Watercolor Workshop in Staunton, Virginia

Watercolor Along the Garden Path with Paige Smith-Wyatt
Through Paige Smith-Wyatt’s joyful, stress-free approach to watercolor, learn to utilize the unique qualities of this medium to create vibrant, expressive florals. Paige's workshops are taught in a creative and supportive environment that includes demonstrations of techniques she uses in her personal approach to watercolor painting and significant one-on-one instruction. Paige will discuss the use of photographic reference, as well as how to interpret a photo in order to give life and energy to the subject. While concepts of art and design, such as color theory and composition will be discussed, Paige encourages each student to follow their own unique path to completing paintings with the goal of instilling enthusiasm and confidence in the student. Depending upon student interest, Paige will also demonstrate her technique of waxing a painting and mounting it onto a wood panel for a modern presentation.  All skill levels welcome.

May 13-14, 2017   10am-4pm 
To sign up for this workshop, contact the Beverley Street Studio School in Staunton, Virginia at:  (540) 886-8636     Email: bssschool@verizon.net 

Watercolor Workshop Supply List

Supply List:

Paper - Paige works on Fabriano Artistico hot press paper in either 140 lb. or 300 lb. Any brand of 100% cotton watercolor paper in at least 140 lb. will work. 140 lb. paper will buckle some. If this bothers you, bring 300 lb. Bring at least two sheets that are 22 x 30 inches or similar size.

Palette - Paige uses multiple 12 well palettes with cups, which she finds especially useful for the way she works. This palette works well because it has deep cups with lids, making it easy to transport wet paint, and has deep wells in the center for mixing colors. If you already own a palette, just bring what you have - if it does not have deep wells for mixing paint, you can bring small cups or a small mixing palette that contains wells.  

Brushes - For the majority of her work, Paige uses a Raphael 8404 kolinsky sable round, size 4 and an Arches A5 Petit Gris Pur black Squirrel quill (round), size 1. If you already have a selection of round brushes, just bring what you have. Pure sables and squirrel are wonderful but, if you are on a budget, there are good substitutes made with a combination of natural and synthetic hairs. Paige suggests not working with very small brushes to aid you in staying loose and free with your painting.

Paint - Paige recommends you use tubes instead of dry cakes and you should avoid student grade paints. If you already have a nice set of dry cakes/pans, just bring those along with a palette or small cups for mixing a good amount of paint. Most of her colors are Sennelier and Maimeri Blu brand. Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, and other professional grade brands will work just as well. Paige’s palette includes an extensive range of colors. If you are just starting out, at a minimum, you will need the following for the workshop:
Lemon Yellow
Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Red Light, Vermillion, or Sandal Red
Alizarin Crimson
Pink - Primary Red Magenta, Carmine, Quinacridone Rose,Verzino Violet or similar pink Violet
French Ultramarine Blue
Phthalo Blue or Cerulean Blue
Sap Green or Hookers Green
Phthalo Green Light
Burnt Umber
Ivory Black
Other useful colors:
Indigo, Forrest Green,Viridian,Yellow Deep, Burnt or Raw Sienna, Orange

Photo Reference -You are welcome to bring your own photographs or paint from reference photos provided by Paige. Close-ups of flowers, butterflies, and other garden elements will work best. You can work from photos that have been printed on paper, or from digital images using a tablet or smart phone.

Towels - A good absorbent cloth towel or roll of paper towels will work well.

Water basin - A divided water basin works best, or you can use two jars - one for clean water,
one for cleaning brushes.

Bulb Syringe - A bulb syringe or pipette is very useful for quickly adding water to your wells of paint.

Pencil and eraser - You will need to draw your image onto the paper before beginning to paint. You can use either a kneaded or white plastic eraser.

Finishing and Mounting Your Painting
Paige finishes her watercolor paintings with a wax varnish and mounts them onto wood panels. She will demonstrate this technique at the end of the workshop. If you would like to finish your painting this way, you will need the following supplies:

Wood Panel - Either a cradled wood panel, or flat wood panel will work. The panel should be slightly smaller than your painting.

Wax - Gamblin’s Cold Wax Medium or Dorland’s Wax Medium for finishing the surface of your painting.

Wheat Paste or Glue - Paige prefers to use Lineco Pure Wheat Starch to adhere her paintings onto panels. Another option is to use a heavy acrylic medium, such as Golden’s Heavy Gel Medium mixed with a little archival glue. If you use wheat starch, applying a coat of gesso to the wood first will make your painting more archival.

Brush - A wide craft brush for applying paste/glue to panel. soft cloth/rag for applying wax

Brayer - A brayer is useful for pressing your painting to the panel and smoothing out any wrinkles or bubbles.

Paper - Parchment, wax, or clean craft paper will work. You will use this to protect your painting while you are applying it to the panel.

Exacto Knife - After letting the paste dry, you will trim the edges of your paper to the exact size of the panel.

Gloves or Barrier Cream - Optional - These are useful to protect your hands.

Spray Bottle -You will use this to moisten the back of your painting before applying it to the
prepared panel.

Small Bowl - You will need a small bowl for mixing the wheat paste or gel medium/glue. If you are using wheat paste, you will need a microwavable bowl - glass or ceramic works best. 


Materials and Process

I love art materials and over the years have tried just about every medium available.  I think choice of art medium has a lot to do with the artist's personality and temperament, and I find that infinitely fascinating.  My own preference is painting in watercolor on paper and in this post I'll share what materials I use as well as my process for creating a painting.

