Gearing Up for a Big Event

Richie Vios shares his routine for preparing to do his best.

Watercolor demo painting by Richie Vios

Yesterday, Richie Vios delighted attendees at this year’s Plein Air Convention & Expo with a fast-moving but detailed look at his watercolor painting process. Along the way he shared inspiring and helpful advice on everything from getting past the “sucky part of the painting” to making sure you repeat your “pop of color” in other parts of your painting so it doesn’t look like an accident.

A frequent participant in plein air painting events across the country, Richie also shared his routine for getting geared up to do his best.


“Several days before an event, I play basketball or just goof off,” he said. “Then, to start getting into the zone a few days out, I’ll prepare my surfaces [Richie mounts his watercolor paper to MDF board with Golden matte medium so he can varnish the works later]. A day or two before I leave home, I watch videos by Joseph Zbukvic or Alvaro Castagnet, and think ‘I’m gonna have to try that.” When I get to the event, I’m like a mustang [he says as he stomps the ground with his feet] — totally ready to go!”

Bonus Tip: Knowing When to Stop

Richie knows one of the hardest parts of painting is knowing when to stop. When he starts to worry about overworking a piece, he signs it quickly — that’s his signal to stop. If he’s not sure, he’ll step away from the piece for the night and look at it one more time over a cup of coffee in the morning. 

More of Richie Vios’s Paintings

Don’t worry if you missed this year’s Plein Air Convention & Expo. You can see Richie Vios demonstrate his watercolor painting technique in Richie Vios: Confident Watercolor.


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