Visiting Featured Artist Archive

Glance through the wonderully inspiring work of our visiting Featured Artists.
(Please note this is an archive only. The artists are no longer available on this blog to answer questions)
 Jane Freeman TWSA
I hope you will all welcome Jane to our blog :)
Isn't her above painting just gorgeous. Its called  'At Attention!'

Jane has very kindly taken the time to write you all a personal message. Thank you Jane!

"I guess I am your first "artist of the month"! What an honor to be asked to begin this new adverture of yours! Since blogs are more informal this will be alot of fun for all of you as you get to visit and ask questions of different artists.

I have been painting in watercolors exclusively since the mid 1980's. I found it challenging as a medium at first but also less toxic than my oils so was the perfect choice to use while raising a family. Little did I know that I would be hooked for a lifetime and no turning back!
I paint mostly still life and floral as that is what I know and have access to. I raise alot of flowers and paint the things in my house given to me by family members from the present and past. I do not believe in painting unfamiliar things as there is little personal connection to them and I believe that shows.

I have been published internationally in books and magazines and wrote my own book " A Celebration of Light" for North Light books. I still am amazed when people know me and my work. I think that is the most enjoyable part of what has happened to me. I have met such wonderful people and artists and it still continues to be an important part of my life. We tend to be very isolated to do our work but now through the internet, I have a circle of artists whom I can call friends and that has been wonderful to find at this stage of my life!

This is another of my paintings. Its called 'Pears on Movil' 

I hope you will visit my website at It needs to be updated but I have to learn a few new things in order to do that so it is on hold. I do alot of step by step demos on my blog at and I am active on Facebook and Artcolony which is a blog I developed for some of my artist friends at

I will be happy to talk with you through the month and answer any questions that I can. It will be fun to get to know you. Thank you so much for this opportunity. "-
Jane Freeman

Jackie Grisley SWA

Hi everyone and welcome to the beginning of a new month. I would like to introduce to you our feature Artist for this month, Jackie Grisley SWA, and to say thank you to Tony who made the initial contact with Jackie. Welcome to the Waterfront Jackie!


Strumble Head Lighthouse in beautiful Pembrokeshire with its jagged, rocky coastline is so appealing to me and I’ve painted it a few times now. The first time I ever saw it a black storm was developing and as it strengthened the whiteness of the lighthouse against that dark sky was an impressive sight and the vision stays with me. In this painting I have introduced some colour in the sky but my aim was to replicate the image I still have of that first sighting.

I’d like to say thank you so much for inviting me to be your featured ‘artist of the month’, it made my day when I got Tony Cook’s email. I confess I have never done a blog before so I hope I do it justice. I will certainly do my best and am looking forward to conversing and sharing my way of watercolour painting. To kick off with it seems like a good idea to offer an insight into what my goals and inspirations are.
The British coast is what really inspires me to paint. The dramatic skies are my ‘wow’ factor, the stormier and wilder the better. We have such varying weather here which creates ever-changing conditions, especially around the coast or in the mountainous regions such as The Lake District and The Highlands of Scotland. I’ve found watercolour is the perfect medium for achieving the effects I want in my paintings. I love its freedom but also its discipline. Knowing when to stop painting and put down the brush to allow the drying process is crucial and knowing when comes with experience, fight the temptation to keep ‘fiddling’, I’ve spoiled quite a few paintings in my time doing this and have learned to tell myself (out loud occasionally!) to ‘STOP!’. Watercolour has such a unique and magical quality when you do stop painting it keeps on doing its own thing until completely dry. That really excites me-to leave a sky to dry and to come back a few hours later to see how it has developed whilst drying gives me a little thrill.
I aim to achieve mood, drama and atmosphere in each painting and that all comes from the sky for me and how that affects the rest of the painting, deciding on the light direction etc. You may have guessed by now blue skies with fluffy cotton-wool clouds do nothing for me! I try to keep things simple and spontaneous with not too much detail, I seem to achieve more impact this way, and I hope to leave a degree of interpretation for the viewer. Less is more so they say. The use of light against dark is a technique I use frequently to create contrast and bold impact. I like to work wet-in-wet completing the sky in one session, leaving it to completely dry before proceeding. By profession I started out as a graphic designer and I’ve found it’s been very consolidating and useful in regard to composition, expression and balance in my paintings, bringing a sense of right and wrong instinctively.

I was pretty excited with how this sky wash had dried and I think it demonstrates that controlling the wet-in-wet technique cannot be totally mastered. The way the paint continued to dribble into the underlying colour is as we say a ‘happy accident’. It also makes my point of knowing when to put the brush down and let things happen.
I like to use a restricted palette in order to introduce harmony into my paintings, I always want drama but harmony is equally important to me. I use Winsor & Newton, blocks and tubes. My brushes range from Isabey Petit Gris to W & N sables, round and chisel in varying sizes. My paper is always Saunders Waterford and Arches not and rough surfaces 200lb and 300lb. They don’t cockle and are quite forgiving if you need to lift out. Most important to have confidence in your paper, I’ve used others and have been disappointed with the finish.
When I’m travelling for my reference, my latest trip was September to the Lizard Point in Cornwall, I do simple pencil sketches and take my camera everywhere. I have no qualms about using photographic reference, even though it can be frowned upon, it’s a great way to gather plenty of material to work up in my studio. I don’t like working outdoors, there are too many distractions and it doesn’t suit my painting technique. Plus the viewfinder immediately helps with composition. I’m not afraid to move elements around or even leave some out until I feel the scene is balanced.
I am self-taught and as I mentioned my graphic design background has been very useful to my painting development. After this I helped set up a craft based business making model trees for architectural modelmakers. This has also been advantageous, working in scales and perspective in a 3-dimensional way has helped me understand how to achieve these elements within a painting.
In 2006 I was invited to become a Member of The Society of Women Artists and I felt extremely honoured to become a part of such a special and historical Society. To have my work recognised by such a wonderful Society was and is very special to me.
I really only began watercolour painting about 15 years ago and was hooked immediately and my style has evolved and developed the more I’ve painted. Turner’s watercolour skies and seascapes have been a tremendous source of inspiration to me. His imaginative use of paint and reaction to dramatic weather made him so ahead of his time. I look in wonderment at how he achieved those storms out at sea-incredible-oh to paint like that! But that’s what I love about painting there’s always more to strive for, more to improve on and so much to keep learning.
Well that’s a bit about me, I look forward to the month ahead and hope to be able to chat with fellow watercolourists.


