Watching Watercolor Live … At 2:00 AM

When artists gather online from all 50 states and 29 countries for Watercolor Live, our introductions often include what we like to paint, where we’re from, what we’re drinking, and what time it is – and this event runs around the clock because we are a passionate group of artists!

In addition to making new friends from Australia, Malaysia, England, Sweden, Germany, and across the U.S. in this immersive experience, we enjoyed a faculty auction and inspiring demo after demo (see below!).

We started right out the door with a special pre-event seminar with Platinum Sponsor Royal Talens, featuring Jeff Olsen; throughout the day we also saw Platinum sponsors Fabriano, Raphael & Sennelier featuring Andrew Cook, Platinum sponsor Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Platinum sponsor Blick Art Materials featuring Emily Olson, and Platinum sponsor Royal Talens featuring Wennie Huang. One of the perks of being a part of Watercolor Live is the special discounts from these and more.

After the Royal Talens seminar, Publisher Eric Rhoads and Editor-in-Chief Kelly Kane welcomed us with encouragement and everything we needed to know to have a great week at Watercolor Live. One of my favorite pieces of advice from Eric’s introduction is to say to yourself, “I can do this – I just haven’t learned it yet.”

From Lorraine Watry's "Understanding Your Materials" Watercolor Live session
From Lorraine Watry’s “Understanding Your Materials” Watercolor Live session

In a true “watercolor 101” session, Lorraine Watry went over the basics of watercolor surfaces, brushes, and paints. Her demo included first-timer tips such as why you would choose to paint on a flat surface versus an angle, and much more.

watercolor - color
From Jane Blundell’s session with a focus on color

Jane Blundell has explored color since she was a child, so it’s only natural that she led a workshop on color mixing with a primary triad, allowing you to get to know color in a new way.

Watercolor Live - special effects with watercolor
From “Basic Techniques and Special Effects” with Steve Mitchell

Former illustrator and designer Steve Mitchell said it can be “befuddling” to create a landscape in watercolor, but there are a number of ways – which he demonstrated – to practice rendering the edges and transitioning the various sections.

“I’m really enjoying [Steve’s] demo! I love landscape painting! I guess I already do some of these techniques but really putting words to it is so helpful!” ~Cathy R.

how to paint a simple landscape with watercolor
From Dwight Rose’s demo on how to paint a simple landscape with watercolor

A plan has to be implemented before embarking on a beautiful still life painting of roses, said Dwight Rose. His five-phase process includes planning the subject, deciding on the largest shapes, drawing, the first washes, and the final stage of evaluating.

Watercolor Live still life demo
From Michael Holter’s Watercolor Live still life demo

In his first demo for this year’s Watercolor Live, Michael Holter introduced us to an exercise of painting a simple still life of an orange with a bunch of purple grapes and drapery with a focus on light and shapes.

From Pam Wenger's watercolor portrait lesson
From Pam Wenger’s watercolor portrait lesson

We followed along as Pam Wenger created a “quick sketch portrait.” For this practice, she says, “You don’t have to finish, you don’t have to overwork it, you don’t have to worry about the composition or the background or the clothing – it’s a chance for you to play with color and approaches.”

Barbara Tapp spent 38 years as an architectural renderer, and started plein air eight years ago. Sketching is an important part of her artistic process.
Barbara Tapp spent 38 years as an architectural renderer and started plein air eight years ago. Sketching is an important part of her artistic process.

When you’re a beginner, it’s important to have a good sketchbook to test your ideas, Barbara Tapp advised in her demo, which focused on understanding composition in a painting so you can lead the viewer through your work with intention.

From the painting segment of Barbara Tapp's composition demonstration
From the painting segment of Barbara Tapp’s composition demonstration

Of course, we wrapped up the evening with the infamous Cocktail Hour / Paint Along, during which attendees shared their works, their stories, and their love of watercolor.

“I’m so glad I took Essentials Day; this makes it worth it.” ~Roberta S., during Steve Mitchell’s demo

There’s still time to join us for Watercolor Live! Register today and get access to all the replays you may have missed, and still learn from the world’s top watercolor artists now through Saturday, January 28!


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