Don Andrews is a nationally known watercolor artist and workshop instructor. He has conducted painting workshops throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Africa for over 30 years.
Don is an active member and past board director of the American Watercolor Society. His paintings have received numerous awards in national watercolor competitions, including three awards from the American Watercolor Society, and two Best of Show awards from the New England Watercolor Society.
We are pleased to welcome Don back to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops this summer – he will be teaching a five day Studio Workshop, Watercolor Landscapes, June 5 to 11, 2016.
How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?
In 1983 I was painting during the day and working at JC Penney at night. That year I was asked to do a demo for the Southern WC Society’s annual exhibition in Asheville, NC. The demo went well and the director of Springmaid Beach Watercolor Workshops who was in attendance, asked me if I would come there to teach.
I’ve been traveling and teaching ever since. I often wonder if I hadn’t agreed to drive 500 miles from my home in Mobile, AL to Asheville for that demo, would I still be working nights at JC Penney?
What is your favorite part about teaching?
There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a student struggle with some aspect of painting and demonstrating a solution that helps them jump that hurdle.
What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?
You’ll gain a clear understanding of the many uses of light. We’ll demystify color in a logical way, and lose our fear of mud. I will spend one day explaining how we can loosen up to make a more personal watercolor statement and a day showing how figures can be introduced to make landscape paintings come alive. I’m a firm believer in a no-pressure, fun studio environment.
What are you currently working on in your own art?
My wife Martha and I just moved to Austin TX to be closer to our kids after many years in Alabama. I’m exploring the western landscape with fresh eyes! (Our kids just had baby Sophie!)
Where is your art currently being exhibited?
Right now I’m not in any galleries as I travel a good bit each year and take my paintings with me. One of these days I will slow down and explore the gallery scene.
Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation?
When I used to be represented in galleries I found it imperative to research each gallery to find a good fit with my work and their clientele.
Do you sell your work in any online gallery?
I do have an online gallery on my website which I occasionally sell from. However, in my experience and from the many artists I have talked to, the online gallery market introduces your work to potential customers but they want to see the painting up close and personal before they buy.
What is your favorite art quote?
Not long after I began my watercolor life, I was fortunate to take a workshop with my mentor, California artist, Robert E Wood who said , “We learn fastest through experimentation!”
Describe your studio.
Martha and I have bought a little land outside Austin, TX and we’re hoping to build there soon. Right now my studio is a small spare bedroom, but aside from carpet on the floor, it works just fine!
Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.
My digital camera and home computer… I’m a studio painter so it’s very convenient to keep a camera on hand, take lots of shots, then adjust them on the computer before printing them out to work from.
I have a large mirror on my studio wall opposite my easel…. A hundred times during the painting, I turn to get a look at the painting reversed in the mirror across the room. It usually points out some design, color or value problem I wasn’t aware of standing so close to the painting.
My sketchbook… Before I start a painting I arrange the subject matter and organize the value plan with a few quick sketches.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser… It’s the best tool to lift dead paint from a watercolor that I’ve ever come across!