Lismore Lighthouse in Scottish Highlands has a backdrop of impressive mountains and I would imagine for passing ships in the night the lighthouse must do a crucial lifesaving job. So I wanted to paint a night time view of it showing its power and importance for those vulnerable seamen.


Jean Haines SWA ,SFP

Living with a Passion for Watercolour
Jean Haines SWA ,SFP

Thank you so much for inviting me to be the featured artist of the month. An invitation which I believe is a wonderful compliment and honour. I never take for granted how lucky we are to be able to share with friends and fellow artists from all over the world with the technology now available to us. We can be inspired and hear of art that once we may otherwise never knew existed.

Arab Face Appearing from a First Wash

As a child I remember watching a young teacher giving a talk to our  class.  I was in awe of her energy, thirst for life and enthusiastic way of  sharing her knowledge. She held a painting of a small blue flower  for all to see. That single moment in time led me to my earlier career as a botanical artist. But I have never forgotten the young woman who enthralled the class with such simple beauty on paper. I was fortunate to have  incredible art teachers throughout my education who saw in me what I did not. Only years later do I now fully understand what they were trying to tell me. They thought I was born to be an artist. All I know is, that as an adult I wish I hadn't waited so long to believe in their  faith in me!

  "Jacob" An earlier portrait.
I met, fell in love with and married a wonderful man whose career took us all over the world. Whilst constantly moving  I never tired of learning from masters I met in so many countries. In Asia I studied  brushwork from an established artist from Shanghai. Her words of wisdom have remained with me and I pass on her wonderful tips in my own workshops. I absorbed the vibrancy of colour from my time in Dubai. Here I met amazing artists from India and Pakistan who gave me so much in the way of influences for portraying subjects that are full of life and character. This was my time to study portraiture and I did eagerly. Taking in every single tip and piece of advise. 
 Pinks, a floral study coming to life using placement of the subject in a simple composition.
I write features for a variety of magazines. Each time I aim to add something new as my exploration into technique leads me to meeting manufacturers who have vast ranges of new shades available. Years ago I would have worked totally with one brand of product. Now I am very aware of the need to keep up to date with what is "out there" on a regular basis. Life as an artist has never been so rich because via the internet we know what other artists are using and we can share our discoveries so easily. Colour is so important to my life and art so I always look for something that is exciting and new to keep my watercolour fresh and alive. 

"Morning Light"
The cockerel  from the cover of my new book and a favourite painting because of the vibrant orange combining with red in the main section of my subject. I won an award for a body of cockerels during an exhibition and they seem to now follow me everywhere!

 I do believe that listening is  a vital key to being an artist. Not just to experienced artists who may  encourage us in our journeys but to our chosen subjects as well. Often I find mine lead my brushstrokes almost guiding me  to where I will lay colour next. I work minus a preliminary sketch as I allow colour alone to build my compositions which are often impressions of what I see. I aim to tell a story in each new painting, leaving sections for the viewer to fill in using their own imaginations. This communal bond between us tends to add to the magic within each piece. And I don't use the word magic lightly. I often watch as subjects appear half way through a painting session and feel mesmerised by how they have come alive simply with colour and brushwork. I have painted for so long now and yet I still  feel a sense of awe when pigments interact creating incredible patterns.
I exhibit in a number of established galleries and hold solo shows during each year. Right now I am looking forward to 2013 as I have some very exciting events already booked which will ensure my brushes move continually on fabulous new subjects that have not yet been unveiled. I hold international watercolour workshops in Hampshire, UK. and  I love that artists are attending them from all over the world including Vietnam, Iceland, Canada. France, Italy and South Africa. I look forward to each season and meeting new artists on every session. I feel so blessed to continually keep meeting wonderful people who often stay in touch long after the sessions are over. In Autumn 2012, I will be holding  workshops in Texas and New York which truly is very exciting and I can't wait!
Passionate about working in this medium, my enthusiasm led me to writing. Taken on as an author, my publisher launched my second book "Atmospheric Watercolours" earlier this year in may 2012. To hear it is selling well in so many countries, in all honesty, has taken me by surprise and overwhelmed me a little because all I have ever wanted to do is share my love for working in watercolour. And encourage others to enjoy  painting in this medium as much as I do. I wanted to give all I knew to others so that if the day ever comes when I cannot paint, everything I have enjoyed will be there in a book .
I have simply shared my love of working in my chosen medium in a way that I hope others will follow to either learn how to paint, gain motivation and enthusiasm and also reach their own dreams.
If anyone had asked me what my dreams were years ago I would have said " I want to be an artist ".  I still do and I cherish each day I am able to move my brush because capturing a subject on paper is the most thrilling of all feelings in life. I want others around me to know this pleasure and joy and most of all, I want everyone who has a dream related to art to see that vision become a reality. I dreamt of writing a book, being in galleries and exhibiting. I wanted to write art features. I never dreamt of having my own brush range but I do with "Rosemary&Co" and I love them. I still have dreams for the future. Maybe if I come back in a few years time I can say what they were and if they came true also!
I believe if you want something badly enough, it will come to you. But at times to achieve dreams we need to work hard, practise and most of all believe in our own abilities. There will always be someone willing to knock you down or criticise your work.  If you enjoy painting nothing else should matter as much as that heady thrill when you create. Be true to yourself, love what you do, find inspiration and grow continually. No matter at what level you are in your art journey.  I see all artists as if they are on different steps of a ladder. Some at the top on the highest rung in their careers. Others are just starting out making their first steps. However we are all in this art world together making our way, learning from experience with our own ups and downs. And most importantly we were all beginners once, even the greatest of masters had to start somewhere and I don't think many of them had a very easy climb!

