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Building Your Center of Interest -March 17, 24 & 31 Live Online Workshop

March 17, 2021 @ 10:00 am - March 31, 2021 @ 3:00 pm


Ellen Jean Diederich who has 37 years of professional painting and teaching experience invites you to join her in exploring and effective design principles to build your center of interest in a painting.

Building Your Center of Interest –Any Medium

With Instructor Ellen Jean Diederich TWSA, RRWS, WSA, WW
March 17, 24 & 31st  10:00-12:00 & 1:00-3:00 Central Time
Live Online Workshop with Personal Assistance $125.00


 When you go to an art show, some paintings may instantly attract your attention. They may be the award winners at a show. It is a wonderful to create a beautiful painting. How do you make “your” paintings stand out? What story do you want to tell? Would you like to win awards?  In this workshop you will practice a variety of design principles that bring out the interest area in your painting, and balance out the rest. You can do this with  any medium – my examples will be done in watercolor.

Each day in this Online Workshop you can paint along and participate by emailing in questions or photos of your work during and after class. You will be provided sketches and photographs to paint along with Ellen or you can use your own subject.  A wonderful technical assistant will be there to help you communicate with her the whole time.  Work finished after class when emailed in by 8:00 a.m. the following morning  for critique. This online workshop will be  edited and you will be able to log back to review it at any time after that.  Online participants will have permanent access to the edited tape.

This workshop is designed for any level painter who wants to improve their compositional skills.  Registered Students are emailed a letter on March 5th, 2020. It will include attachments you will need to print out.  A link to connect to the live class will be emailed on March 16th, 2020

March 17: Contrast is the key! Exercise: change a color photograph into a black and white value sketch. Lead the eye using connections and edges. Shade in and label sketches provided varying the contrast.  Afternoon: Create colorful volumetric white shapes & contrast background with color complements.
March 24:  Critique. Study size, texture, and direction of hard and soft shapes. Using your favorite value sketch from Tuesday, paint that subject placing compliments side by side, add pattern to background.  See pattern sketch.  Afternoon:  Draw out painting on watercolor paper.  Copy sketch of Ellen’s painting to work on or your own subject.
March 31: Paint along with Ellen or work step by step on a subject of your choice or Paint. Decide on  the center of interest is and use  at least one design concept of contrast to develop it.

Critique is scheduled after a 1 hour break after class at 4:00 p.m.

I look forward to working with you! Please email [email protected] any questions you have.

Ellen Jean Diederich’ Watercolor Supply List

START WITH THE STUFF YOU HAVE: Please have your own favorites brushes, and tools available. You do not need to buy these specific paints but need a warm and cool color of each and good paper for success. This list includes all of the colors I paint and recommend for any watercolor class. I have underlined colors particularly helpful for this course.

You Need: Photographs you have taken to paint from, paper towels, (FROG tape – recommended) and/or  masking tape,  an ice cream pail, #2 pencils, 2 1/2″ house brush (black Bristle), supportive painting board (such as gator board or drawing board, HB or #2 drawing pencil,  jet eraser, and yellow gum eraser 18” ruler or straight edge, sharpie marker.

SUPPLIES: These specified brands are used by Ellen, feel comfortable using the brands you currently have. Tubes of paint can be divided with others. The Robert E. Wood Palette is the best and most economic purchase you can add. Professional grade paint and paper is strongly recommended and it will definitely affect your painting progress. Many people have difficulty painting because of the paper and brushes they choose. If you have any questions about supplies please come ½ hour early and you can purchase these (below) from Ellen at discounted prices.

  • Robert E. Wood Watercolor Palette
  • D’Arches 140# (or heavier) cold press or watercolor paper 2-5 sheets
  • Wash Brushes: WN (Winsor-Newton) Golden Scepter 1″ flat ¾” flat, and ½ “ flat
  • Brush WN 530 Script, WN #10 Round
  • 9″ x 12″ Drawing Pad, Gum Eraser, & magic eraser
  • Variety of Watercolor Pencils (Derwent) larger group of colors are better

Winsor Newton Professional Grade Paints

  • Cerulean Blue, Winsor Yellow Deep ,  Raw Sienna,   Cadmium Lemon ,   Cobalt Blue
  • Scarlet Lake, Antwerp Blue,   Winsor Green (pthalo),   Hookers Green         
  • Burnt Sienna, Permanent Rose,   Cobalt Turquoise Light,   French Ultramarine Blue
  • Permanent Magenta, Rose Madder Genuine,  

Additional colors “unnecessary favorites”

Cobalt Violet, Cobalt Turquoise Dark ,Quinacridone Gold,Cobalt Green,   Mars Black , Indian red ,
Cobalt Teal, Cadmium Orange

Optional Materials: If you have these things on hand and want to work with them feel free to  bring them along:  Brayers, razor blades,  Speedball cut easy Blocks, Speedball linoleum cutter, metallic watercolors, gouache (white required), Acrylic paints, Matt medium, soft gel gloss, collage items, and  if you buy watercolor pencils- I recommend a set of  36 or more colors.

 PAINTING TIP: Softening an edge – Many times you may boldly put on a shape and express what you want precisely but it appears a little sharp. Take a house brush loaded with water and brush until it is softened where you want. Dab off with a paper towel and let it dry thoroughly.  At my workshop, we’ll try this and many other techniques that will help you make simple aesthetic changes!

Ellen Jean Diederich
3374 Maplewood Court
Fargo, ND 58104