Shamuy Runa watercolour class

Painting the mountains

My Dad loved painting with watercolours and while I’ve dabbled a couple of times, it’s only now that I’ve decided to see if he has passed on his gift to me. I’ve enrolled on a day’s watercolour class, Plein Air, run by Emma Wille at her studio, Shamuy Runa in Hornapala, Deleg.

Our day started at 08.45am at idiomART, located in the city of Cuenca. Emma was there to greet our group of would-be artists, four ladies including myself.

With the small group Emma and her partner took us in their 4×4 into the mountains to the north of the city. Gradually, the city’s houses and apartments blocks were replaced by fields and small villages as we climbed higher into the hills, arriving at Emma’s delightful hillside home and studio, an hour later.

Before our class began, Emma took us on a walk around the property, the views breathtaking and inspiring. 

The morning class concentrated on basics with Emma teaching us how to blend and layer paints. She also showed us the techniques of using wet on wet, wet on dry and dry on dry. 

It all looked so easy watching the expert! With our paints and paper, we made our way outside – our instructions to find a spot and then roughly sketch the landscape we’d chosen.

Time flew by as I became immersed in sketching the distant hills. All too quickly it was time for lunch – a delicious chicken salad with rice.

Once we’d eaten it was time to put our tuition into practise. What had looked so simple and easy during Emma’s lessons, proved difficult to master – sky and clouds, distant hills and hardest of all, trees!

We all fell silent as we concentrated on trying to master our brush strokes and produce something that resembled the scenes before us. 

I chose a seat outside the studio, shaded from the afternoon sun, and emersed myself in the peace and tranquillity of my surroundings. 

All too quickly, our time at Shamu Runa drew to an end. The morning’s rain had given way to a lovely sunny afternoon, bringing light and warmth to the day. 

The four of us gathered to view our masterpieces, pleased at what we’d accomplished in a few short hours.

We returned to Cuenca with new paints and each with a painting to remind us of a most enjoyable day in the mountains. 

I may have a way to go before I reach my father’s level of painting, but I’m definitely going to continue my watercolour journey.  

Emma and painting group
Emma and painting group
Shamuy Runa painting group
Shamuy Runa Painting group
First attempt watercolours
First attempt watercolours

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