"Beauty of Venice"
The cover from my first book " How to Paint Colour and Light in Watercolour"
For me, I see beauty around me constantly. I am always on the happiest of highs and I love life. I have so many fabulous friends who I care about so very much and a terrific family. Without anything else in it,  my life is rich but if I can just have paper, watercolour pigments and my brushes as well for the rest of my life along with the gift of sight I will be very blessed!
Happy painting!
Full details of Jeans books, exhibitions and art can be found on her web site

Mary Jansen

Hello everyone. It's the beginning of September and time for me to introduce our new Feature artist this month. Mary Jansen. She is an amazing award winning artist in the world of watercolour miniatures. For those of you that are unfamilair with miniatures. These are painting less than 4 by 6.5 inches!!! Many of Mary's paintings are much smaller than this (some even as small as 2.5 by 3 inches) but are painted with such detail and precision!
 So please give a warm welcome to Mary and her miniature paintings.
"Saucey Sunbathers"
Thank you so much for the honor of letting me share my artistic journey with you! Indeed I am humbled for there are so many accomplished artists out there with far more accolades tucked under their artist’s beret than I could ever hope for. But for many of us perhaps it’s not so much the attention but the process that makes art real for us. It’s akin to savoring an amble through a breathtaking fairy woods and discovering treasures on the way more than the satisfaction of completing the journey.

"Rook on the Rocks"

Isn’t there always a sense of loss when one finishes a painting? I think for many of us that is true.
Painting is a partnership between the revelations of the soul along with the disciplines of application. One cannot function properly without the other. Over the years one tends to develop that symbiotic relationship and create a style. For me I have devoted much of my creative energy to the world of miniatures. Here I feel safe and secure in the world of the small.
"Quiet Repose"
I’m not sure why I love to paint small. I suspect it has something to do with my childhood. When I was young my mother taught me to take notice of the world close up. She would give me a loop of string and instruct me to cast it over a random piece of earth and then sit quietly and observe the contents of that periphery. Never was this exercise a disappointment for there is a fascinating world “in small” that is often overlooked. Elegant little flowers, fascinating insects and interesting grasses and fungi reveal themselves to those who have the patience to observe. In the same sense I find that painting miniatures provides for me similar stimulation as I strive to add detail that might otherwise be overlooked.
"Maggie's Nirvana"
Miniatures are a growing art genre in the United States. Miniature portraits were popular among the European aristocrats back as early as the 17th century and were often the only visual reference one had in the initial process of selecting a politically powerful spouse from a distant country, (ah politics!). Those portraits were often painted on ivory or vellum with oils or casein. Since then miniature art has expanded to include all topics of interest as well as a broadening variety of mediums. The basic regulation that most contests abide by is the requirement that the subject matter be no larger than 1/6 its original size. This gets tricky if one enjoys painting insects!
 "Red Eyed Flights"

 I find that painting with watercolors on a hot pressed Crescent Watercolor Board provides the best mediums from which to work. The board is smooth but not so slick as to offer staying power for the several washes of paint applied. I am continually on the lookout for different types of substrate for detail is crucial in miniature competitions. The brushes are ridiculously small! I have several that I use but my old friend is a 20/0 round that I find most reliable. With this kind of work I of course need the assistance of a magnifying glass, (and unfortunately, reading glasses as well!) I don’t want to skimp on the detail work.
But detail, though important, is not everything in the miniature world. Judges look for exquisite lighting, character of subject matter and composition to name a few. It takes just as long if not longer to compose a miniature painting as it does a larger one for the same considerations apply in the tiny format.

 "Awkward Adolescence"

It’s a thrill to attend any of the miniature shows throughout the country. There are so many that it is not possible to compete in all of them. Two of the larger international shows occur in the winter and most miniaturists attempt to participate in those. One is the MASF show in Dunedin, FL. The other is the MPSG exhibit in Washington D.C. I have won top awards in both as well as in several other shows throughout the country. Please stop by my blog some time and take a look:

"Afternoon at the Fair"

Lorena Kloosterboer

 As July is the beginning of our holiday and travel season here in Ontario I decided to virtually travel much further afield for this months  'Artist of the Month'. So a warm welcome to acrylic artist Lorena Kloosterboer

Hello members of Bayview Watercolour Society and readers of The Waterfront!

I'm happy and honored to be part of this wonderful blog, and hope you will all enjoy my artwork and reading about my work methods. A big thank you to Ona Kingdon for inviting me to share my art and thoughts!

First a little bit about me: I’m Lorena Kloosterboer, a Dutch-Argentine artist (born in the Netherlands in 1962). I create paintings in the trompe l'oeil and photorealism styles. I feel an irresistible attraction towards Realism and its challenge to paint with great precision and tightly executed details. My main goal in painting is to capture the fascinating interactions between colors, light, shadows, textures, reflections, and unite them in visual poetry.

