It was an honor to attend fine artist, Nick Runge‘s Watercolor Painting from a Photograph & Still Life Workshop! Thanks so much to my boss, Linda Wehrli, Founder/Instructor at Pastimes for a Lifetime for purchasing the ticket as part of the school’s employee perks program!

I learned so much about watercolor painting, a medium that I have been recently teaching myself. The Saturday, September 9, 2017 workshop was held from 10am – 2pm at the beautiful _Lo Hausu studio in Eagle Rock. It was hosted by the art organization, NOH / Wave.

The first half of the workshop focused on painting from a photo reference (portrait). Nick revealed the choices he makes, intuition, and chances taken while painting a portrait from a photo using watercolors. He explained that his style came from comics and movie posters! He describes his work as a “caricature of colors” and “impressionistic.” Beautiful! 

Nick’s first approach is lightly sketching the subject with a 6H pencil. This painting was done on hot press paper with Daniel Smith paints. He used one Da Vinci no. 4 brush, for the entire painting! Amazing.

He starts painting where there is most contrast, then works light to dark. For example, in this portrait, the highest contrast was the corner where the eye socket and nose meet. Leaving areas unpainted, Nick rarely uses white paint, as it can add a blue tone. I found it interesting how he usually leaves out the pupil in the eye, as it can make the painting look too much like a photograph. Here are some photos of my portrait for the day.

After a 30-minute lunch break, we dove right into the second half of the demo: painting still life with natural lighting. Nick started off by explaining how he prefers to compose a still life with outdoor lighting. Using the techniques learned in the previous demo, we were able to capture the subject, but in an outdoor context.

Nick is influenced by fine artists, Nathan Fowkes and Benjamin Bjorklund. I had never heard of Fowkes before, but I love Bjorklund’s work! It was such an inspiring day and it encouraged me to continue studying watercolor and portraits! Thank you, Nick Runge & NOH/Wave for hosting this event!

To learn more about Nick Runge, please visit his website and Instagram page. Don’t miss out on NOH / Wave’s art workshops! Subscribe to their workshop alerts here.
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