Improving My Watercolor Paintings

•July 28, 2018 • 2 Comments

Attending a workshop, with a highly regarded artist/teacher excites me on 2 levels. First as an artist I am stimulated by seeing an artist I admire painting. Watching the movement of the hands as he creates each brush stroke is delightful to see. It’s like watching a great conductor leading a orchester. Beautiful art being created right before your eyes. Second, as a teacher of watercolor I learned so many tips and simple ways to help my students understand the information pertaining to advancing as a watercolor artist.

It’s a great feeling to have someone to help guide, critique and offer me direction while I am painting. Fabio was extremely helpful and I will share some of the paintings I did during the class and show you how he helped improve my art.

In this first example Fabio suggested I darken the shadows of the trees and add a little bit darker river bank on the opposite side of the water. I can see the improvement in the finished painting.


Fabio Trees 1a

Bank of Trees – before

Fabio Trees 1b

Bank of Trees – after


In this second example Fabio suggested I add a little more background to support the flowers. I do feel it gives the flowers a better foundation to rest on.


Fabio Flowers 1

A pair of Roses

Fabio Flowers 1b

A Pair of Roses – finished


In this third example Fabio had very good suggestions. He said I needed to separate the birds, they were blending into one another and that they needed a darker background which would help show them off better.

Fabio Chickens 1

Angry Birds

Fabio Chickens 1b

Angry Birds – finished


Sometimes during a class a suggestion will be made and if I do not agree with the teacher and I like my painting just the way it is I won’t change a thing. In this class I felt that each critique I was given would help my art so I was happy to make the adjustments and I have to say I’m very pleased with the finished paintings.

I now know a few new things about watercolor painting that I didn’t know before this week-long workshop and I’m going to make a few slight changes in my teaching style in my future classes.

Spending 5 days with Fabio Cembranelli was a gift to myself and I look forward to his next NY workshop in 2019.


Lorraine Rimmelin


Watercolor Painting with Fabio Cembranelli – Packing for a workshop

•July 13, 2018 • 6 Comments


It feels so  good to pack my favorite watercolor supplies as I’m preparing to attend a week-long workshop with the master of watercolor Fabio Cembranelli. I booked this class 14 months ago and finally the week to go has arrived.

I started following Fabio’s art on social media sometime during 2016. He is from Brazil and I wished I would be able to attend one of his workshops one day. He amazed me with his beautiful style of painting and I searched to see if he taught anywhere near me in NY. He was teaching a workshop driving distance from me in the summer of 2017. Although the class was sold out I luckily got a spot when someone canceled, YEAH ME! It was a 3 day class and I had a terrific time. Prior to that class I learned that he was coming to Greenville NY to a favorite workshop /artist retreat center called Hudson River Valley Art Workshops – in July of 2018. I booked that program 14 months ago knowing it would sell out fast, and it did.


Today I spent time in my studio deciding exactly which of my prized brushes I would take with me. I then picked my favorite colors of paint and lastly I carefully packed the perfect, purest watercolor paper I had. I do love the stuff I paint with! Next I printed out dozens of reference photos. I have enough pictures to paint at least 30 paintings but I’ll hope to come back with a couple of paintings that I’m excited over.

There was a time that I attended several watercolor classes a year. I use to seem to be searching for the perfect teacher to help make me a great painter. Then one day I decided I wanted to be an artist not a student so I stopped the cycle of classes and focused on painting. Now I am very selective when it comes to taking a workshop.

I am so happy that I have the opportunity to spend a full week painting with my artist friends and to have the guidance of an extraordinary artist like Fabio.


Lorraine Rimmelin


Pouring Watercolor Paint

•July 6, 2018 • 4 Comments

Painting with watercolor involves so many wonderful techniques that I could spend all my days just watching paint flow in ribbons of colors on my paper. The translucency of the pigments lets the white of the paper shine through or when used as a glaze over a dry color allows you to see the glow from the color below. This is one of the reasons I fell in love with watercolor.

Today I decided to explore the technique of pouring watercolor paints. It’s quite simple, you mix a small amount of fresh squeezed pigment with water, mix until it’s completely dissolved and pour it onto your watercolor paper. Sounds easy right? Let me share a few tips so you can be successful when you’re pouring paint.

Start with a small amount of pigment in a tiny cup. The cup shouldn’t hold more than a few ounces of liquid. Always add the water after you squeeze in the pigment. If you try to add pigment to a small amount of water you may have to use way too much paint to get your desired value. If you add a little bit of water and stir well you can control the value level of the paint.  I use an eye dropper to dispense the water and add additional drops as needed. For a small 6″ x 9″ painting I use no more than a half ounce of mixed liquid paint. Keep a piece of scrap paper on hand to test the value. If too dark add more water if too light add more paint. Each time I mix paint to pour the value depends on my preference for that particular painting. For the flowers I painted today I wanted a light value so I used more water.


