This event has passed

Watercolor Challenge #2 with Sally Quillin: On-line at No Charge

June 18, 2020 10:30 am
June 18, 2020 12:00 pm
1740 Calle De Mercado Suites B & D, Las Cruces NM 88005   View map


13 in stock


This event has passed

7 Has Sold


Welcome! This is the second of Sally Quillin’s watercolor challenges.  The first one in May was very well-received by twelve watercolor students who completed a painting challenge of a door, submitted a photo, then attended a ZOOM critique session with Sally.  Please sign up below!  There is no charge.  The Arts Council and Sally Quillin are collaborating on these challenges with hope that you stay safe, healthy, and inspired to be creative during this COVID-19 shutdown.  I hope you join us!

Level:  For beginning to intermediate artists with some painting experience.

Cost:  $0  online workshop courtesy of Sally Quillin and the Dona Ana Arts Council

Students are encouraged to create the painting outlined by Sally Quillin, below,  then attend a Zoom on-line class on June 18, 2020 from 10:30 – 12 noon where Sally will view each student’s painting and offer a critique.  We will also create an on-line gallery of the workshop exercise for the public to view.

Send a photo of your finished painting to BOTH and  Pre-registration required to receive a Zoom invitation for the June 18th 10:30 a.m. review.

thank you, Kathleen Albers, Dona Ana Arts Council


From Sally Quillin, Las Cruces teaching artist and professional artist who is offering this workshop:

Watercolor Mountain with Cactus Exercise

Hi everybody! Hope you had as much fun with our first Challenge..The Door and the I did.  Were you inspired to paint a few paintings? Are you ready for another challenge? Even if some of you did not participate in the first one, we are hoping to entice you into trying Challenge #2. The painting is  the Dona Ana Mountains in the background with a blooming pear cactus in front. Remember this is not a contest…no experience required. This is just a fun way to explore our creative side, try new things and escape into the magical world of painting where there are no dragons to slay only a chance to relax and play.  The directions I give are just suggestions…feel free to let your imagination run wild.  You may want to paint several paintings using different colors or making one horizontal and one vertical.  After you have finished painting, take a picture of your work on your phone and send it to Kathleen.  We will get together on zoom and share and discuss our paintings. See you soon!


Paint…use what you have…the colors I used were ultramarine blue (cool blue), cerulean blue(warm blue), yellow ochre, a bright yellow,  cadmium red light, burnt sienna…I mixed my greens but if you have some in a tube feel free to use that

2 brushes…1 small round, 1 medium round or flat

Sharpie ultrafine pen…or other pen with permanent ink

4×6 watercolor paper or larger

Palette or paper plate

Paper towels, pencil, water bucket


Color Mixing

  1. Sky…If you notice I used 2 blues for the sky..a cool one(ultramarine) and a warm one(cerulean or manganese). I did not mix them on the palatte however you can see that they mixed together abit on the dampened paper.


  1. Mountains…the first wash which is very light was a mixture of ultramarine and burnt sienna. The shadows added after the first layer dried is a darker version of the same mixture.


  1. Cactus…prickly pear cactus tends to be almost blue green. For the first wash I mixed cerulean blue with yellow ochre. When dry I broke it up with 2 mixtures…a darker version of cerulean blue and yellow ochre and a mixture of cerulean blue and a touch of burnt sienna.


Painting Instructions

  1. Drawing…notice that the top line of the mountains begins a little above the halfway mark of the paper. You want to avoid a strong line in the middle of your picture…it tends to make it look like the picture is cut in half. The bottom of the mountains come a little below halfway for the same reason. Also notice some of the prickly pear overlaps the mountains…helps to create perspective. The pads are different sizes going every which way. Flowers are basically scribbles. Draw lightly with your pencil…you want the paint to cover most of your lines…the only thing inked is the cactus.


2.  Sky…dampen the sky area…mix ultramarine blue with water and apply to the 2 top corners of the sky pulling it down quickly… add a wash of cerulean blue letting the 2 colors blend together somewhat. Leave plenty of white for the clouds…if necessary, gently take a Kleenex and blot in cloud shapes. Add the barest hint of yellow ochre in the clouds right above the mountains…adds sunshine to the sky.

3.  Desert floor…leave paper dry…make a wash of yellow ochre over the desert floor not forgetting bits of it you can see through the cactus. Dry. Add burnt sienna for value contrast. Keep colors light.

4.  Mountains…mix very light gray wash of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue…paint over mountains. Dry. For shadows, add darker value of the same mixture. Dry. Add a little yellow ochre or burnt sienna for interest. Or you could ignore all I just said and decide you want purple or blue mountains.

  1. Cactus…check color mixing hints on prior page. Paint a light blue green wash over all the pads. Dry. Darken areas with several different values of green separating out the pads…play light areas against dark to separate them. I just read prickly pear cactus flowers come in red, yellow or purple. I have also seen kind of a peachy color. Your choice… And lastly, I used a pen to outline the cactus to pop them forward.

Painting Tips

Sally Quillin’s June 2020 watercolor challenge

The key and the challenge to this painting is that it is very, very light in value. This is accomplished by using washes that are mixed with quite abit of water…sometimes having more water than color…which I must say is a challenge to me. Have a practice sheet of paper beside you and practice mixing different values of color which are controlled by the amount of water you use…also be sure to always use clean water when mixing…very important. I use 2 containers of water…1 for mixing and 1 for brush cleaning.

This is basically a painting of washes. Dry between layers….you can use a hair dryer or work around the painting allowing parts to air dry.

Do you remember the rule to go into a part of a painting 3 times and hopefully you won’t go in more than 5 or 6? Particularly true here….it can get overworked. Paint the washes quickly with a light touch.

Try to make the cactus a little darker than the rest of the painting to bring it forward.

Good luck and have fun!!!!