During my twenty-five + year career as a professional artist my work has been exhibited in galleries and art museums in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Five of my bronze statues enjoy permanent public installation in the Netherlands. In 2010 my paintings were published in Belgium and Holland in the art history book by Professor Katlijne Van der Stighelen, entitled Vrouwenstreken, Unforgettable Female Painters from the Low Countries from 1550 until today. To be formally named as one of one hundred influential Flemish and Dutch women painters continues to be a great source of pride and happiness!

I currently live and work in Antwerp, Belgium. To see more of my art please visit my website at

I’ll now continue to show you several of my paintings and describe my work methods as specifically as possible. I know many of you want to know how I achieve certain effects and I’m happy to share my process with you!
Arigató by Lorena Kloosterboer
Acrylic on Canvas, 8 x 10 inches
This petite trompe l’oeil presents a graceful cloisonné fish pendant courting two elegant bamboo chopsticks on a ceramic holder. A delicate exploration into diminutive details and contrasting textures.
For “Arigató” I used a limited palette of blues, greens, and reds, with some Raw Sienna. I always use Titanium White and Payne’s Gray in all my paintings.
After several layers of sanded gesso to smooth the textured canvas, I started with the background. I love pushing around paint with brushes and sponges. I splattered, poured, wiped, and sanded until the background worked for the composition. The backgrounds in my paintings are often the abstract art supporting, contrasting with, and reinforcing the realism in my artwork.
Once the background was perfectly flat and smooth, I could work on my composition without being hampered by bulges or lumps on the surface. I used diluted clear gesso (what a great invention by Winsor & Newton!) to cover the surface, to achieve tooth for my next layers of paint and to fixate the background. I don’t want any brush marks to show.
Elements in trompe l’oeil paintings are always depicted life-size. In this piece I focused on textures: The hand-painted bamboo chopsticks, the porcelain holder, the shiny metal and enamel of the fish pendant. I wanted each different element to clearly show its specific surface.
Once I drew the basic lines of my composition onto the canvas, I could start layering paint in very thin, transparent coats. I always work with very tiny amounts of acrylic, because it dries so quickly. And I mix it with plenty of Gloss Medium and a little bit of water to obtain a thin, smooth glaze-like consistency. I always work in layers, often up to as many as 30, to obtain a deep multi-layered look with intense color. I let the paint dry well between layers, moving on to other elements in the painting.
Once the painting was to my satisfaction, I painted the highlights in pure Titanium White, to make the reflections pop. The highlights often need several layers of pure white paint straight from the tube—they are the finishing touch and the most fun to do because they make the surfaces come to life. Then I let my painting dry for a few days, signed it, and then gave it two coats of Matte Varnish.
Japanese Blue by Lorena Kloosterboer
Acrylic on Panel, 12 x 12 inches
This diminutive still life focuses on a hodgepodge of delicately glazed Japanese dishes, which I unexpectedly came upon one day while shopping. I asked the store manager for permission to take a photograph and he kindly allowed me to do so, as long as there were no customers in the shot. I always carry a good quality compact camera in my purse. This composition fuses my love for glazed ceramics, Japanese cuisine, and the color blue. I could almost describe this painting as “A Self Portrait.”
Colors used: Titanium White, Payne’s gray, Baltic Green, Brilliant Yellow Green, Raw Sienna and a whole array of different blues. I love to buy new acrylic colors and have a vast, growing collection. I love Liquitex soft body acrylics and Winsor & Newton acrylics and mediums, but I buy other brands of mediums and paint as well. Because I prefer to work in layers of transparent glazes, I usually do not mix colors on my palette. Instead I paint in pure (i.e., straight out of the tube) color glazes, building up the nuances of values, tones, and color intensity by building up layer after layer.
After applying and sanding several thin layers of gesso to obtain an ultra-smooth surface, I drew in the contours of the dishes and the wooden shelves. I usually paint the background first, in this case I painted the wood first and incorporated my signature in the wood grain on the upper shelf, making it seem like it was carved into the wood.
I then painted the entire composition of dishes (including the shadows) with diluted Payne’s Gray mixed with Gloss Medium and water to achieve an ink-like consistency. This is called a grisaille. Grisaille is a term for a painting (or underpainting) executed entirely in monochrome or near-monochrome shades, usually in greys or browns. The most important aspect of a grisaille is to get the values (darks and lights) perfect.
Once the grisaille underpainting was done and the composition looked like a black and white photograph in value, I glazed in the colors. I paid special attention to the appearance of the texture of the ceramic glaze, as I wanted to capture the translucency, the luxurious luster, and intense richness of the colors.
As usual, I painted the highlights last in Titanium white, taking care of the subtle nuances of the sheen of the ceramics. Once the painting was finished to my satisfaction, I let it dry for a few days and then gave it several coats of Satin Varnish.
Sequitur Cor by Lorena Kloosterboer
Acrylic on Canvas, 31 ½ x 15 ¾ inches
Two crystal decanters creating playful distortions of the background motif depicting an ancient Chinese Indigo batik design. The transparency of the glass symbolizes purity, spiritual perfection and knowledge. The title Sequitur Cor is Latin for ‘Follow your Heart.’
First I applied several layers of sanded gesso on the canvas, making the surface as smooth as possible so that the texture of the canvas did not show through anymore. I next drew in the composition, using a ruler for the straight edges of the background and the table edge. I then covered the two glass decanters with masking tape and masking fluid.
Using masking tape to create a straight edge, I first painted the lower part of the background, using Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, and Payne’s Gray. I mixed my acrylics with Gloss Medium and water laced with a few drops of Flow Improver. Because this area was rather large, I also added Acrylic Slow Drying Medium (retarder), so I could blend the paint longer before it dried.
Once the lower background was dry, I started on the upper background, which only has three flat colors. I used Prussian Blue straight from the tube and a mix of Buff Titanium and Titanium White for the Chinese batik design of the heart with tassels. For the subdued brown background I premixed Titanium White, Burnt Umber, Raw Umber, and Ultramarine Blue with a little bit of Dioxazine Purple in a glass jar.
When I need a custom-made color, I always mix it in an empty glass jar, so I can keep the acrylic from drying out without having to remix a new batch of paint. It is very hard to match the color of wet acrylic to dried acrylic paint, so preparing a large batch beforehand is very useful.
Next I removed the masking tape and Masking Fluid to uncover the glass objects. I drew the details of the glass composition with pencil, being as specific as possible. I used a thin layer of milky white gesso to cover the entire surface of the glass, to achieve tooth for my next layers of paint and to fix the drawing so my pencil lines wouldn’t smear.
I then started layering paint in very thin, transparent coats. I always work with very tiny amounts of acrylic, because it dries so quickly. And I mix it with plenty of Gloss Medium and some water to obtain a thin, smooth consistency, like a glaze. I always work in layers to obtain a deep multi-layered look with intense color. I let the paint dry well between layers, moving on to other elements in the painting.
For “Sequitur Cor” I used a limited palette of Ultramarine Blue, Phthalo Blue, Payne’s Gray, Burnt Umber, and Raw Umber to achieve the monochromatic look of the glass. I also used minute amounts of several primary colors mixed with Titanium White to create very soft pastel shades, to enhance the subtle reflections of the glass and give it that distinct soap-bubble appearance crystal often has.
Once the painting was to my satisfaction, I painted the highlights in pure Titanium White, to make the glass reflections pop. Then I let my painting dry for a few days, signed it, and gave it several coats of Matte Varnish.
Tibetan Gold by Lorena Kloosterboer
Acrylic on Canvas, 15.75 x 15.75 inches
This vibrant photorealistic close-up of a collection of Tibetan prayer wheels catches the eye with its dancing reflections on multicolored artifacts. This jumble of objects symbolize a wish - That humanity be able to live together in harmony despite all its differences.
