Sharon Reilly

Asian Watercolor Spontaneous Style: Inspiration Everywhere

September 7-12, 2020 (Four Teaching Days)

The Northwoods of Wisconsin is a painter’s paradise, filled with inspirational scenery and many beautiful subjects. In this workshop, participants will learn how to capture the essence of a variety of Northwoods subjects and scenes using simple brush strokes and a limited palette in the study of patience, balance harmony and rhythym. First there will be a review of the basic materials: brushes, ink and watercolors, various Asian Papers and how each reacts to paint. Then, learn different brushstrokes and practice several exercises to help master the brush.

Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting Sharon Reilly Painting

A World of Difference — There are several striking differences between the Western and Asian watercolor which will be reviewed.  The differences can be seen not only in composition and materials but also in the creative process and the use of perspective.  Other differences are in the materials used.  The Asian Watercolor brush is flexible and holds more water/paint than the Western style brush.  Asian Watercolor papers are thinner and have various absorbency properties.  The Sumi stick or ink stick is used to make your ink, which is made by adding water and rubbing the sumi stick on the suzuri (ink stone).  This is an important step in the creative process.  During this time, you are warming up and at the same time meditating to free your mind and allow the natural energy flow THROUGH YOU.  

Throughout this workshop, participants will learn how to be present, how to follow the brush and create in the moment.  This workshop will focus on painting as a meditative process.  The goal is to:  Aim for patience; Develop a rhythm; Be focused, able to concentrate; and Find your Balance and Harmony.  These are essential to the spontaneous style of Asian Watercolor.  The aim is to connect with and understand the spirit of the subject.  Depicting this spirit will flow naturally once you have mastered the materials and are able to free your mind. 

Instruction will be in part by demonstration and discussion and then in class practice.  If the weather is nice and class participants are interested, time will be set aside to explore the area’s natural beauty.

Painting subjects may include Eagles in Pine, Loons and Lakes, Deer in Fall Colors.  We will also study and paint native trees, a variety of birds, dragonflies and other wildlife as time allows.  Emphasis will be on connecting with nature to discover your creative energy.  

Everyone will have at least one complete painting ready to frame when they return home and will be inspired to continue painting from your heart.  Instruction will be provided on how to back paintings on Asian Watercolor Papers which requires special attention.  Dry Mount Backing paper will be provided for one painting.  Additional backing supplies will be available for purchase.

Day 1

Introduction to Asian Watercolor Painting
Review of Materials and Supplies
Instructor demonstration of Loading the Brush to create paintings with simple brush strokes and the limited use of color for dramatic effect.
Focus will be on painting traditional Asian subjects (bamboo, pine) and Birch Trees to transfer knowledge of bamboo to native northwoods trees.

Day 2
Discussion of 2 Asian Painting styles Free Style and Bone Style
Painting today emphasizing color blending, and painting a Deer in Fall Foliage
Includes coloring blending for leaves, painting in simple strokes
Class feedback on paintings

Day 3
Discussion of composition in Asian Paintings, compare to Western painting
Paintings in the “Free Style” Eagle in Pine and Loon on the Lake.
The instructor will briefly discuss bird anatomy, to avoid common mistakes
Class feedback on paintings

Day 4
Class Painting – If possible and the fish are biting, we will explore GYOTAKU the Japanese art of fish printing.  Today is also the day to select your best painting to be backed.  Instruction on backing will be provided and participants will be able to back their own paintings.

Sharon has over 27 years of experience studying and painting Asian watercolor.  She is a member of the Sumi-e Society of America and has taught Asian Watercolor painting to both adults and children.  She is currently a part-time instructor at Nicolet College and teaches workshops on Asian Watercolor throughout the country.

She began studying traditional Japanese ink painting called Sumi-e in New York City with her sensei Koho Yamamoto.  When she moved to Hawaii, she continued her studies at the Honolulu Art Academy, Linekona School of Art under a Chinese master painter and teacher Yu Wen.  She has exhibited her work at the Chinese Cultural Center in Honolulu, the A.R.T. Gallery in Baraboo, and other galleries around the state of Wisconsin.  Sharon has also been a visiting artist during the Aldo Leopold Foundation Art Day.  She has participated in the WRAP exhibitions and selected for the State Exhibition.

Her professional life as a wildlife conservation biologist has inspired her to paint native birds and plants in addition to the more traditional Asian subjects.  In addition to painting, Sharon also enjoys being outside in nature. Her other passions are bird watching and nature photography.  She is also a member of the North American Nature Photography Association.

She considers Asian painting a meditative process as well as an artistic one.  It requires clearing one's mind and channeling the energy inside.  It is the art of energy transformation; taking your internal energy and transferring that to your brush and subsequently to the paper.

Sharon is currently working on a series of paintings about Endangered Species and North American Birds that were once on the verge of extinction, but have since recovered.

Koho Yamamoto continues to be an inspiration to Sharon.  As a young girl Koho was a student of Chiura Obata while they were both in a Japanese internment camp during WWII.  Sharon's goal is to pass on to new generations of artists an appreciation for Asian Watercolor and Sumi-e painting.

This is a Studio Only Workshop - but students are encouraged to work outside if they want and if the weather permits.
Something for All Levels.

Workshop Fee plus tax per student (Includes a $30 Materials Fee): $625
(Tiered pricing not available)

Room & One Dinner Fee plus tax: $415
(There are 5 nights' accommodations included in the "Room & One Dinner Fee" listed above.)
Cancellation Policy, Class Fees and Tiered Pricing Explained
A partial tuition scholarship is offered
Workshop Itinerary


REGISTER NOW for Sharon Reilly


Workshop Itinerary

Monday, September 7 (Please note this week is different with a Monday arrval compared to our normal weeks)
Check-In to your unit at Dillman’s (check-in time is 3:00)
5:00 Welcome Reception (included in package)
6:00 Dinner at Dillman's (included in Room and Meal Package. $25 additional for day students.)

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday - September 8-11
Breakfast On Own
9:00 a.m. - Noon Class in Session
Lunch On Own

Meals are on your own. All accommodations have cooking facilities. You may preorder box lunches and dinners for meals to be taken alone or with your group in: your studio, the lodge deck, cafe, or your accommodation. (Pre-ordering for lunches and dinners is required.)

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Class in Session

Friday, September 11
NOON Farewell Champagne Toast (included in package)

Saturday, September 12
Depart - check-out time is 10:00

Optional Events - Sign Up Required / Subject to Change:
    Tuesday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)
    Tuesday 7:00 p.m. S'more Roast (no charge)

    Wednesday 8:00 a.m. Yoga
    Wednesday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)

    Thursday Noon & 4:00 p.m. Pontoon Ride on White Sand Lake (no charge)
    Thursday 5:00 p.m. Moondeer & Friends Gallery Tour (no charge)
    Thursday 6:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner

    Friday 5:00 p.m. Dine-Around Dinner (Depart from Lodge Lobby)

Dine-Around Dinners: Registration required at the front desk, meet at 5:00pm in the main lobby for carpooling.

Day students are welcome to attend the Welcome Reception and Farewell Reception (included in your package). You are also invited to join the class dinners (additional fee). PAL’s (Participants at large) can vacation at Dillman’s for $45 per night for accommodations. Costs for box lunches and dinners are additional.