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The Power of Color: Watercolor Painting at the Edward A. Dixon Gallery Cynthia Kukla, Instructor

  • 17 Jun 2023
  • 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • 222 N St Clair St, Dayton, OH 45402


  • Make sure to read what supplies you need to bring in the event details.

Registration is closed

A FREE workshop for 6 DSA members provided and located at the Edward A. Dixon Gallery on Saturday, June 17th, 10am – Noon. Must RSVP by May 25th, Midnight. Artists must bring their own supplies. See the details below. If you register and find you cannot attend, please alert immediately at 

From the Artist, Cynthia Kukla:

Once you understand watercolors, they really are easy, spontaneous, rich, and varied. Some of you are pros, some intermediate and some maybe at the beginning of professional painting. You want to make your watercolors as individualistic and dynamic as you are so getting a real grip on color mixing and color theory will send you on your way.

I demonstrate a number of color mixing exercises and special triads. Triads are three colors representing reds, yellows and blues –this is the trinity of color theory. This will help you develop your own preferences for color combinations and it will help you mix all the colors on your palette more effectively. Our goal is for your watercolors to look marvelous!

We will work from still lifes. I suggest that you bring some flowers from home that will make an inspired flower painting. Or family or travel mementoes for a ‘personal history’ still life. Artists have painted enough generic wine bottles and grapes! It is a richer painting experience to work from life rather than work from photographs. However, if you have a special photograph you want to use for this watercolor workshop, feel free to bring it to tuck into a still life.

Also, we need to focus on interesting compositions. Oh that again! A good basic composition. It is fun to do preliminary sketches, working out the bugs until you are satisfied with your composition. You can do quick watercolor color composition studies too. It is a great way to warm up and be ready to tackle a well-thought out composition that has color balance.

Our ultimate goal will be to gain confidence with watercolors and paint what we see to our own personal satisfaction. Advanced participants gain from honing and refreshing your composition, color and paintings skills.

Bring any supplies you already have on hand. Don’t worry if your supplies are different from brands or sizes I suggest. For beginners and those of you who want to “take it up a notch,” I recommend you buy the brands and sizes I suggest.

Here’s my list to use as a guide:

Pocket sketchbook or loose paper for quick sketches, #2 pencils or basic art pencils, good eraser (plastic art eraser.)

Cotman (inexpensive), Winsor Newton (medium priced), Daniel Smith, Sennelier (more expensive) or other pan or tube set or individual colors you previously bought. I suggest the following tube colors for a basic palette:

Cadmium yellow light or Hansa yellow light
Yellow ochre
Burnt sienna
Cadmium red light
Alizarin crimson
Violet or purple
Pthalocyanine or Winsor blue
Ultramarine blue
Hooker’s green
Payne’s Gray

If you do not have all these colors, don’t worry. This is a great starter list of eleven colors to use as a guide for developing your color palette.

Watercolor pads or blocks – Brands: 
Canson, Strathmore, Fabriano, Aquarello, Arches or other “house” brands. These brands are quite good and I use them myself. Arches is the Mercedes Benz of watercolor paper, so of course it is expensive but it takes pigments beautifully. Consider buying it if you are a more advanced artist.

I suggest you buy one 9 x 12” pad, nothing smaller than that, to do color studies and ‘warm-ups.’ You may have individual sheets of watercolor paper you wish to use as well. Some artists like to work larger on individual sheets. I also suggest you buy 1 or 2 postcard watercolor pads to do quick, fun little studies. Don’t buy ‘all purpose’ pads, only buy watercolor pads.

Buy watercolor brush sets or individual brushes. Sets run from about $7-25 for starters. Good brushes aren’t cheap. Don’t buy only small brushes; you should have a round #10 or #12 to use. Also, buy 1-2 large bamboo brushes, about $3 ea.

several cloth rags (not paper towels), small cups, plastic watercolor palette (Richeson, Aqua Pro or Robert Wood) plus any crayons, oil pastels or watercolor pencils you may have on hand. $1.50-15 per item. Buy these supplies at Dick Blick, Michael’s or online at Dick Blick, Daniel Smith, Artists Supply Warehouse or Cheap Joe’s.

I absolutely love teaching watercolors so plan on learning a lot and having a great time at the Edward A. Dixon Gallery. See you there.

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