Workshop Report(s): Collage & Watercolor Studio with David Daniels

An unexpected turn of events brought watercolor artist David Daniels to our studio for two weeks at the end of July. Through two workshops, the studio turned into a vibrant space full of color through the creation of collage and watercolor pieces alike. Here’s a few things his students had to say about their experience;

Wonderful week of painting in an atmosphere of tranquility and inspiration.”

I didn’t know what I was getting into, I thought it would be the usual watercolour but David Daniels was a real surprise. He pitched the course at an advanced level gave us so much theory and instruction we’ll be busy all winter. And he did it all with great humour and fun.

The instruction, as always with Dave, was excellent, and tailored to individual needs. The lighting in the studio was great. Also, this is less tangible–but the group dynamics were terrific, and I appreciated the chance to focus on conversations with friends I hadn’t seen in a long while, especially during dinner.

Dave Daniels creates such a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn and try new things and fosters collaboration between the participants so everyone, no matter where they are starting from, can move forward.”

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page; Collage & Watercolor here and Watercolor Studio here. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class.

 And of course, our videos for the week, found on our new YouTube channel!

Watercolor and Collage with David Daniels

Life happens even in the art workshop business! One of our instructors was forced to cancel his participation in a workshop. But lucky for us and all the students who were signed up, David Daniels stepped up to the plate to offer his fun, informative, encouraging, and innovative take on watercolor and collage.

Excellent instruction!” “It surpassed my expectations in many ways. David is a wonderful artist, a terrific teacher and a great inspiration.” “Great teaching skills – learned a lot about color, values, and making my own paper.” “I feel very happy about having taken this class. I learned much more about materials and techniques than I had known. And the food was delicious!

These were just some of the comments by the students. If definitely was a fun week. IMG 3464
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The weather was fabulous too for after class hanging by the pool! IMG 3487 David Daniels will be back to teach another workshop with us in 2017.

The Brilliance of Watercolor with David Daniels

BEST CLASS EVER!!” “Absolutely met my expectations. Tremendously good instruction. Congenial and interesting group. Great workspace and environment.” – Barbara B.

It was a great week with David Daniels as he taught his popular watercolor workshop to a full house. IMG 3350
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The class had a canine mascot, Cloe, who came with one of the students. She was a very sweet dog. IMG 3353
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Cloe like to “offer” the opportunity to give her a belly rub every chance she got, plopping herself on the floor and presenting her belly. IMG 3356
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Here is a behind the scenes shot of chef Mark and Nancy rolling out dough for the Chinese soup dumplings that are being served this year. They are made and steam right be for service, so they come out hot and fresh to the table. IMG 0971 If you were on the wait list for this class or are now thoroughly intrigued about taking a workshop with David Daniels, as luck would have it David is stepping into to teach a combined watermedia collage and watercolor workshop in just a few weeks. This is sure to be a fun and informative workshop that you don’t want to miss.

An Interview with David Daniels: Artist in Watercolor + more

David Daniels is the watercolor instructor for the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, DC.  He is also a Professor of Painting at Montgomery College in Rockville MD, as well as teaching workshops around the world.

David returns to the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops to teach a 5-day Watercolor Studio class June 28 to July 4, 2015.

How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching Art to elementary school students many many years ago. It was my first job out of college. I traveled from room to room and school to school with a cardboard box filled with donated art supplies. Admittedly, that was not the most ideal teaching scenario, but it did teach me patience and made me able to adjust to almost any situation.

Fast forward many years and you will still find me moving from place to place, however now I am traveling to teach Watercolor Workshops throughout the United States and Europe.

Those early years were a very formative part of my life and history. So putting that all together I have been painting and teaching for over forty-five years.


What is your very favorite part about teaching?
I love watching students discover their full potential. Most students have no idea how good they really are. As an instructor I can help students learn to listen to their own voice and trust their artistic expression.

I also enjoy helping student be able to talk about their work. Critique is a critical part of my teaching philosophy. Phrases like “I like it” or “it’s pretty” just do not go far enough. I enjoy helping student to learn the vocabulary of art and be able to put into words their feeling about the work.

Why take a workshop?
It all comes down to “A like-minded community”. There is nothing more beneficial to a student than to surround themselves with people with similar interest and goals. Many life-long friendships have been forged while attending a workshop.

This is not to negate the importance of instruction or demonstration, but it is the collective energy created by the group that you will always remember.

What are you currently working on in your own art?
My biggest challenge in life is always my next painting. My scientific background challenges me to question many of the common practices that influence most watercolor painters.

For the past several years I have been gluing my watercolor paper to an aluminum support before I start painting. I then varnish the completed painting. This has caused many a raised eyebrow in the watercolor community.

Park path 61 x 41Park Path

My most recent paintings have begun to explore combining watercolor with wax, gold leaf, and pastel.

What are your favorite art quotes?
“Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightening to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” Chuck Close

“When you know how to paint something, you should by all means stop painting it. You will be ceasing to learn and starting to perform. Your work will become an exercise in self congratulations.” Wolf Cohn

“Just get out of your own way.” David Daniels

Describe your studio.
That is a little easier said than done because it is always in a state of flux. My physical studio is a beautiful 14” x 24” structure in my home, with floor to ceiling windows on three sides. I have one large working surface that measures 6’ x 12’ which accommodates the large sheets of paper that I paint on.

I love being surrounded by things that bring joy to my heart, and peace to my soul.

Here is a partial list of “stuff” that can be found in my studio

5 mobiles

A collection of 20 antique watercolor paint sets

An aquarium

3 computers

Cardboard moose head

3 drinking ducks

A stuffed crow

My Great, Great, Grandfather’s foundation rocker

An assortment of huge houseplants

Well, you get the idea. The other important fact is that my studio is never the same on any given day. As I change so does my studio.

Name five of your “can’t do without” tools or products.
At sixty-six years of age, I certainly did not grow up with computers, but now I find them a very important part of my creative process. I use them for everything from storing images to paint, to compositional studies.

My library is indispensable to me. I have a great collection of books that I love looking at, holding, and being surrounded by. They bring me great joy knowing that some of the most brilliant people in the world are only pages away

The last three are pretty predictable for a watercolorist. I enjoy the best materials that I can buy. My collection of paper, paint and brushes are extremely important to me.