About brendastevens

For the last twelve years, I've been teaching a one day watercolor workshop that I created for Callaway Garden's guests. This class is called,

Working on Yupo

Yupo for watercolor is the surface I’ve been working on since Christmas. I started making Christmas cards with it and had so much fun I decided to try a larger painting. If you want to catapult yourself out of your comfort zone, Yupo takes “happy little accident” to a whole new level. Its smooth, water resistant surface is quite the challenge. The water doesn’t soak in, it has to evaporate, and taking dry paint back to the white of the paper is so easy it’s hard to avoid doing it. Camellia on Yupo, 14 x 11.

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Experiment Boldly.

This was an experiment. Not all experiments work out well, but that’s half the fun; not knowing if it will, or it won’t. The day I started this painting I realized too late that I would need some masking for the cotton in the field. I live in the country, so driving to a store wasn’t even a fleeting consideration. I rarely use masking so I had none. Boldly, and might I say, wrongly, I chose wax. Candle wax. It repels water doesn’t it? Why not? Well, first of all, it was a challenge to place the drip, and my hand seemed always in the way of the flame. Dangerous, but I finally got it done. The hardest part came when the painting was finished and I had to remove the wax. Glad it was a small painting. I was ultimately successful in removing all the wax and was satisfied enough with the painting to frame it.

Southern Barn

“If it looks right when you put it down, its wrong.”

Another watercolorist’s words, but oh so true. I smiled when I read this, remembering how frustrating I found this in my early watercolor years. The paint doesn’t always stay where I put it. I anticipate this behavior now, and even encourage it, painting wet-on-wet. The paint will continue to travel across moistened paper and to mingle with any other colors it touches along the way. It is one of the loveliest things about watercolor, that it continues to change even after I’ve stopped pushing it around with the brush. The key is knowing when to push and when to stop and watch.

Creating, not Copying

Personal expression, not the ability to copy a photograph, should be the goal of all visual artists. Do my paintings have spirit, emotion, a narrative? I think these are better questions to ask myself. If someone says of my work, “I like that, it looks just like a photograph”, while I appreciate the intended compliment, I feel I’ve missed my mark. 

Drawing and Painting Classes This Month

Drawing is an essential skill for most visual artists. It doesn’t matter what medium you ultimately choose to work in; oil, watercolor, pastel….your painting has to have good bones to be successful. My Drawing Fundamentals class will put you on the right path.
Starts February 21 at Columbus State University.

Watercolor Crash Course! is your opportunity to experiment with the medium without making a big commitment of time or spending a lot on supplies. All of the tools and materials are included in the class fee, painting demonstrations walk the class step-by-step through the entire painting process and you will receive plenty of personal, one-on-one instruction, too. Come to Auburn University on February 18 for my four hour class. We will be painting the Viceroy Butterfly.

Subject: Viceroy Butterfly

Subject: Viceroy Butterfly