Start With a Drawing But Don’t Be a Slave to It

“Avignon Street” (watercolor, 15 x 11 in.)

There is an energy to Vladislav Yeliseyev’s handling of transparent watercolors that is exciting and engaging. Underneath those expressive washes of watercolor are solid drawings that define the structures and put them into accurate perspective. His drawing ability results from his study of architecture in Moscow (then part of the USSR) before emigrating to the United States in 1989.

“Manatee Village” (watercolor, 15 x 11 in.)


“I talk to my students about the importance of one’s state of mind when painting,” says Yeliseyev. “That’s important no matter what medium you use or what style you adopt. Given my background, I put a high premium on being free and open to new ideas and expressions. I left the Soviet Union in search of freedom, so I want to protect and celebrate the freedom I have enjoyed since moving to the United States.”

Watercolor Painting Tutorial


Step 1: After taping a sheet of rough watercolor paper to a board, Yeliseyev lightly draws the outlines of the major shapes within his chosen subject.


Step 2: After identifying part of the paper that should remain unpainted, the artist uses fluid, transparent washes of primary colors to lay in the first stage of the painting.


Step 3: Using a darker mixture of primary colors, Yeliseyev blocks in shadows that constitute the second layer of values.


Step 4: As the paper becomes dryer, the artist lays in the third value pattern of deeper shadows and linear details.


The completed painting: Streets of Avignon (watercolor, 22 x 15 in.)

Paint with Vladislav and other top watercolor artists at the 2023 Plein Air Convention & Expo in Colorado, May 21-25.


  1. He is an amazing instructor. After watching his video on light my painting came to life. I absolutely love his art work.


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