Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Judy Morris Workshop - Day 1

I am presently down in Myrtle Beach, SC taking a watercolor workshop with watercolor artist, Judy Morris.

Arrived here yesterday and it was warm enough for a walk on the beach after meeting the instructor, then off to cocktails and dinner with all the other participants. There are 5 workshops going on  here this week, and I hope to get to see some of the work they are doing in the other classes later in the week.

We have been rising early and going on the beach to walk before sunrise, and then taking some sunrise photos. Here is one of my photos from this morning with the Springmaid Pier showing.

For Day 1 in Judy's class she did a lot of talking about her painting process and gave a demo of how she does her smooth washes and how she uses salt in her paintings. We had lots of questions and she had lots of answers and stories. This is my second time taking a class with her and I really enjoy her.

Judy showed us one way to add texture to our paintings using salt. This technique can be used for buildings, pavements, foliage, and just about anything. She used it in a painting of a bubble bath. lol

We each did some practice with the salt technique. She uses both Kosher salt (Morton's because of the irregular shape of the salt flakes in that brand) and regular table salt. She paints a section about as big as the palm of your hand and then immediately salts it evenly with Kosher salt. Then you continue with another of the same size, etc.  She says that may people say to wait until the shine is off the paper before salting, but she says the salt absorbs much better the more water there is. Here is the beginning of my piece. Notice the white spaces. She always leaves those and later fills them with color.

For my sample I used ultramarine blue, a purple, indigo and alizarin crimson. As long as the paper is still damp you can add more paint and salt to any area. We left our samples until they were bone dry and removed the salt...not an easy thing to do. I used the back of a knife to scrape it off. You have to be careful not to scrape the paper while you are doing that, All the salt and the salt dust must be removed. You need to wipe it gently with a damp paper towel or lightly feather it with a damp brush so you don't disturb the patterns left by the salt.

Next we filled the white spaces. She usually uses windsor red which seems like a strange thing to do, but if you look at her paintings it works. Here is how my sample looks with the addition of the red. Notice that the red doesn't stand out as much as you would think.

The last step is to very gently use a light wash of cadmium yellow or something similar over the entire area to unify the painting. Here is my salt technique painting at the final stage.

Right now (10:15 pm) it is warm (61 degrees) but foggy. I hope it clears up a bit before our sunrise walk tomorrow.


  1. Wow, cool technique! Glad to hear it's warm there!

  2. Wow, cool technique! Glad to hear it's warm there!

  3. I love the cool effects you got. I always have a hard time getting the salt off, thank you for sharing what you are learning in the workshop! I happy for you especially that you are enjoying warmer temps.

  4. I've tried salt before and just wasn't crazy about the effects. Plus, I simply couldn't get it all off the paper afterwards; it was really stuck! Love seeing what others can do with it though! Love the softness of this background paper, Joan!

  5. I hope you took good notes to show me :)

  6. Cool!!! I've had varying success with WHEN I add salt --- so it's interesting to see this working for someone else. Enjoy your time!!!

  7. Sounds like it is going to be a great workshop and how nice to get away from the cold, Sunrise gorgeous.

  8. Thanks, Tina!

    Sherry, the salt seems to work better with some colors than other, and it depends on how much water you use. It isn't easy to get off but a palette knife, the back of a knife, or a credit card seem to work best. Thanks.

    Susan, I have lots of notes and photos.

    Lin, thank you. I've had mixed results too, so I am glad someone is showing us how to do it better.

    Lorraine, thanks. The class and the weather are great...aside from a bit of fog.

  9. Ah, sounds like work to me! It looks good, though. Thanks for sharing.