Watercolor demonstration at the 41st Monmouth Festival of the Arts

Monmouth Festival of the Arts opening
Monmouth Festival of the Arts opening

The 41st Monmouth Festival of the Arts (MFA), held from  April 9th to April 13th was a wonderfuly organized event that had presented over 220 artist’s original art work in different media, crafts and jewelry. All the works were displayed at at Monmouth Reform Temple. Five days event included great daily art demonstrations and evening programs, children’s programs and art chance auction.

I was one of the demonstrators, my theme was “Non-traditional Watercolor Techniques”. This was my 1st demonstration for an adult audience. It went wonderfully, I enjoyed the company of my viewers and not only shared my knowledge with them but also studied something myself. It is an absolute pleasure to work with professional artists (90% of whom were watercolorists). Despite the cloudy morning I had 25-30 guests.

Ekaterina Smirnova demonstrating watercolor techniques
Ekaterina Smirnova demonstrating watercolor techniques

I started my demonstration by presenting my prepared underpainting of the New Jersey road view at dusk. I have briefly went through the technical details of creating this underpainting, i.e. using a wash for the sky, painting the background while the paper is still wet, using a dry-brush technique for foreground. This is a standard way for me to start a painting. Then I moved on to the stage of splashing, I had shown how to use flat wide brush for spattering color to the paper. I splashed an ivory black mix for the front plane of the painting where I thought it should go darker and then splashed a lighter tone of blue color mixed with white gouache for the top of the painting on the sky section. I had to repeat this step a few times, waiting every time for the paper to dry. Usually for atmospheric effect I would splash over 20 times, but due to the short time of the demonstration I have splashed about 6 times. While watching paint dry, I showed a few of my works as an example of different ways of splashing. I showed “Compassionate Hunter”, “Rainy Way” (1 of 3) and “Cube”.

Wiping technique
Wiping technique

The following step was to wipe the painting for the effect of motion. The paper should be slightly wet for the success of this technique. I would splash on it or use my spray. Then I would select a direction of the wiping and try to follow it throughout the painting. I wipe with a flat sponge (you can find in packaging). It is ok to splash more when you feel like the paper is too dry and no pigment is moving with the sponge.

The painting was not done. But during the demonstration painting has been elevated to a higher level, it is now looking more complete and it has gained interesting textures and overall feeling, now it is giving a sense of motion. I have completed the painting at my home studio.

"Going to the Sunset" 30" x 22", 4.2011
"Going to the Sunset" 30" x 22", 4.2011

I would like to thank my attentive and kind audience for visiting my demonstration. You have encouraged me to continue on with sharing my art experience. I very much enjoyed all of the Monmouth Festival and I’m thankful for be allowed into the MFA community.



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