Muses from the artistic world of Sonia Mocnik
September 24,2016
The start of the journey home

What an amazing adventure it has been to enjoy cruising on the Queen Victora and provide encourgement and instruction in watercolor at the same time. 

Our final class of 15 yesterday worked on a variety of projects.  We discussed colour and the colourwheel for new guests.  5 guests worked on the extended project of Italian laundry and we all explored clouds and how to work with a set of 4 colours to create shadow and light.

I was able to participate in a number of shore excursions including the Almalfi coast, the Cote d'azur (where the impressionists gathered and painted), and Gaudi's Sangrada Familia in Barcelona.

Now I am lounging in the Leonardo de Vinci airport starting my journey homeward.

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September 18,2016

it's been a very busy voyage and lots of interesting excursions. Yesterday's class was in the morning. The previous day we had 1600 new guests join the ship and today they were having their first day at sea.  Seas were a bit choppy so many ´┐╝were just relaxing. I had 14 people join in the class working diligently on tones, highlights and shadows with a lemon drawing and then painting. Then we moved on to Oleander where we could try painting with the Cotman palette which was new to many of the guests. Some were working from their own kits that they brought along.  

I focused on working from their lightest colour, lemon yellow and then adding in a light wash of Alizarin Crimson, then sap green and finally adding some blues in the background.  The ambitious guest took away some homework to try to paint a laundry scene from Venice that was available for them to transfer.

Several of the guest I had been teaching left the ship on Saturday.  They were such a joy to paint with and I hope their enthusiasm for watercolour and painting continue!



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September 13,2016
Venetian MasksQueen Victoria.

I had a wonderful 2 days exploring Venice and will update further in days to come.  We explored our Cotman paints in class as the first of the 2 weeks of painting classes starting with 6 former guests and 7 new guests aboard the Queen Victoria.  By making a tracing of a Venitian mask, I had the guests try out many of their 12 pan pallets and also use their rigger and 8 round brush.

in the second half of the class we explored washes and a varigatted wash trying to paint a canal scene from Venice with a gondola included as the focal point.   I will be adding further insrtuction about this in this blog addition, but for now, I need to get back to preparing for our next class at sea.

it has been a more active cruise with destinations everyday, Dubrovnik, Kotor and Corfu tomorrow.  The senses are being overwhelmed with all the incredible scenery.

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September 07,2016
Staying cool in the Greek Isles

Welcome back to the ongoing insites into the watercolour classes aboard Cunard's Queen Victoria.  Yesterday, we had 12 students in the morning class where we worked on shape, form, tone and more.   I introduced the class to what makes a painting believable. We used a lemon as our subject.  First I had the guests copied and transfer the shape of a lemon onto a piece of paper.  We then proceeded to work from the initial shape of the lemon which is the profile as it appears against a background.  Then to bring in greater realism, we introduced form conveyed by contour lines on the shape.  This is a simple way to convey three dimension and solidity.

then we moved to Tone by using hatching and cross hatching to create a tonal image.  This intreprets the subject in terms of light and darkness.  For example, rounded forms require a gradual graduation from light to dark.  you can study your subject through half closed eyes. This allows you to distinguish the lightness and darkest areas from half tones.

by utilizing a flash light, and shining it on the lemons we had in class, well could see where the directed light fell on the subject and make tonal values accordingly.  By adding shadows to your painting adds an illusion of weight.  The object appears to be resting firmly on a surface rather than floating in space.  Also, shadows are strongest immediately behind the object, getting lighter as they stretch away.

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September 01,2016
The Market Scene

During the visit to Kotor, I was able to see a lovely market just at the edge of the old city walls. The variation of colours in the umbrellas, the different amounts of light scattered over the great assortment of late summer fruits and vegetables was a delight to observe.

I wanted to capture that scene with the students.  I drew a sketch and had as many of the students ,between everything else they were doing, trace the picture.  Having a second project to work on if some washes were drying, kept all the guests focused on watercolour and all aspects of their art. Day 3, we were scheduled only for a 2hr morning class.  We were able to get into the wash of the sky and the street and add some color to the umbrellas as well as creating some mixed darker washes under the tarps.  We had to leave it there until the next class.

Since the last art class, we have had no more sea days and have been to Rhodes and today, a change from the original stop of Mykonos due to very strong winds.  We are currently docked in Heraklion, Greece.

The port and history of Rhodes or Rhodos, was spectacular, from morning to late afternoon, I just kept taking picture after picture.  I did manage two small sketches of some tall ships in the harbour as well as one of the Minorettes in the old city.  I am hoping to get to the painting later today, but also want to see the old city of this town. The scene from the top deck does not reveal the city as it did in Rhodes, so it's necessary to explore more.

Next class is hopefully next Tuesday or sooner depending on the wind and weather.  The topic will be "Getting cool in the heat of the Greek Isles", composition and depth.  We'll explore the shadows that we didn't have time for in the previous classes and we"ll talk and explore the color blue.


Market scene

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September 01,2016
Expressive colours in markets, spices and sunsets

Class began with a very eager group of 15.  Fellow table guest Marjory came to the class to try out the market scene that I had spoke of.  Students who had not come to the previous afternoon class wanted to catch up on the Grecian urn and others wanted to complete the start of their village scene.  The majority began with the village scene.  The excercises was to utilize the flat 3/4 brush in different ways to achieve the details in the windows and tiles.  

The flat brush is very versatile, but pinching it near the ferrule, you can make it smaller and just the size you need to create the interior of a window.  Straight down, using the brush, is great for fine lines all at once, no need to draw the line.  On it side, similar lines, but a little wider.  

To bring in perspective into the picture, it required further applications of the same color on one side of the church steeple and roof below the steeple depending on which way the sun was coming. 

To speed up the process of achieving the look of the village and the previous pictures, I created simple line drawings that the guests could transfer onto their watercolour paper.  We did this for the Kotor scene, the Greek urn, the village and eventually the market.  By using the transfer process, the class did not have to concentrate on their drawing, but could get right into the overall form and then painting.

Given the diversity of guests and their levels of ability, we worked on various projects simultaneously to give everyone the opportunity to try different things.

One aspect of achieving depth into the painting was the further applications of shadows and tones.  Some guests had the opportunity to try this, but I also realized this was creating too much concentration and the class needed to get back to loose and easy.

We stepped away from the village scene to create a variegated wash.  I wanted them to try using a basic wash and then adding color in both more dry and still wet to achieve a sunset.

I started by describing to the class that the sunset doesn't end when the sun has disappeared over the horizon.  The sky continues to change as the clouds change colours further from pink to red, from orange to purple depending on where you look in the sky. To create a study of a sunset, have a pencil and sketch pad in hand.  As you watch, make notes on the colour, the lightest and darkest clouds or just the tonal variations in the sky.  By watching and taking notes, you will be able to experience the sunset and can go back after to paint.

A variegated wash is a classic technique for a sky changing colour.  Preparing all the colour solutions before hand helps greatly. And test the mixes as well to ensure you have the color you want.

By the end of the class, I had 20 students on various projects including a guest who had always been too afraid to paint watercolour.  She was able to achieve a wonderful loose sunset.


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