Ian Fennelly

Sun, March 12 to Sat, March 18 2023

Shapes, Colors and Stories with Ian Fennelly

Medium: Watercolor

Level: All Levels

Location: Plein Air & Studio

Status: Open For Enrollment

Instructor's Website: https://www.ianfennelly.co.uk/

  • Hudson Valley Art Workshops Slideshow
  • Hudson Valley Art Workshops Slideshow
  • Hudson Valley Art Workshops Slideshow
  • Hudson Valley Art Workshops Slideshow

Shapes are what we see, colors are what we feel, and stories are what we tell.

Follow Ian through what he calls “The Creative Journey” in this workshop; First, meet & greet and find a spot. Second, look at the visual features that surround you and chat together about them. Third, look at the big shapes, think about the colors and tones, and notice any patterns that jump out. Fourth, find a subject and decide on the focus. Fifth, think about what might go in and what might stay out. Finally, think about the composition. Where will we begin? How does it relate to the page?

Ian’s process includes;

  1. Outline
    • Focus on big shapes and talk about composition. Discuss the relationship between those first shapes and lines, and the edge of the page.
  2. Big shapes
    • This adds realism and more information.
  3. Watercolor
    • Discuss color choice – local color, emotional color, technique and choice of brushes. Also what we don’t paint is so important!
  4. Brush Pens
    • To add tone and depth to the composition, and also to calm down the colors.
  5. Detail part 1
    • Looking for patterns and textures. Drawing inside the shapes and on top of the watercolor.
  6. Detail part 2
    • Noticing and recording the little stuff.

Supply List


About Ian Fennelly

Ian Fennelly is an artist and more specifically an urban sketcher; or to be even more precise – he makes art in a busy location while looking at buildings and street furniture.

Ian has always been drawn to the urban environment; where people interact with the busy spaces that surround them. He tries to draw people without actually putting them in – partly because they never keep still. But he likes drawing the spaces they’ve been in, or the cobbles they’ve walked on, and the windows they’ve looked through. Ian loves location drawing as it enables him to record the experience of being in a busy place.

Ian generally begins with a painted wash to break up the space in front of him. This establishes the broad shapes of the composition. This is a very emotional part of the process as you are dealing with color which affects us all in different ways. Watercolor paint is perfect for this part of the process as they soften easily and create a wonderful layering effect which enables me to build up tones and glazes of color.

Then he works on top of the color with brush pens which adds depth and tonal value to the image. Then he uses liner makers to add the texture and detail. This is a big part of the creative journey as recording the detail of an urban scene really forces you to look and notice things. This brings in the very human element of simply being out on location and fully experiencing and enjoying the world around you.

Finally, if he is lucky, it will be complete. In between all this Ian is constantly jumping around, bouncing up and down, nipping to the toilet or buying a coffee and cake. Ian tends not to sit still, so the angles can change. If a car or van parks up in front of me, the choice is to draw through it, or move around it – either way you have to get fully involved in the scene, both physically and imaginatively.

Ian’s urban sketches typically take around 2 – 3 hours to complete. He used to be a lot quicker but he notices things now. The more you look, the more you see, the more you understand.


Rates & Enrollment

Day Student Tuition: $860.00

Full 5-Day Package*: $2,371.14-2,592.10

*5-Day Workshop Package includes: Tuition for 5 full class days, 6 nights of dinner, lodging, breakfast, daily cookie and fruit breaks, unlimited coffee and tea, and welcoming wine and cheese reception. Your choice between a room to yourself (single occupancy) or bring a friend and split a room (double occupancy).

Get more information about your options to enroll here.