Meet the Faculty! Omar Rayyan

 Omar Rayyan lives with his artist wife Sheila, on a picturesque island in New England. These pastoral surroundings compliment and help inspire his "old world" aesthetic toward painting. Although looking to the past for inspiration and guidance from the great oil painters of the Northern Renaissance and the Romantic and Symbolist painters of the 19th century, he has picked watercolor as his medium of choice.

Omar has worked in many markets, primarily children's and young adult magazines and books, but also in gaming, concept art and gallery work. In addition to his commercial work, his favorite art is not created for publishers, but for just for show. Paintings of whim and fantasy made to indulge his own personal tastes and sense of humor as well as to hopefully please the viewing public.

What is the most exciting thing you've learned recently?

I'm learning, always learning, but never quite sure what the hell I'm learning, but I'm certain I'm learning something.... Hmmm, in regards to technique, after learning the basics, you can attain new levels with time and experimentation. For instance, playing with oil informs my approach to watercolor and vice-versa - color, texture, brush handling, and the biggest lesson: coming to terms with ingrained habits and being able to distinguish good ones from bad.

How do you battle through rough patches? What drives you forward?

A good quick rub with sandpaper usually takes care of rough patches. Seriously though, looking at and studying applicable Old Master paintings can help pull me through the doldrums, or difficulties with a current project. This also helps me get the gumption to continue after my last struggle to make an acceptable picture... and there is the endless hope for the *next* painting, and all the wonderful possibilities it holds.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Draw draw draw! I don't remember who told me to "draw draw draw" but the truth is that drawing helps. Making studies from life helps.

At this stage in your career, what is your dream project?

I'm living my dream! (the music swells!.......)

What is one thing your students will take away from your workshop?

I approached watercolor 30 years ago as a colored medium with which to paint AND draw - seeing that as easier than separating drawing and painting disciplines. My resulting technique was arrived at to tease the medium into giving me the look I'm going for. For students of my workshop, this method can also give a sense of freedom in approaching watercolor, which comes with all kinds of modern assumptions about how to handle it. Not only will we work with traditional wet on wet and splashy applications, but explore a lot of flexibility of expression - from sketch to heavy painting.

Omar is teaching us how to Tame the Watercolor Beast, 
Fri-Sun, April 10-12. 
There is ONE opening left in this workshop! Go here to register.

(Make sure you are signed up for the mailing list for reminders and updates!)

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