Here is my sketch and my red, yellow and blue pre-mixed liquid watercolor paint. 

Aureolin (Y) Crimson Lake (R) Cobalt (B)


Now I’ll have some fun and pour a small amount of paint onto my paper. As I distribute the paint I think of where I want the yellow and blue to mix into a green. And where I want the yellow and red to mix into an orange. I do not allow the lines of my drawing to restrict how I let the paints flow. This is a first wash and as in many of my washes I want the paint to act like watercolor and do it’s mingling with all the other colors. This is part of the joy I love while painting with watercolors. I will touch parts of it with a clean damp brush to push the paint to areas where I want to see the more color and I will splatter some additional paint to enhance the colors, still using only my 3 original colors.

You can achieve so many colors using only red, yellow & blue.


I wait for the paint to completely dry. I don’t use a blow dryer unless I want to push the pigment into other areas. I like to let the pigment settle on the paper as the water evaporates.

Pouring WC7_2-18b

If you have followed my blog in the past you already know how much I adore negative painting. Here is where I feel it is especially useful. I negative paint around the petal, leaf & stem shapes.  

Pouring WC7_2-18a

Please observe that if I create a beautiful wash filled with crisp colors that flow and have interest you do not need to do a tremendous amount of detail work to have a flower painting that’s fresh and feels spontaneous. I’m constantly aware of my edges while painting knowing I want a combination of both lost & found edges to add interest to my art.


Pouring WC7_2-18“Sunflower”


Pouring paint can be fun and will help you loosen up your painting style. Try this flower painting using the colors of your choice. Enjoy yourself and please share your results with me. 


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Painting Charlie the Cat in Watercolor

•June 29, 2018 • 8 Comments

Watercolor painting never gets old or boring if you constantly find new challenges. Like many things in our everyday lives we need to stretch ourselves to keep our interests growing. I find new subjects to paint, things that I’m not too comfortable with, like cats. Using my photoshop program I will enlarge the image to fit my watercolor paper and then transfer it with a water-soluble pencil. This pencil allows all the marks I make on the paper to disappear as I paint.

Here is my cat sketch


Cat Charlie2


Before I start my painting I work out my color palette on a piece of scrap paper. I need to determine the eye color and the body colors. By doing this I do not have to make color choices while I’m painting.

My color choices are

EYES: Under Sea Green – Daniel Smith Leaf Green – Holbien

BODY: Hematite Burnt Orange,  Hematite Violet & Raw Sienna – Daniel Smith


Cat Charlie


I ALWAYS start my painting by painting the eyes. I need to feel that I have captured the soulful expression of the animal I am painting. Once this is done I’m ready to continue the painting.

Cat Charlie3

I continue painting the animal and I think of the words a great artist/teacher once told me. “Use your finger and stroke the animal’s fur, (on the photo image). Feel the direction the fur grows and use those same strokes to paint the animal with your brush” Thank you Jean Haines



Little by little I build up the layers of my painting. Here is a close up of  Charlie’s beautiful green eyes. My goal is to make them look liquid and they should have depth.


Cat Charlie5

A subtle back ground color that does not compete with the subject is added.


Cat Charlie 6_2018

My painting of Charlie is a donation to the RSVP animal rescue group. I donate art whenever they have a fundraiser. This year I was asked to create a painting of a major benefactor’s deceased pet. It was with great pleasure that I painted Charlie for this lovely lady. I hope my art brings a smile to her face and conjures up warm memories of her beloved family member.


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My Watercolor Thank You

•January 7, 2018 • 4 Comments

I have a wonderful life. I’ve been a successful hair salon owner for 31 years and built enough equity in my business that at the age of 51 sold it all and semi-retired. I now work for the new owners 2 days a week. That leaves me plenty of time to pursue my passion for watercolor painting.

Most artist see themselves as artists that would like to sell their art. I look at my watercolor painting as a business. I guess it’s probably because of my history of working for myself. Therefore I am constantly promoted me & my art. It is hard work building an art business but really….what else do I have to do? I truly love painting and why not make it into a self supporting career. Remember it’s not work if you love what you do.

I know that I have many people who have been there for me in my art journey. The friends & family who encourage me and help me by being a terrific team of cheerleaders. The clients who buy my art, they are supporting me and helping me continue on the course I set out on. Money does help, you can’t be successful if you are constantly a ‘starving artist’. I am thrilled when someone says how much they would love one of my paintings in their home or to give as a gift. And there are many others, like my framer who helps me by making my paintings look amazing in their frames.

