The beauty of watercolour painting and its expressive nature 

Landscape artist Zoe Evamy offers Art on the Lake workshops on Aug. 8 and 9.

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Light and shade Artist Zoe Evamy (pictured) is offering a course in painting watercolours
  • Photo submitted
  • Light and shade Artist Zoe Evamy (pictured) is offering a course in painting watercolours

For Squamish watercolourist Zoe Evamy, creating an emotional connection in her landscapes of Whistler and the Sea to Sky region is important.

"I've delved more into developing an emotional response to what I am looking at. I've seen that this does reach people, but I think it is exciting," she says.

Evamy uses pastel hues — the usual earth tones but also pinks, blues, yellows and purples — and makes the most of the subtle washes that are part of watercolour painting to depict panoramic mountainsides and forest from a distance, or to look closely as an individual tree.

Evamy says the appeal of watercolour, as opposed to other styles of painting, is its malleability as a medium.

"I've always said that the beauty of watercolour is the expressive nature of it. There are the fundamentals you can learn but once you have those under your belt you can do so much," she says.

"You can sketch outside, or work from photographs. One of my favourite things is to sketch outside bring the drawings back and then develop the drawings with watercolour. I'm not doing a painting; I'm pushing the ideas or changing the colours, developing it as a picture. Those are some of the most successful paintings that I've done."

Her course "Exploring the Colour of Shadows" takes place on Saturday, Aug. 8 and Sunday, Aug. 9 at the Alta Lake Station House.

The workshop will give painters the tools and confidence to explore watercolour and develop their own styles.

Evamy understands the nerves new artists get. She first began painting on a trip to New Mexico from her native U.K., and once she moved to Squamish she joined Visuals, the local community visual arts group.

She recalls her first show: "It was such a fearful thing, to put up a whole a restaurant full of paintings."

Also a professional animator for the past two decades, Evamy's work has appeared in the films Anastasia and Titan A.E. She is currently the studio art director at Bron Studios in Vancouver.

"My work in animation feeds into my painting, but my painting also feeds into my animation. It has been amazing," she says.

This includes the use of light and shade, which leads into Evamy's workshop.

"My workshop is studying the effects of light, the colour of shadows in a landscape. I think it is something that a lot of people struggle with and it's something I am still working on myself," she says.

"Using bold colours, do we see those colours in life? Not necessarily. I remember in some of my earlier paintings people saying, 'that's not my (Stawamus) Chief.' But yes, it is, I had purples and blues. Many people see it as just a grey rock. It's a different way of looking."

Evamy's landscapes have been represented by Mountain Galleries at the Chateau Fairmont Whistler since 2010.

"I was inspired by the artists in there," she says.

The course would be best for people with some experience in watercolour painting, she adds.

"We are going to be doing some location painting and studying outdoors, really capturing the colours. Having the basic fundamentals would help; we're not going to be starting from scratch," she says.

She will show basic example of how highlights look and how shadows fall.

"We've got two days and the best time of day to study light is in the morning or the evening. I want to combine that. Each person is going to end up with a 16"x20" painting, and we'll be working in the Station House, too."

The following program at Art on the Lake is "Painting the Indoors and the Outdoors" on Aug. 20 to 23, led by Gaye Adams.

Starting in September is Fall for Art, also taking place at the Alta Lake Station House.

"Hand Altering Photographs" with Shary Bartlett, takes place on Sept. 17, "From Photo to Fine Art" with Bartlett is on Sept. 18, and "Mixing Media Photo Transfer and Printing on Alternative Surfaces," also with Bartlett, takes place on Sept. 19.

"Painting the Figure and Portrait" with Justin Ogilvie takes place on Sept. 20 and 21, "Experimental Painting Techniques in Acrylics and other Water Media" with Richard McDiarmid takes place on Sept. 22, 23, and 24, and "Creating Dynamic Designs from Photographs by Liz Wiltzen" takes place on Sept. 25, 26, and 27.

To register, visit


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