Keiko Tanabe, AWS, NWS, AIS, LPAPA. Often working en plein air, her atmospheric watercolors
perfectly capture a sense of time and place. Through her use of color, textures, and signature
brushwork, Keiko’s landscapes and cityscapes, beautifully convey both the exotic and the simple
scenes of the many places she travels. Never attending art school, Keiko took only one drawing
class to learn basic technical skills before she started painting in 2005.
One year later, after learning basic drawing and watercolor painting skills at a local community
school in San Diego, Keiko decided to paint full-time. From then on, she intensely taught herself to
be fluent in watercolor painting, just as one would do to master a foreign language. Her subjects
include landscape, cityscape, waterscape and interior scenes, which will be demonstrated in the
workshop, using representational and impressionistic compositions. Since 2011, Keiko has
completed successfully numerous workshops and live demonstrations around the world. She has 4
DVDs and several books of her art and has been featured in many art magazines.
This workshop is designed for those who would like to gain a better understanding of methods and
techniques to make a watercolor painting that is simple yet strong. The goal is to capture the
essence of the subject that conveys a certain mood and atmosphere. The process of simplification
begins with visualization. In representational art, this ability to see the end result of a painting,
through the mind’s eye, is instrumental in realizing an artist’s vision. The ability to do so and quickly
is especially useful when painting en plein air but it is also quite helpful even when one paints from
a photo. Through various exercises and step-by-step demonstrations, Keiko will show you how to
take the initial inspiration, through the simplification process, to an expressive painting that is strong
in composition and content.
Subject matters include landscape, cityscape, waterscape and/or interior, which will be
demonstrated in a manner that is more representational and impressionistic rather than abstract.
The introduction focuses on the fundamentals including getting to know our materials and seeing
things with an artist’s eye. The areas of topic covered in this workshop include: a preliminary
drawing and composition, a variety of techniques in paint application and brush handling, what
makes a good design, understanding of relationship of dark and light values, planning & intuition,
and how to edit complex visual information.
We will paint different subject(s) every day. Each day there will be a small exercise which will then
be applied to a painting later in the day.
There will be plenty of one-on-one guidance and a question-and-answer session on a daily basis.
A class critique may be conducted at the end.
3-day Course Description (Example):
Day 1 – AM: Introduction. First demo (emphasis on tonal values and core techniques). I will start
with a value sketch of a subject of my choice. Students paint from the same reference. Individual
guidance follows. Lunch. PM: Second demo will be a more complex version of the morning
painting. One-on-one instruction follows when students paint.
Day 2 – AM: Review of Day 1. First demo (focus on colors and edges). Students paint from my
demo with my individual guidance. Lunch. PM: Second demo will be a more complex version of the
morning painting. One-on-one instruction follows when students paint.
Day 3 – AM: Review of Day 2. First demo (emphasis on design and emotional content) followed by
individual guidance when students paint. Lunch. PM: Second demo will be a review of everything
learned. Group viewing and critique at the end.
(This is a recommendation, not a requirement.)
- Paints: professional quality brands. My basic palette consists of cobalt blue, phthalo blue, alizarin crimson,
orange, cadmium red, burnt sienna, raw sienna, quinacridone gold, lemon yellow, Dioxazine purple, viridian,
turquoise, transparent brown, titanium white. Feel free to bring your own favorites, too. Include one suitable for a
monochromatic painting such as neutral tint, gray, sepia.
- Palette: any kind. Plenty of mixing areas will be useful.
- Brushes: Large brushes for a wash such as Raphael Softaqua (#6 or 8), Isabey natural hair mop (#8), Escoda
Ultimo (#12 or larger) or something similar. Medium-sized rounds such as Raphael kolinsky 8494, Escoda
Ultimo/Versatil or something similar. Brushes for details such as Raphael Precision, Escoda Perla (up to #14) or
something similar. Other brushes useful: liner, rigger, dagger, flat (hake), Oriental brush, etc.
- Paper: rough or cold-pressed; 140Lb (300gm) or heavier; cotton, professional quality such as Fabriano Artistico,
Arches and Saunders/Waterford. Please plan on using 2 sheets per day.
- Paper Size: 12” x 16”, 14” x 20” or half sheet (15” x 22”) recommended
- Others (required): Drawing board, gatorboard, foamcore or anything that supports paper (If you use a block, this
will not be necessary.), masking tape, clips, or staplers to secure paper to the board, Pencil & eraser, Sketchbook or
drawing pad for thumbnail sketches and small studies, Container for washing brushes, towels or sponge