I feel it is important to use the highest quality materials available so that my work will be lasting and integrally sound.  To achieve this, I use only professional watercolor paint, including Sennelier and Maimeri Blu, with the highest lightfast ratings.  This means the colors in my paintings should not fade with time.  I use traditional sable watercolor brushes as well as squirrel quills.  I paint many layers of color on Fabriano Artistico 100% cotton hot press watercolor paper, which is a beautiful archival paper.  I purchase large rolls in both 140lb. and 300lb. weights and cut the paper to size.  My largest paintings are done on the heavy 300lb. paper.  After I have completed a painting, I then apply a coat of Gamblin's cold wax medium, which is a combination of beeswax, resin, and mineral spirits.  The mineral spirits evaporate and leave a beautiful, soft luster.  This wax layer, which has a faint and pleasant honey scent, helps to protect the painting from moisture so that framing behind glass is not necessary.  I then mount the painting onto a wood panel with a combination of Lineco archival adhesive and Golden's heavy acrylic medium.  Most of the panels I use are 1.5 inch deep.  Larger panels have extra bracing on the back.  I then trim the edges, paint the sides, and apply another coat of wax to the painting.  Depending on the painting, I sometimes leave the edges of the panel unpainted and apply the wax to show the beauty of the natural wood.  I then wire the board and the painting is complete and ready to hang.  The completed look has a clean contemporary feel.  Further framing is not necessary unless desired by the patron.   

my typical painting setup
a painting drying after the first coat of wax
1.5 inch deep panels with a wax coat to show the beauty of the natural wood


New Work Available at the Nature Gallery

The Light In Me Sees The Light In You     36 x 48 inches     watercolor      

Bountiful     36 x 48 inches     watercolor

Palm Breeze     30 x 40 inches     watercolor

Canna Whisper     30 x 40 inches     watercolor
My latest paintings are available at the Nature Gallery in Dothan, Alabama.  The beautiful gallery is located at 156 North Forster Street.  Visit their website or call 334-671-2050 for more information.


"Grace Unfolding" available at Art Gala Auction

"Grace Unfolding"    14 x 28 inches     oil on canvas laid on wood
My painting will be available at the Houston Academy Art Gala Auction held 
Saturday, April 23 at the Dothan Botanical Gardens.  Doors open at 6pm.  

For more information visit www.houstonacademy.com/gala


Two of my paintings are being considered for a show in Italy - update: one selected for Italy, one selected for Art at City Hall Summer Exhibition

Red Rose     30 x 40 inches     oil on canvas

Family Gathering     12 x 16 inches     oil on canvas
I've just delivered these two paintings to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art where they are being considered for the MMFA's 2016 Italy Exhibition. The chosen artworks will travel to Pietransanta, Italy where they will be shown in a gallery in the Palazzo Panichi.  It is an honor for two of my paintings to have made it this far in the selection process.  I should find out later this week if they are selected.

"Family Gathering was selected for the 2016 Italy show which will be held from June 25 - July 31, 2016 in Pietransanta, Italy.

"Red Rose" was selected for the Art at City Hall Gallery Summer Exhibition in Montgomery.  This show will be open mid-May through mid-August.


Painting in Bed

My watercolor set-up for painting in bed.

As an art therapist I have helped children and adults in different hospital settings use art as a part of their healing and to help them get through difficult times.  I've turned this experience to good use for myself recently.  Being diagnosed with Mononucleosis for the fourth time, I was well familiar with how horrible it can make one feel and how long it lingers.  The long hours of bed-rest are difficult for me because there are so many things I want to be doing - painting and gardening being the top two.  With mono, the body may be sick but the mind isn't.  I decided to use what little energy I had to paint.  I put my Sennelier watercolor box,  a watercolor basin for washing my brushes as well as clean water (not too much water to prevent spills),  a small bit of paper towel, and brushes onto a small tray.  I set this beside me in bed and put the painting in my lap.  Watercolor is a great medium for those who aren't feeling well because it requires little physical energy.  Propped up with lots of soft pillows, I painted away until I was too tired to lift my arm anymore.  I would then set the tray and painting aside until I had enough energy again.  Not only did the act of painting bring me joy, as it always does, but it also helped me pass many hours distracted from how miserable I was actually feeling.  The painting you see in the photo above was painted almost entirely in bed.  I'll post an image of the completed painting soon.  If you know someone that has a prolonged illness or is bed-ridden, a small box of watercolors and paper might be a welcome gift.



Desert Roses

22 x 30 inches  watercolor on paper

work in progress

early morning painting session


Grisaille Method

 The above painting was created by painting a grisaille first then glazing with color.  The grisaille (pronounced "griz-eye") method of painting has a long history Wikipedia has a concise explanation for those new to this method of painting with excellent links for further learning.   Below you can see how the painting was first painted entirely with black and white paint to create a multitude of shades of grey.  The progression of images shows how I developed the painting from the grisaille, slowly adding transparent glazes of color until I achieved completion of the painting in full color.  This is a classical way of painting.  In many ateliers it was an important aspect of traditional art training.  Students were only allowed to paint in monochrome, often for a year or more, until they mastered drawing and handling of value.  Only then were they allowed to begin with color.


I find that some paintings are lovely left in monochrome: 

Introduction to Advanced Drawing Link

For students wanting to learn about light and shadow,
 here is a great drawing lesson on YouTube by the Da Vinci Initiative: 


Come See Me Paint in Florida

Saturday, May 7, 2016
10am - 2pm

Come see me paint in the Forgotten Coast Plein Air Quickdraw event at George Core Park in Port St. Joe, Florida.  There will be many artists participating and activities going on all week as part of the 2016 Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, America's Great Paint-Out.  Click on link for more information.


Vermeer Painting Technique

The following is a link to an excellent tutorial by Thomas Penrose on the technique of using oil glazes over a grisaille (monochromatic gray) underpainting:

Painting a copy of Jan Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring"

My Artwork Featured on the FSU College of Fine Arts Website

My artworks are the two directly in front of the person. I was looking for something on the Florida State University College of Fines Ar...