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Charles Reid Workshop Report

Overlook - Harbor at Avalon (Kirk Fromm)

“Twenty-six miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me, Santa Catalina, the island of romance, romance, romance, romance” 26 Miles (Santa Catalina), Four Preps, 1958

An hour’s ferry ride from L.A., the historic and scenic Santa Catalina island was an idyllic setting for the 16 watercolorists who convened at the main village town of Avalon for an exciting five day watercolor workshop with Charles Reid - ASAI’s second with this incredible artist. With the inspiring presence and direction of Charles, ASAI members from around the country, together with four Californian non-members, enjoyed a productive week of painting. Included in our company was a JARA/ASAI member from Saitama, Japan, a college art professor/grandparent, a doctor of psychology/retired, a graphic designer, and a movie production consultant, together with the practicing ASAI illustrators.

Painting Session at the Courtyard (Dana Peterson Mason)

Stan the Man (Dick Sneary)

Courtyard Cafe (Frank Costantino)

Although our umbrellas were brought to shade easels from the California sun, we were unexpectedly protected from a steady, but light shower throughout Charles’ first morning demonstration, a figure study of his wife, Judy. The weather for the remainder of the week, however, was glorious – bright sunshine, clear skies, warm temperatures, but not hot – perfect for cast shadows, sharp colors, sparkling water, dazzling whites and brilliant greens of all hues.

Charles and Judy Reid (Dana Peterson Mason)

Hillside View (Kirk Fromm)

Charles Reid’s sketchy, interpretive, almost impressionistic technique was demonstrated each morning as he conceptualized and completed a small painting as his fascinated ensemble observed. The first demonstration took place in the spacious courtyard lawn of the Pavilion Lodge, where the students gathered round the seated artist as he explained his drawing and painting method, color choices and important tips about “soft and hard edges”, “negative spaces”, the “air” of white paper, and other key points mentioned in Charles’ many books on watercolor. Some of his suggestions included seemingly contradictory phrases such as “keep your darks light”, “squint to find lost edges”, “always look for the values”. Although everyone laughed often at these perplexing pointers, Kirk Fromm struggled and repeated, “I have to work on my light darks.”

Pavillion Lodge (Dick Sneary)

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