This workshop is all about painting on “alternative surfaces,” not relying on our tried-and-true cold pressed paper. I will be showing you a variety of surfaces, such as HOT pressed, Bristol Board, Yupo, Masa paper, and more. But - - my two demos, which I will work on each day of the workshop will be done on Watercolor Canvas and gesso coated watercolor paper.
Surfaces: I recommend that you buy at least one Watercolor Canvas. I like either Frederix Watercolor Canvas, or Yes! All-Media canvas. Buy pre-prepared canvas panels, or stretched canvas, any size you prefer but either a 11 X 14 or a 12 x 16 work well. You will also need to get WHITE ACRYLIC gesso.
You will be preparing your own gessoed papers to paint on. Your workshop coordinator is going to email you a link to a ten-minute zoom recording, which will show you how to prepare your gessoed paper. By the way, I like to prepare my gessoed paper, applying my gesso on top of cold pressed paper. But, trust me, the end result is NOTHING like using untreated cold pressed paper! It is a completely new experience! And if you prefer, you can also paint your gesso on another kind of paper, as long as it is heavy enough. I do not recommend anything thinner than 140 pound. You may choose to paint on any size gessoed watercolor paper you like but a quarter sheet size is always good.
Watercolor canvas can be framed without using a mat or glass. Before you do that, you will need to seal the surface, with a spray-on ACRYLIC sealer. I like to use Krylon brand Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze, which sprays on nicely. Golden and Blair also make spray ACRYLIC varnishes. In addition, I like to brush on a couple of coats of Liquitex Gloss Varnish, which gives it a beautiful glossy finish and brings out the colors. I use a couple of old 1” wide brushes for applying my gesso and my varnish. Here is a photo of all of the supplies I use for these two surfaces.
In addition to your two non-cold-pressed surfaces, here is a good list of additional supplies.
PAINTING BOARD: You will need a waterproof board to support your gessoed paper, about 1 inch larger than your paper in both directions. The stretched or mounted watercolor canvas will be fine on its own.
PAINT : My favorite brands of paint are American Journey and DaVinci watercolors. These are professional quality paints, reasonably priced. There are many brands available, with a huge variety of pigments, tube sizes, and prices. Whatever you buy, it’s a good idea to check the permanency rating first - you don’t want your paintings fading away!
Basic pigments: Here is my palette. The pigments in capital letters are more basic, if you are just building a palette. The others are less essential for a basic set-up, but I love to use them, and you will surely see me dipping my brush into them. I generally choose pigments which are not heavy stainers.
POPPY (American Journey brand)
cobalt violet deep,
CERULEAN BLUE HUE,
Mint Julep (American Journey brand)
*** PLEASE NOTE: I will surely NOT use every pigment listed here, in your workshop! These paints are on my palette all the time. For any single painting I might use as few as two or three and perhaps as many as a dozen … but never, every single one!
BRUSHES: I do not spend a huge amount of money on sable brushes. There are lots of synthetic brushes and synthetic/natural blends that are excellent and much less expensive. My current favorites are Black Velvet rounds, made by Silver Brush, and Robert Simmons one-stroke flats, series 721 synthetic. I also love my Princeton Mottler brushes, 1” and 1.5” sizes.
If you will be painting small, the following brushes will suffice: 1" flat, 1/2" flat, and a #6 round brush (with a good point.)
You may also want a 1/4" flat brush, a larger round brush such as a #12, and a larger flat brush, such as a 1 1/2" brush, particularly if you will be painting larger paintings.
An old toothbrush is great for spattering paint. It is also helpful to have a couple of different sized scrubber brushes, such as the "Fritch" scrubber, and a few fan brushes for blending.
PALETTE: I use a "Miller's Workhorse Traditional Watercolor Palette" from Cheap Joe's. A covered palette, such as the "workhorse," or the Heritage, Pike, or Wood palette, is best, since it will keep your paints moist between painting sessions. You can also use an enameled butcher tray, or even a white dinner plate, and cover your paints with plastic wrap. Whatever you use, make sure you have spaces for all of your pigments and a large, white mixing area.
OTHER SUPPLIES: Small sketchbook, sketching pencils, soft eraser, plastic water bowl, absorbent cloth rags or paper towels, natural sponge, cotton swabs, salt, 4 bulldog clamps, spray bottle (with an adjustable spray.)
*** Also, just so you know, I buy most of my supplies from Cheap Joe’s. I think their selection, prices, and customer service are unbeatable. www.cheapjoes.com
Alexis Lavine, NWS • www.alexislavineartist.com • email@example.com
As a dedicated and determined transparent watercolor painter, I concentrated on “plein air” painting for many years. Recently, however, I have become more of a studio painter, so I can take more time to design and craft my paintings. This enables me to create the most impact in my work, and communicate with my viewers as effectively as possible.
My painting subjects include landscapes, florals, still lifes, figures, and abstracts, painted on a variety of surfaces. My watercolor paintings appear to be realistic … but they are thoughtfully conceived, strategically designed, and carefully drawn around abstract shapes, values, colors, movement, and positive and negative spaces. I believe that my approach gives my work a more contemporary feel, and results in paintings which convey my personal reaction to my subject, not merely the visual facts.
Education is tremendously important. I earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree in Medical Illustration, before embarking on my path as a painter. I continue to study art whenever possible, and I also teach painting and drawing classes and workshops. I love to speak about art, share my experience and knowledge, and help my students achieve greater success.
When the pandemic began, I switched to online teaching and think that it is a tremendous way to teach and to learn! My workshop for BWS will be my first in-person workshop, since covid turned our lives upside down.
Recently honored as “One to Watch” by Watercolor Artist Magazine, I am also a signature member of several professional associations, including the National Watercolor Society, Watercolor USA Honor Society, and Transparent Watercolor Society of America. And I am very pleased to say that I have been a Signature Member and Life Member of BWS for a very long time! My paintings can be found in galleries from Maryland and south to the Virgin Islands.