• Emma Bijloos

Plein-air watercolor workshop with Majid Modir in Den Haag

On Monday 22 July I had the pleasure of participating in the final day of a watercolor workshop by visual artist and graphic designer Majid Modir. The workshop focused on finding the best motives for our watercolor paintings. In Majid's words:


"The very first step to find a perfect motif is often the most difficult moment. We stand in front of a wide view and making the decision to frame it become a dilemma. We want to reflect our feelings regarding the place through a good sketch or painting, but we don’t know where to start!"



For the final day of the workshop we all gathered at the Pier on Scheveningen Beach. The workshop started with Majid 'hunting' for interesting subjects to paint, using the rectangle screen of his mobile phone as a viewfinder to frame a composition. Rather than looking for intricate subjects or compositions, Majid asked us to look rather for strong values and contrasts to simplify a scene. We all joined the hunting party, looking for something we could paint later during the workshop.

"The very first step to find a perfect motif is often the most difficult moment."


Then Majid sat down to give us a demonstration, focusing on a small white shell and a few twigs in the sand as his subject. It was truly a delight to see him work! For more photos and a short video clip, see further below.



A lovely page from Majid's travel journal. Image courtesy of Majid Mojir.



After Majid's demo we all went out and painted ourselves. I took quite some time looking for something that I felt would make for an interesting painting: paradoxically, it seemed that the harder I looked, the more difficult it became to find a suitable subject.


Finally my eyes settled on a little wheel beneath a boat-shaped wooden bench: simple, yet exciting with its strong contrast in light and dark. Majid inspired me to use the full width of my A5-watercolor book, following the shape of the bench. The result, as shown below, was later discussed by Majid who called it "a masterpiece"! :-D

Paradoxically, it seemed that the harder I looked, the more difficult it became to find a suitable subject.


Thanks Majid for a very inspiring morning and afternoon!

Below is a compilation of the 'stories' I shared earlier on Instagram. Click on the arrow to swipe (best viewed on desktop)! Further below is a short video clip of Majid giving a final demo in the afternoon.




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