Review - "Floral Watercolor" Class with Jenna Rainey

In case you've never heard of Jenna, let me introduce you... She is AMAZING! She is a dreamy West Coast based calligrapher and oh-so-amazing watercolor-er ((?) haha). Feel free to check her work out at Mon Voir and her instagram @JennaMRainey

In August, I took "Intro to Watercolor" with her at the West Elm DUMBO location in Brooklyn, NY. It was spectacular.

"Floral Watercolor" with Jenna Rainey

Materials: The class came with an entire watercolor kit that included 6 individually packaged paints, a section for mixing, pencil, 1 brush, 1 sharpener, 1 eraser, 1 small pad of paper, an additional set of 3 differently sized brushes, large sheets of blank paper on a clipboard and an instructional sheet that explained a bit of color theory.

Time and Attention: The class was 2 hours long and had about 7 students. The class was small enough that we all received tons of 1 on 1 attention but not too small that I felt like everyone was watching me and since it was my very first stab at watercolor, that made me feel great!

Price: The class was priced at $200 for 2 hours which seemed pricey (a portion of the proceeds were donated to a charitable organization) but I love her work so I decided to reserve a seat for myself and one for my sister in law as a gift. I knew she would love it! . Since I've never taken a painting, drawing or watercolor, etc., class then I don't really know where it falls in the spectrum but for the amount of instruction and attention I received, it was worth it. 

Class Instruction: Jenna was helpful and really knowledgable when it came to mixing colors, getting shapes right and really open to sharing what brands she linked and where to order them. I particularly appreciated her transparency since I know a lot of artists don't like to share their "secrets." As far as watercolor painting, Jenna has a really relaxed and free/fluid style. She translates that really well and gives clear instructions. Since it was my first time, and probably since I am not a painter by any account, I had a lot of trouble but she was so patient and took out time to help me get the strokes right. 

Overall Review and Feedback: I really enjoyed learning "Floral Watercolor" with Jenna and feel I've learned a lot of foundational elements that will help to support my calligraphy. I thought I'd include a little example of what I learned. Before attending Jenna's watercolor class, I had never experimented with painting or watercolor and the very next day, I created this in one sitting. This class was worth every moment. 

Review - "Modern Calligraphy I" Class with Jenna Rainey

In August, I took "Modern Calligraphy I" with Jenna Rainey at the West Elm DUMBO location. It was spectacular.

In case you've never heard of Jenna, let me introduce you... She is AMAZING! She is a dreamy calligrapher and oh-so-amazing watercolor-er ((?) haha). Feel free to check her work out at Mon Voir and her instagram @JennaMRainey

"Modern Calligraphy I" with Jenna Rainey

Materials: The class came with 1 nib, 1 straight pen holder, paper, a clip board, a small container of ink and a letter and number template sheet. I brought along my oblique pen holder and she gave me tips for it too.

Price: The class was priced at $200 for 2 hours which is by far the most expensive Modern Calligraphy class, per time, that I've ever purchased; (granted, part of the proceeds went to a charitable organization). Even in NYC, that's on the expensive side but I decided to go for it simply to get to meet and learn from Jenna. In my opinion, it was worth every penny for a person who knows a little about calligraphy and wants to meet someone like Jenna that has been doing it for a while especially since she is not usually on the East Coast. It's definitely more affordable than flying to one of her classes in Cali!

Time and Attention: The class was 2 hours long and had about 12 students. At first I was a little worried that we wouldn't get enough time but it was perfect. The class never felt over crowded and Jenna's technique has so much freedom of expression that once you got the hang of working the calligraphy pen, it didn't take long to work through the alphabet on your won. She paid really close attention to each student and was always great at adjusting the way we held the pen, paper and handled spacing, etc. 

Class Instruction: The time spent speaking to Jenna was definitely the most valuable part of the class for me. She shared all the details about what kind of nibs are good for what kind of jobs and where to purchase nibs, paper, etc. She also talked about how/when to use guache and what kind of ink she uses - which I was dying to know ever since I purchased her Calligraphy Starter Kit on Etsy last year!

Overall Review and Feedback: I really enjoyed learning with Jenna and would recommend taking a "Modern Calligraphy I" class with her. It's fun, low pressure and you really come away with a good foundation to make it your own. -- I'd really like to see take a "Modern Calligraphy II" class with Jenna that specifically focuses on flourishing and digitizing (although that may be a Modern Calligraphy III class!) and I'd really like to have an entire day of instruction which gives more time for 1 on 1 instruction and feedback.

Review - Chelsea Camera Bag by ONA

My trusty everyday camera bag is the Vector Photo Daypack which is great for everyday use and travel but it doesn't blend in well during formal events so a few weeks ago I purchased the Chelsea Camera Bag by ONA and love it!

The Chelsea Camera Bag by ONA

The Chelsea Camera Bag by ONA

All my every day equipment in my Chelsea camera bag

All my every day equipment in my Chelsea camera bag

About it  - The Chelsea bag holds all my equipment safely and easily accessible during shoots while being stylish and discrete. The bag is split into two sides. The first fits personal items like a wallet, external hard drives or even my MacBook Air. The second has 3 velcro inserts to keep lenses and camera body secure and separate. I've even used a section to keep a bottle of water cool during hot summer weddings or an umbrella just in case. The Chelsea also has a cross body strap so I can be hands free while shooting. It also has a structured and sturdy bottom with gold studs that make it stand up right so I don't have to worry about it tipping over with my equipment inside if I place it down.

Downsides  -  I don't have any downsides to share for The Chelsea other than it does get very heavy but this isn't the bag's fault. I'd really like for this bag to have attachable back straps (like a back pack) instead of a cross body strap because I feel like I have to switch from side to side during long shoots to feel balanced. Other than that, the side strap is really comfortable.

Worth It?  -  The Chelsea goes for $369. Since I'm not one for buying handbags, the price point hit me a little hard but I saw it and it was beautiful. I decided that it was time for a new bag and more importantly, something that was a little more camouflaged during weddings. The Chelsea holds my equipment securely and easily accessible and every time I've used it someone asks me where I got it not even knowing it's a camera bag. Its been a great investment and I recommend it to anyone who wants a stylish and functional camera bag!

Where to get it  -  I bought my Chelsea bag at my favorite photography store in NYC, Adorama. It's located on 18th street between 5th Avenue and Avenue of the Americas.