I came upon a picture of these prayer wheels on a website. I usually prefer to photograph my own compositions, but in this case it was impossible for two reasons: First, I did not have plans to travel to Tibet any time soon. And second, I was certain I wouldn’t be able to improve on this beautiful photo anyway! It is very important to respect copyright, so when I see an image I would like to use in my painting, I always write the photographer to ask for permission to use it. Most people are generous in allowing the use of their photographs, and to me it feels like a collaboration between creative minds. The original photograph of the Tibetan Prayer Wheels my painting is based on is by Michael Farruggia, who gave me kind permission to use it in any way I liked (visit Michael’s website at I did crop the original image and changed some of the colors, in order to create something entirely my own.
Once I had his permission, I began by applying and sanding several layers of gesso to obtain a smooth surface that hardly shows the texture of the canvas. I drew the detailed lines of the composition onto the canvas and gave it a milky wash of diluted white gesso to fix the pencil marks. I then painted the entire composition (including the shadows) in a grisaille with diluted Payne’s Gray mixed with Gloss Medium and water to achieve an ink-like consistency. Once the grisaille underpainting was done and my painting looked like a black and white photograph, I moved on to add color.
I glazed in layers of vivid colors in very thin, transparent coats, so that the grisaille still showed through in all its details and values. In “Tibetan Gold” I used many different colors and hues in a very wide spectrum, manipulating the values by adding Titanium White and Payne’s Gray. Once I finished “Tibetan Gold” I let my painting dry for a few days, signed it, and gave it two coats of Matte Varnish.
This concludes my descriptions of my work methods in these four paintings. Following are some scattered personal thoughts on my creative process.
I try to be unrestrained when I prepare backgrounds, which often start as abstract textures. However, I don’t intend to ever swerve away from detailed realism, using abstraction as an element that supports the minutiae in realism.
As a support I use canvas, linen, wood, or Masonite depending on composition and mood. Smoothness is essential for minute details to be painted without the texture of the support distracting the eye, so I always add three or more additional layers of sanded gesso, even when I use factory-prepared surfaces.
I prefer to paint guided by several photographic versions of a composition. Even with a still life composition set up in my studio, I tend to turn to my photos. Most of the time I set up my own compositions and photograph them myself. However, if I want to use a photograph from another source, I make sure I get written permission to use it. My advice is to always respect copyright, even if the photographer is not a professional, and to always credit your source. Until now I’ve always received positive responses to me asking for reference material.
I often spend weeks, sometimes months, on a conceptual idea (usually several at once): Doing research, gathering artifacts (I have a huge collection of glass objects and knickknacks), making thumbnail sketches, and taking photographs, before finally having a composition I feel excited about. I also make written lists of ideas to work out later. Many ideas die during this process. Once I start painting, I try to hold on to my excitement for the composition. Alas, sometimes my enthusiasm fades when the painting doesn’t flow or the topic disappoints me, and then I have to decide in the middle of the painting process whether to continue or abandon a painting. I regularly opt for abandoning it altogether—it’s very hard and painful to do, but I think it’s probably worse to finish a painting I’m not happy with. Of course I recycle the canvas or board by rolling over it with a thick layer of gesso.
After I tackle the background, I often begin by painting a grisaille, which I glaze in numerous layers of translucent color. I hardly mix my colors on the palette; instead they get built up in layers directly on the surface of the painting. When I cannot enhance any aspect of a painting anymore, I consider it finished. The signature is the conclusion. After I sign a painting, I never go back to it. It’s a personal rule of mine to avoid redoing or revisiting a finished painting. It’s my way of moving on. If I didn’t follow my own rule, I’d be repainting all of my work forever!
Payne’s Grey, Titanium White and Unbleached Titanium are the three colors I consistently use in every painting. Besides those, rather than following one particular color theory, my intuition dictates how I build up the layers of glazes, using any number of available acrylic colors. I love buying new colors and I love buying new brushes. I can’t resist walking out of an art supply store without buying something! I also feel an irresistible urge to buy new products and try them out, so I spend a lot of time (and money) visiting art supply websites to see what’s new on the market.
Over the years I have tried all types of palettes available. My search for the perfect palette is linked to formerly using oil paints and the traditional wood palette. Moving from unhurried oils to fast drying acrylics meant going through an extensive period of trial and error to find what’s right for me. Today my palette is adjusted to my current method of layering glazes. I only need a few drops of fluid acrylic, or a dab of tubed acrylic per session, and a tiny space to dilute the paint with water and medium. At present I use (please don’t laugh!) plastic lids of yogurt pots. The ring around the outside edge is perfect to hold a few drops of water and medium I need, while the middle section is flat for blending. The palette is easily cleaned with plain water, so I use these lids until they crack. It also gives me a good feeling that I somehow recycle plastic packing materials. The plastic lid palette works great for me, but I realize that it won’t make me look very arty, so count me out for any pictures taken without the authoritative wooden palette in hand!
I miss the blending capacity that oils offer, but haven’t found a slow-dry medium that satisfies me yet. I continue searching for a retarder that allows feathering soft edges in the traditional oil-paint manner, covering extensive areas. When I blend soft edges I just want the paint to NOT dry while I’m fiddling with it. I have tried many brands, so far the Acryl Retarder by Schmincke works best for me.
Tools I use: Natural sponges, tooth brushes, pump atomizers, and broad synthetic flats for backgrounds. I also use broad synthetic flats for varnishing. Combination sable and synthetic brushes (always with short handles) are my favorites—I buy on a whim so I have brushes in many brands and price ranges. I take care of my brushes really well and wash them meticulously after each painting session. For miniscule details I use the Winsor & Newton sable/synthetic mix brushes Sceptre Gold II—my preferred size is 000. I use one or two triple zero brushes per painting, after which they get discarded. I recently won a set of Richeson short-handle brushes, they are fabulous! I just hate it when I spend good money on a new brush and find that it loses hairs on a wet painted surface. That’s my biggest pet peeve in regards to painting!
Mistakes: I use wet Q-tips to wipe away little booboos—I use a roller with black gesso for large booboos!
I’ve mentioned varnishing in Matte or Satin (Semi-Gloss) before. As a rule I use Matte varnish, which works especially well for trompe l’oeil because this style is meant to “fool the eye” (even if it’s for just a split second). Matte varnish takes away all the atmospheric reflections and makes the trompe l’oeil more realistic. I seldom use Satin varnish, but did, for example, use it on “Japanese Blue” because it gives the flat, ultra-smooth, stroke-free surface of that particular painting a rich, exquisite sheen which goes well with that particular piece. I never use High Gloss varnish—this is a personal choice, I just don’t like my paintings to pick up reflections from their surroundings.
How I came to paint in acrylics: Since I was a child I’ve worked in a variety of mediums, including soft pastels, colored pencils, inks and watercolors, but before the millennium I considered myself predominantly a realist oil painter. After going through several life altering events, I fell into a prolonged period of painter’s block. I felt incredibly frustrated—days, weeks, months would go by without that creative spark. I embarked on a desperate quest to break this miserable spell. I don’t think those around me truly realized the extent of emotional pain I suffered. After unsuccessfully trying to force myself to change styles, it suddenly occurred to me that I should try a new medium instead. Acrylics attracted me because they dry fast, they clean up easily with water, and permit similar effects to oils and watercolors. Slowly my creativity returned. Since I use acrylics I’ve never looked back!

