In early October, nationally respected watercolorist Eric Wiegardt brought top-tier instruction to workshop participants at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell MT. Eric Wiegardt, AWS-DF, NWS has received the highest honor for watercolor, the prestigious American Watercolor Society’s Gold Medal of Honor. There are only 64 other artists honored with this award of excellence. He has also received the Dolphin Fellow (DF) from the American Watercolor Society. The Dolphin Fellow status can only be obtained by merit alone, based on the number of awards he has received from AWS.
The four days of instructions gave participants the opportunity to learn theory from a master, observe the master at work, paint under his instruction and benefit from his critiques of the workshop paintings produced. No matter what motivated participants- new concepts and techniques, personal critiques, dedicated painting time to explore their own artist vision—Wiegarct delivered! He encouraged all participants, irrespective of their skill level, experience, or confidence; he pushed all to seek the essence of watercolors through fresh pigments and ample water; he provided exercises that invited exuberant use of both paint and water; he gave positive feedback and helpful suggestions. Wiegardt backed up his formal group instruction with demonstration paintings—not with canned, carefully practiced paintings but rather, with unrehearsed paintings based on in-the-moment inspiration. Two of the demos were of our own Glacier National Park and two others demos, scenes of Portugal, were inspired during a workshop that he had taught immediately before visiting us in Montana. In terms of instructional specifics, Wiegardt emphasized composition. He presented a trio of essentials—each one easily understood, readily identified, and useful as a basis for critiques. Wiegardt brought sample brushes for use, allowing participants to experience the all-important water-holding properties and painting qualities of his recommended squirrel mops, flats, rounds, and a dagger points. The brushes and instructional DVD’s were available for purchase during the workshop as well.
It was abundantly clear that Eric Wiegardt’s workshop was fun, challenging, and rewarding. Wiegardt shared his mastery of the medium and knowledge to encourage the advancement of each of the participant’s own future paintings.