The Art of
Each time as I portray a bit of the natural world I am again amazed at the gradual way in which its form and beauty come to notice.
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The delicacy of watercolour allows me to portray what I see up close. Most of the subjects I paint in watercolour are things I can hold in my hand. Fine details can be drawn with the brush as well as soft luminosity painted with a wash, and the combination of both in watercolour allow me to express my love of the colours of light and my passion for infinite intricacy.
I seldom work from photographic reference because I crave the depth of information that three-dimensional subjects can give, and the communion with nature, the shared experience that I feel with the plant, the shell, the stone, or the bird in hand.
My paper is Arches 90lb hot press, which I wet and stretch over a wooden frame when I use pieces larger than 10 cm. I draw with soft pencil and erase only with an abrasive-free kneaded eraser manufactured as a bulletin board adhesive called "Holdit". I squeeze small amounts of Windsor&Newton transparent watercolour from tubes into a small hinged plastic palette. Distilled water allows the pigment to flow more freely than tap water or spring water which contain minerals which cause pigment particles to clump and precipitate. My washes are both wet on dry, and wet on wet, and much of my detailed work is almost dry-brush over wash. I find that Raphael sable brushes point perfectly and consistently for me so that I don't have to struggle to paint detail almost too fine to see.
Drifted paintings by Aleta Karstad
illustrated nature journals
by Aleta Karstad
Winter Refuge" 1999
portrait of young female Fisher 26 Feb 1998