Sunflower Workshop

Sunflowers. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

Phew! Another video lesson this afternoon and it was pretty intense. Flowers are tough at the best of times and require a huge amount of concentration. I’m exhausted! Everyone did really well – congrats to Cathy, Meredith, and MaryJo!!

Mine came out tighter than I would usually do but for me that is always the case when talking through a painting. I may touch this up and finish it off later.

If anyone is interested in joining me online for zoom lessons there are more signups available at
Post Road Art

Fruit Demo 2

Fruit Still Life. Michele Clamp. Watercolor. 11”x14”

As it was still early and I had a fistful of reference photos I thought I’d have another go at a fruit still life. I haven’t done one of these in a long time and I was interested to see if I could still remember how to do things.

First the photo. A little more complicated than the previous one and I’ve always dreaded doing grapes.


Drawing and first washes in. Not particularly confident at this point and I’d been a little tentative with the first washes so everything’s looking a bit washed out.

Next stage and things are looking a little better. Still not really very confident but at least the grapes aren’t giving me as much trouble as I’d thought.

Final version. To be honest I quit while I was ahead here. I could have gone back in and darkened up some of the grapes but felt the risk of ruining it was too great. Pretty happy with this to be honest.

And of course an easel shot.

Fruit Demo 1

Fruit Still Life. Michele Clamp. Watercolor 11”x14”

I’m starting teaching on October 21st so I’ve been thinking about lesson plans and the like. I thought we’d start off with something simple to get people used to handling the paint and mixing colors.

I thought this would be much more straightforward than it was. Turns out that when you’re trying to think through what you’re going to say and paint at the same time everything gets more complicated. Added to that is that I was trying not to paint on automatic but only do things that I could clearly articulate. Easier said than done.

So here was the initial photo :

Nice basic shapes, good colors and distinct patterns of light and shade.

Drawing is fairly straightforward I hope. Concentrating on angles and junctions and negative spaces. I marked in the shadow areas and highlights more than I usually would for emphasis.

First layer with the midtones and some darks. My shadow on the lemon fell off but that’s ok.

final image with the darkest darks put in and some details in the stalks. I hope this isn’t either too simple or too complicated for people to follow along with.

And a nice easel shot. Always good to have one of those.

Maine Audubon Exhibition and Owl Demo

Michele Clamp painting Maine Audubon’s snowy owl mount

Last autumn I was very happy to receive a request to show some Maine bird paintings at the
Maine Audubon Center

in Portland.    At the time we all thought it a great idea for me to do a watercolor demo of their fabulous new snowy owl mount.    Now producing most of the paintings went very well and some even sold before the opening and had to be replaced which is a nice problem to have.      However the snowy owls were a problem and it took me a few goes before I produced something I could bear to put up.  See the carousel below for my trials and tribulations.

So it’s fair to say I was a little unsure how the demo would turn out.      Or if anyone would turn up!

In the end everything turned out fine.    We had around 40 people come through – at one point around 35 were standing around watching the painting progress.   The shop did great business and I hope everyone had a good time.   I know I certainly did.   

Below is a time-lapse of some of the painting (sadly cut short before the end as we ran out of battery).


And here are a couple of shots during the session.    

So what was the end painting like.  Well – not too bad.    It was hard to keep the concentration going as well as people asking questions but I was pretty pleased in the end.    One thing I did learn,  however, was how much more satisfying it is painting from ‘life’ (or at least something in front of you) rather than a photo.  Even your own photos are rather dead and lacking in detail.