Lorena Kloosterboer

Nita Leland

Hello BWS

Like many women who are artists, I’m a late bloomer. I started out when I was creeping up on forty, a typical suburban wife and mother of four. My husband gave me a surprise gift of watercolors for my birthday. My life as an artist began in a suburban YMCA while my children took swimming lessons. With the first brush stroke I found myself enthralled with the medium. Over time, I discovered that teaching watercolor painting was a great way to learn and to help pay for my materials. From the beginning my greatest joy has been helping beginners get started. My goal in teaching is to inspire creativity and self-confidence in my students. 

Color turned out to be my passion. After developing my color workshops, I wrote Exploring Color, published by North Light Books in 1985.  I began teaching color workshops throughout the United States and Canada and writing magazine articles for The Artist’s Magazine, Watercolor Magic, Watercolor, American Artist and Somerset Studio magazines, as well as the Canadian Watercolour Gazette. In 1994 I designed and manufactured  the Nita Leland(tm) Color Scheme Selector, a unique color wheel. Later, I filmed  Exploring Color Workshop videos.  Exploring Color Revised, an updated and expanded version of the original book was released in 1998. In 2000 I formed Moonflower Books and self‑published Exploring Color Coloring Book, a hands‑on color journal for artists. During these years I continued to teach and paint, exhibiting frequently with the Brown Baggers, a plein-air group that had been together since 1975.

 Because of my interest in product quality, I’ve consulted with major manufacturers of art materials on watercolor paints and papers and presented seminars for more than ten years for the National Art Materials Trade Association and other trade organizations. I love the excitement of the consumer trade shows, where artists buzz around learning about new tools and tricks. I still hear from artists now and then who took my workshops at those shows.

