December 2017 Demonstration

Our demonstrator for December was Dustan Knight, who demonstrated her watercolor floral technique.

The meeting was held in the Guild Hall, First Congregational Church (middle side door), Sanborn Street, Reading, Wednesday December 13th, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

We have some photographs of the event in case you could not make it there in person.


We put up the mirror since Dustan works with the painting flat
on the table, and the mirror allows the audience to see what she is doing.


Dustan shared her story about how she wrote a book.
The title is "Painting the Impressionistic Landscape".
The book is available from Amazon.com®* and BarnesAndNoble.com®*.


She uses hot pressed watercolor paper because of the way it
absorbs the water and allows the paint to flow.
She started by wetting the paper using a "Hair Dresser Spray Bottle".
The bottle provides a continuous, fine mist spray.


Dustan started with yellow, using wet-in-wet to allow the paint to flow.


She gradually added darker colors.


While the paint was still wet, she applied Saran Wrap®* to make textures.


The Saran Wrap is stretched and crinkled, then pressed into the paint.
After the plastic was put in place, the painting was set aside to dry.

Next Painting

To avoid the long drying time, Dustan brought out another painting that was already dry.
You can see that the Saran Wrap is still in place on the dry painting.
To tell whether the painting is dry, blow on the Saran Wrap.
If the painting is dry, you can blow the Saran Wrap off the surface.


At this point, Dustan started painting using more saturated colors.
She was using analogous colors in the flowers, but letting them flow.
The paint flows inside of each flower, but not between the flowers.


When the paint was partially dry, she dropped water into it to create
a "runback", which is also called a "blossom". The water creates a higher
key highlight in the paint, which you can see in the red flowers in the upper left.


Once again, to avoid a long drying time, Dustan swapped out the painting for one that is dry.


Here is the next painting in the demo.


Darker accents were added to the painting to improve the flower images.

Vertical Brush

When painting the smaller details, Dustan uses a smaller brush,
and holds it vertically to provide better control of the brush strokes.


At this stage, she makes calligraphic marks on the painting to define the flowers.


This time, to speed up the drying, she resorted to using a hair drier.


The final stage is done using drawing ink. She used PELIKAN Drawing Ink, Black®*


She applies the ink to the painting directly from the bottle.


This is the finished painting.


Rather than framing the painting under glass, Dustan mounts it onto a
wooden panel made by Ampersand®*. She uses gel medium to glue down the paper.
After mounting the painting to the panel, she varnishes it to protect the paint.

This was a fun demonstration. Our thanks go out to Dustan Knight for a great evening and an entertaining look at how she paints her floral watercolors.

*The product reference is not an endorsement of this product by RAA. Often an artist will reference a particular brand or product that they use. Publishing the statement made by the artist is not to be construed as an endorsement of the product by the Reading Art Association. It is meant to provide information to our readers that will aid them should they want to try this technique.

You can see some of Dustan's work on her web site: dustanknight.com

Dustan Knight's Bio

Dustan Knight is a professional artist (MFA / Pratt Institute & MA / Boston University in Art History.)

Dustan paints flamboyant watercolor florals, which begin as very abstract shapes. Her paintings are loose impressions of her feelings and perceptions of nature, and yet they are definitely floral compositions. Most images are developed on site in her garden or around her island home and transformed in the studio to large scale, intensely colored semi abstract paintings. Lyrical movement and elegant composition are a signature of Dustan's artwork.

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Last updated December 14, 2017