Fluvanna Art Association

July-August 2017 Newsletter

The Fluvanna Art Association News is published bi-monthly and is written and edited by Page H. Gifford.

Ten Mistakes of Watercolor

1.Using paint from pans – use tubes you may waste a little, but you will have more control of your color.

2. Buying a ready-made set of colors – you are bound to get colors which you will never use or use only rarely, for example Vermillion.

3. Using too many colors in the painting – 4 should be the maximum.

4. Not using enough darks – there should be at least 5 tonal differences – your darks should be dark and the lights light.

5. Beginning with a brush that is too small – small brushes are only used at the end for fine details.

6. Using the same brush mark for the whole painting – painting will lack interest.

7. Using a paper that is too light- 300 lb. is more expensive but it won’t cockle when it gets wet.

8. Over liberal use of masking fluid – it will be obvious on your resulting painting.

9. Not knowing when to stop – don’t overwork – better to work on several paintings at the same time, put one aside and think about it.

10. Buying a lot of expensive equipment – we all think that it will automatically improve our painting but unfortunately it won’t.

Artist Jennifer Branch adds a few more of her own including the following:

Not leaving enough white areas on the paper. White areas break up big washes and add interest.

Too much detail in the Beginning. “If you’re painting tiny details at the beginning of a painting you’re not thinking about the big shapes and value patterns in the painting,” she said. She adds this also throws the proportions off when you start with details rather than the “big picture.”

Avoid working strictly in the middle of a picture, decide if it’s a sketch or a composition.

Lastly, always use clean water.

Every artist does things differently and has their own pet peeves but most will agree with these beginner mistakes in watercolor. For more details regarding Jennifer Branch’s five mistakes visit her website and watch her You Tube video. Also, Google watercolor lessons, You Tube tutorials, tips and more.

Pen and Ink

Pen and Ink

Creative Corner

When I was studying fashion design and illustration one of the mediums we often used other than watercolor was pen and ink and for gray washes you would add a drop of water and it would flow like watercolor.

Pen and ink washes are a great way to practice your value scale, lights and darks. Take a sheet of watercolor paper, a little black ink and loosely create your subject in a gray wash then add your lights and darks. You can use a pen for detail. I still use a variety of pens, including those with removable nibs, a rapidograph and Microns.

This helps you to watch your values, shadows and light sources. Black and white is not the worst thing in the world and will teach you to see values so much better and eventually master color.

Artist’s Spotlight: A Blast from The Past: Janet Rugari and Lyndsay Nolting

Ten years ago I interviewed former president Janet Rugari and here is the interview from my Fluvanna Review archives. Following is a story on workshop taught by original FAA member Lyndsay Nolting.

A Visit With the Local Art Club’s President

By Page H. Gifford

Lake Monticello resident Janet Rugari has been interested in art since she was old enough to hold a crayon. She took every art class available in high school but did not pursue art in college.

She didn’t do much in the field of art for the next 30 years other than projects with her children and doing complex designs and drawings for her husband’s silk screening business.

She returned to painting after retiring and moving to Lake Monticello in 1996. After suffering three herniated discs in her neck in the space of five years, Rugari went back to painting as a form of physical therapy. She took Bob Ross’ “wet on wet” classes with Ed Gowen at the Lake Monticello firehouse.

“I paint because it gives me a great feeling of satisfaction when I create something that pleases me and an even greater sense of well being when something I have created pleases someone else,” she said.

Janet has been painting with local artist Dixie Harden using Genesis paints, the newest innovation in oil painting. These paints will stay wet until the artist dries them with a hair dryer or bakes them in the oven. Rugari likes the lack of preparation of these oils and says they are less toxic than traditional oils.

One goal of Rugari’s is to learn more about portrait painting. She took a six-week course in classical portraiture with Sean Flaherty where she learned to paint portraits in the style of the Old Masters. Despite the classes and instruction, Rugari admits she is selftaught through experimentation and using videos and books found at the county library.

Rugari has broadened the mediums she uses in her artwork to include watercolor and scratch art. “The medium didn’t really matter to me as long as I could create something. I’m willing to try any medium at least once to see what it’s like. I usually come back to oils because I like the versatility of the medium.”

Rugari became interested in scratch art after a Fluvanna Art Association workshop.“I find this medium very satisfying as an art form. You can make it as simple or as complex as you want.”

Currently Janet is working on a floral scratch art piece to enter in the Fluvanna Art Association’s annual show in November. She has finished a piece that she is entering in the Heritage Trail Show in October. After that, she will be working on a sketch on canvas that she hopes will be a memorial tribute in oil to her husband’s recently deceased sister.

Janet’s subjects vary widely. “I love children, animals and flowers and these are reflected in the majority of my work,” she said. Her attention to detail makes her paintings appear realistic.

Rugari has been a member of the Fluvanna Art Association for seven years. As its current president, she has tried to get more members actively involved. Activities have included the spring show, annual open air painting trip, and more workshops.

The Subject Was Melons

By Page H. Gifford

Artist and Fork Union Military Academy art teacher Lindsay Nolting did an impromptu acrylic painting workshop for members of the Fluvanna Arts Association on July 13.

“Nothing prissy,” Nolting said, laughing about her subject.

The subject was a still life of cantaloupes, Crenshaw melons, and watermelons arranged so artists could capture their lush inner cores of bright pinks, pale oranges and their rounded angles.

Novice artists found this a difficult task. An outline was all most could master. They looked stymied at how to approach their summertime subject. The subject was a challenge. Some gave up and chose another subject to paint.

Nolting left her own canvas to stroll among the students and give them hints. She tells one hesitant student to look at the fruit in a different way and forget they are melons and focus in on the shapes and negative space.

As the class progressed, each student attacked the subject in a different way, from broad brushstrokes to analytical details. Long-time artist Patty Stoughton, who because of failing eyesight is no longer able to see the subjects she paints, was determined not to let her infirmity get in the way of her love of painting. She painted a fish from memory. Stoughton recalled all the angles and details and recreated an amazing piece of art.


Donations needed! If you have art supplies you no longer use or want, please donate them to the Fluvanna Art Association tag sale on July 29, a.m.-12 noon at the Fluvanna County Library. Drop off donations at the library between a.m.-12 noon on Friday, July 28. All proceeds will benefit the Fluvanna County High School and Middle school art departments.

Upcoming workshops

Friday, July 21, 9:30 a.m. William Snow will discuss and demonstrate atmosphere in watercolor painting. Friday, August 18, 9:30 a.m. Amy Shawley, representative for Golden Products will discuss printmaking.

For those interested in the newly formed Plein air Group contact Lorraine Momper if interested.

Check out exhibits in Charlottesville, Louisa Arts Center, and Richmond. Visiting museums, galleries and art centers and seeing what fellow artists are creating is a great way to get in touch with what is going on in our area and can inspire and generate ideas and experimentation.

Some of My Favorite Artists


August 11th, 2017 | Categorized: newsletter