North Light asked me to write a second book, so I collected the motivational lessons I’d taught in my watercolor classes, researched creativity,  and wrote The Creative Artist (1990). This spurred my interest in collage, so I collaborated with Virginia Lee Williams on Creative Collage Techniques, which I recently enlarged and updated for North Light (2011).  My books have all been bestsellers in their original and revised editions, along with Confident Color (2008). Four have been published in foreign languages: German, French, Dutch and Chinese.  It totally amazes me to think that my words are circling the globe and helping artists to grow and prosper. To me, this is the best thing about the Web—that we are able to reach out and share knowledge with each other and enjoy a sense of community with other artists.

I still don’t know exactly what turned this stay‑at‑home mom into an artist, author and traveling workshop teacher. I’ve enjoyed meeting every new challenge and look forward to many more. For several years my artwork  has taken a back seat to writing and teaching, but I still feel that watercolor is the driving force behind what I do. This quotation from Richard Bach is one of my favorites:
"You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.”


Diane Morgan

Hello members of BWS and readers of The Waterfront,
I'm thrilled to be part of this wonderful blog.  The work here is truly wonderful.
I started painting in oils, majoring in design at the University of Michigan.  About 20 years ago I took up watercolor to try something new with easier clean up. I took a watercolor class at a local community college.  I immediately was hooked.  The instructor suggested I enter one of my pieces in a show at the Palm Springs Art Museum.  My entry won a $100 award.  I thought....this is fun!  That was the beginning of my continued passion for watercolor and my enthusiasm for entering competitions. I think competitions give you a goal and an incentive to keep working.  Rewards are nice too :-} 
I paint almost everyday.  The only way to improve is to keep working. It has been suggested that if you want to learn to paint...go paint a hundred paintings.  One challenge I created for myself was to do a painting a day.  For six months I completed a small painting every day and sold them on eBay.  I quickly passed the 100 mark. This daily self-imposed assignment increased my productivity, improved my creativity and painting skills and opened up several opportunities for me that would not have happened.   I highly recommend the daily challenge.
My watercolors begin with very detailed pencil drawings. I prefer to work on Arches 300# cold press which is strong enough to hold a lot of water without buckling. My preferred paints are Windsor & Newton. I always spend a great deal of time mixing paint to make sure I have the right colors and enough paint to complete each area. If it’s a very large area I will store the paint in an airtight container for use later as needed.  For slight variations in shading I will mix on the palette as I go. I work on several pieces at a time, allowing time for washes to dry and to reflect on the next step toward completion.  
            I envision a painting in almost everything I see.  Adding drama and mystery through the use of powerful lighting effects, reflected surfaces, exaggerated contrasts and unusual compositions, I strive to transform simple everyday life into  un-ordinary, not-so-still life. I like to take an ordinary subject and enhance the perception of it, invite the viewer to take a closer look.  If you look closer, you may discover something new about yourself.
I love the freshness of watercolor. I love the challenge.  I love how the medium takes command. The artist starts the process, but the paint takes charge and leads the work to a sometimes unintended outcome.  It’s always exhilarating.
My work is currently featured in the June/July issue of International Artist magazine and will also be in Splash 13 which comes out in August.  You can read more about my style and technique there.
   Julie Gilbert Pollard
8616 West Glenrosa Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85037-1814
e-mail:         website:
Hello and thank you! I truly appreciate being asked to be your featured artist for October! Scrolling back through your Waterfront Blog I see you have had a wonderful variety of styles and subject matter from talented and skilled painters, each so distinctive, their work beautiful and beguiling – truly unique. Isn’t that what makes ART so awesome, that it’s a unique, individual expression of an artistic personality. We all have that artist’s soul within us, that desire to produce a work of beauty. Regardless of our skill level thus far attained, we all have an elusive mental image of what we wish to express in paint. Our skills must “catch up with” that vision! That’s where I am – still trying to attain a skill level high enough to enable me to paint what I see in my mind’s eye. A carrot on a stick dangling before my artist’s eye!
I like to define my style as “painterly realism”, and am always aiming for loose, fluid brushwork that’s beautiful regardless of whether or not it describes the subject – yet at the same time, wanting the subject to be identifiable and important, infused with my own personal concept of reality. The eye may see as a camera ‘sees’, but the mind’s eye sees an altered, imagined image, what it wants and hopes to see. It’s that illusive image, uniquely mine, along with a heightened sense of ‘realness’ that I try to express in my paintings. This world of ours is often a frightening and mysterious place, but it’s filled with scenes and subjects that excite my eye and imagination! The magical allure of the natural world, and my reverence for it, compel me to attempt to capture its essence on canvas or paper.
In addition to having had my work represented by numerous fine art galleries over the years – Esprit Décor Gallery in Phoenix, Arizona currently represents my work – I have been very fortunate to have written and illustrated two books for North Light: Brilliant Color (oil and acrylic, 2009) and Watercolor Unleashed (due for release in 2013) – and to have filmed two Watercolor Unleashed videos (2011) also with North Light. Additionally, I self-publish Watercolor Unleashed! The Notebook (a “chapter-at-a-time binder-book”, 2009 through 2012, ongoing), which was the genesis for my “Watercolor Unleashed series”.  
My career has been a joy! I especially enjoy conducting painting classes and workshops – for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it’s so rewarding to see that “aha moment” when a painting idea is understood and resonates with someone for the first time! Painting in and of itself is self-realizing and conducive to good mental health. However, I feel like I’m doing something more important when I can participate in helping someone develop their painting talents, the act of painting so often being a source of pure pleasure and happiness.
For another, it adds a social element to a very solitary job. I’ve made wonderful and lasting friendships that could have come about no other way.
One truly exciting aspect of being a workshop instructor is – believe it – travel!  I’ve been so lucky to have been invited as guest artist instructor for workshops around Arizona, California, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and such incredible locales as Canada and Umbria, Italy. About the latter – one of my most exciting painting trips currently scheduled – openings are currently being reserved for my second workshop at La Romita School of Art in Umbria, Italy in June 2013.  If you are interested – in that or other workshops – please contact me for additional info at
A recent addition to my “teaching” activities is the writing and illustration of “painting tips” e-mails that have proven to be very popular. If you would like to receive these “tips” – TOTALLY FREE – please send me your e-mail address. I look forward to sending them to you and making new painting friends!
The mediums I work with are oil, watercolor and sometimes, acrylic. Usually my use of acrylic is as an adjunct to either oil or watercolor. My currently favorite watercolor process begins with a technique I like to call “watercolor in reverse”, thus-named since it begins with the darkest darks using acrylic-as-watercolor rather than the more traditional “light to dark” approach. Watercolor aficionados are usually extremely interested and fascinated by my “watercolor in reverse” method since it addresses several watercolor issues and is an exciting, if a bit non-traditional, method. Here is an excerpt from Watercolor Unleashed!
 Afraid of the dark? You are not alone! And if this does indeed describe you, your paintings may lack value contrast. You may be so nervous about the possibility of ruining the work that you have labored over that you are afraid to give the painting the punch that it needs.
So why not put in the darkest darks first and get it over with? Why not establish the all-important value pattern before you have invested so much time and emotional attachment? You probably have learned from painful experience that if you do this with watercolor, the chances are great that you will need to paint over these darks at some point, at which time they are likely to dissolve into and muddy those subsequent washes.
Enter fluid acrylics—acrylics used as watercolor. When dry, acrylic is no longer water soluble.  You can paint wet watercolor right over the acrylic and the acrylic won’t budge. The acrylic darks serve as underpinnings to “lock in” your composition. not paint with acrylic in an indiscriminate manner if you wish to keep your painting transparent—acrylic is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove. The fact that acrylic dries waterproof is an advantage because it is indelible. On the other hand, the fact that acrylic dries waterproof is also a disadvantage—because it is there to stay! Use acrylic when you are quite sure that you know where you want it! Once you have practiced this technique enough to get the hang of it, I advise using it only when it seems clear that there will be a significant benefit to using it on the particular painting at hand. If used correctly you will find it to be a wonderful adjunct to your watercolor “repertoire”.
The acrylic doesn’t necessarily have to be done as a first step. At any time during the painting process, when you feel the need for an indelible color, use acrylic. Again, use with care as it will be there forever!
Not only does this method get the most intimidating part of painting over with first, it also solves four other painting problems as well. The darks create a pattern that unifies the design, they remain clean and sharp rather than muddy, they open up a range of lighter values, and they create a plan for the painting that allows you to concentrate on and enjoy the painting process. 
 Here you see the “acrylic underpinnings” technique at work in the first stage of the painting. Can you imagine how helpful it was to me to have those very dark areas established early on?   

