-law that hangs in my study which I only recently discovered happens to have been painted decades ago by her grandmother, Kathleen Welsh!

Gina charmed us all (per usual) and we learned so much in such a short amount of time including basic techniques, practical tips, and insight into her favorite watercolor supplies.

Here are Gina’s top do’s and don’ts for anyone learning the art of watercolor.

  1. “Don’t use black or white paint. If you want black, mix Alizarian Crimson and Phthalo Green together and it will be so much richer. Instead of using white paint, just leave the area without paint, or use clear water to create a three-dimensional gradation effect, as well as pale shades of grey, peach, lavender, or blue. Also, look at the color wheel and try to darken a color with its complement: yellow-violet, red-green, or orange-blue versus darkening with black. This makes colors more luminous!!”
  2. “Don’t worry about making each flower or object super realistic. Watercolor can be used with a great deal of control, but I think it’s more charming when used loosely.“
  3. “Don’t paint straight from the tube—always mix with at least a little water. Less water makes the color more opaque and more water makes it more translucent.”
  4. “Don’t start out painting details. Always start with light washes first and then come back for details and darker colors in the next layer. “
  5. “Do invest in quality paper and brushes! I love Arches paper (hot and cold) and Black Silver brushes.”
  6. “Do tape down the edges of your paper on a board with painter’s tape if you are painting the whole page (such as a landscape).“
  7. “Do clean your brushes! Use just a little dish soap, rinse with water, then reshape the hairs with your fingers and let dry standing brush side up in your jar or laying flat.”
  8. “Do let colors mix and blend as they touch each other. For example, the green stem of a flower looks so pretty when it goes up a little into the petals. You can also practice the “wet-on-wet” technique, which means you pre-wet an area on your paper and then paint on it right away before it dries. The spontaneous accidents that occur add interest.”
  9. Do use a light pad for tracing when needed. I often sketch a crest or monogram multiple times until I get it just right, and then I use the light pad to trace the final version onto watercolor paper. And don’t worry about the pencil lines showing through the watercolor. Pencil lines in a finished piece are chic! I use a 12″ X 17″ Artograph Light Pad 940 LX.”
  10. “Do listen to music that inspires you while you paint! I like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and the classical or jazz stations on Amazon Prime.”

Here is a peek at the beautiful works created by Gina’s students (all beginners) by the end of the evening! We have a waiting list going for a subsequent class so if you are interested email to receive a first call to sign up! We adore you, Gina!


The Cloche Girls ♥♥