I decided to raffle off an original watercolor painting at the beginning of each year as my way of saying ‘Thank You” to all the special people in my life. I didn’t come up with this idea on my own I borrowed it from a friend, David Daniels. After receiving his annual card & raffle ticket I thought I would like to do the same thing and it has been a great success.

This year I am mailing out 250 cards, with tickets attached, to win my 15″x11 painting titled   ‘Colorful Bouquet’ (image below)

Colorful Bouquet

I have someone draw the winning ticket from a bowl and post the winning numbers on my website. And then I wait to be contacted by the winner. Each year it’s a surprise to see who won.

The raffle for 2018 is already in the mail. The number is picked. The waiting has begun.

Thank you & good luck to all!


A Simple Winter Watercolor Painting

•December 19, 2017 • 4 Comments

It is the week before Christmas and I have spent the past several weeks busy and not having time to paint.  I prepared art for 2 Fine Art Fairs, finished the painting I will be raffling off (my next blog will have all the details on my annual raffle), ordered 250 cards & envelops, completed any on-line orders and shopped & baked gifts for friends & family. Today I went to the studio and made time for me. It’s a great feeling when I have no obligations and I can paint just for me!

I decided I wanted to paint a simple snow scene, something I could post on my FaceBook page to say Merry Christmas to all.

Knowing I would be flooding the paper with water I taped the paper down on a board. I completely wet the paper and gave it a moment to be absorbed, then I adding a little more water. I wanted my first wash to be soft with no hard edges. I used an ultra marine blue paint and a Quinn Crimson paint. Because the paper was wet I used very little water on my brush as I loaded the brush with pigment. I wanted strong color knowing that the water on the paper would dilute the pigment and it would dry lighter. Don’t be afraid of it being too dark at this stage.

Next I allowed the shine to leave the paper. Don’t be tempted to use a blow dryer you will most likely over dry the paper. Be patient. When the shine is gone use a small brush, I used a very small synthetic rigger which wouldn’t carry too much water, and drop in tiny spots of clear water. These drops will spread and lighten giving the illusion of a snowy sky.

I added a ridge line of distant trees in a very light value.

Christmas 2017a

When the paper was completely dry I painted the tree. I used a mixture of thalo green & ultra marine blue and very little water. I wanted a very dark value but still wanted the tree to have interest and not just be a dark blob. As the paint started to dry I dropped in a few drops of clear water to adjust the value within the tree shape.

A shadow grounds the tree and gives shape to the snow it’s sitting on. The addition of a few weeds poking out of the snow and their shadows again give form to the ground.

Christmas 2017b

To complete the painting it needed to have a sprinkling of snow. I used Titanium white mixed with just enough water to allow it to splatter off my paint brush. Always test this over scrap paper before you do it over your painting. Tap the wet brush on the handle of a dry brush and watch the snow fall. See how much snow falls and what size flakes come off your brush. Try different size brushes until you are happy with the results.  Here is where you will definitely need self-control because it’s not only fun to do but you might have the tendency to feel that a little sprinkle is good and more may be better but watch out you do not get carried away with the snow. Force yourself to stop before your tree is lost in a blizzard!

Christmas 2017c

I added a few words to express my joy of the Christmas holiday. Don’t forget to add a few words of your own to you painting and share it with friends and family.

Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night……


Painting Trees With Watercolor

•September 27, 2017 • 2 Comments

Soon the North East will explode with colors as the trees turn brilliant shades of yellows, oranges & reds during the upcoming weeks of Fall. I will head to Vermont where the mountains and valleys put on a spectacular show as the leaves go through their yearly ritual prior to falling to the ground. Hundreds of leaf peepers will take to the roads to see this outstanding display of color.

I am teaching a watercolor workshop in October titled ‘Capturing the Colors of Fall” I’m busy preparing exercises for the artists which will have them mixing and mingling colors reflecting the colors of Fall.

Using several colors I make puddles on the paper in random shapes, keeping the value light. This is a simple wash of colors to help the artists warm up. I always take a few moments prior to painting to warm up by doing a few color washes. 

When the paint is almost dry I add the trunk and smaller branches to complete the tree.

Here is another simple tree, to take it a step further I added grasses.

Trees workshop1

These next trees was done side by side by me and my 7-year-old great-niece Brianna.

Trees workshop2

Brianna helps me work out the kinks of these exercises by painting along with me. Having a 7-year-old at my studio allows me to test my ideas for simple yet successful exercises for the artists who will attend the class.

She loves watercolor painting and is elated when she sees her results are so successful.

Trees workshop3

Watercolor doesn’t have to be difficult to achieve beautiful results. With some practice you too can have fun and paint simple trees that reflect the fall colors that surround you.


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