Incidentally, for those of you who, like me, indulge in painting with oil as well as water-media, this method is also a favorite of mine for the beginning stage of an oil painting (my favorite oils being the water mixable Holbein DUO Aqua Oil) as seen in my first book Brilliant Color.
I love to paint! Each medium has its own personality – I love to alternate between transparent and opaque mediums. Oil being my primary gallery medium and watercolor my primary teaching medium, I have the perfect excuse to use both and can’t imagine being limited to just one. Back to watercolor – especially an expanded “water-media” version – watercolor is such an exciting and expressive medium! You can do almost anything with it, particularly when utilizing the many water based products, brilliant colors, papers, canvases, grounds, etc. that are available to us. We have access to a veritable “candy store” of products and options – we are fortunate indeed!
All the best painting to you,

Daniel Vangeli PWS, BWS

 Daniel Vangeli has huge talent and has just won a major award at this years American Watercolor society 2012 exhibition with this painting. 

Hello Everyone,

First of all thank you so much for having me. When Ona asked me about sharing what I do, I felt honored, as well as  inadequate. I have been painting watercolors for a little over 3 years total, with just finding a passion for it within the last 2 years.

   I had left painting all together several years ago, only giving watercolor a second try in 2010. Something just "clicked" for me this time, and I haven't stopped since. My first painting back was "Lost and Found", which  is the painting above and is also the painting that has launched my career. 

    In 2010 I entered my very first watercolor competition, the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society's International Juried Exhibition. Not thinking much about having a chance in entering, my painting won first place.  This gave me the confidence I needed to keep going, and over the last 2 years I've won awards at other societies, have had work published in a few magazines. 

 Here are a couple more of my paintings.

- Dan Vangeli


 Debi Watson NWS, PWS

                                                                          'Blowing Snow' Watercolour

Hello Bayview watercolour Society,

I was born a love for art and spent a lot of my childhood drawing, much to the chagrin of my parents, who tried to encourage 'more practical' uses of my time.  I continued art as a hobby and started painting watercolors in 1983, with a how to paint craft store book as a guide.  My work was lauded by judges from the beginning, which was kind of unnerving for me.  At one of the first shows I entered, my painting won two awards and  I was asked to exhibit in the professional catagory.  I was so intimidated that I didn't show for years!

                                                                                             'Madness'   watercolor

  Being self-taught, learning took a lot of time, but gave my work it's own unique look.  In 1999, I retired from nursing to paint full time.  I have enjoyed entering the juried shows as a way to push myself toward excellence.  My work has been accepted and won awards across the nation, being featured in over a dozen magazines and books. 

                                                                                                    'Serenity' Watercolour

I just like to paint, and always will.  
I enjoy teaching and giving other people the encouragement to create art that I didn't get in my early years.  I have many free how to paint videos on youtube.

For a whole range of free videos please follow the following link

I am also currently working on putting lessons on my website

I'm looking forward to  being your Artist of the Month and answering any questions you might have.

                                                                                                 Debi Watson 

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