John Salminen workshop- Watercolor Society of North Carolina

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a workshop taught by John Salminen– one of the best watercolorists in the world.  His solo exhibitions and awards speak for the impact and popularity of his watercolor paintings

The workshop was in conjunction with  WSNC (Watercolor Society of North Carolina). John was the juror for the 67th Annual Exhibition at the Arts of the Albemarle in beautiful Elizabeth City, NC.

A slideshow of the exhibition can be viewed here.

I luckily, had a painting accepted into the watercolor show.  This year,  two of my favorite watercolor artists accepted my work into national shows- John Salminen, and Paul Jackson.

That should make me feel accomplished, right?

Well, after watching John demo a watercolor painting, I felt the opposite.

I was schooled.

It was great.

John Salminen watercolor workshop


John Salminen watercolor demonstration


As you can see above, John created a painting based on a value sketch in his sketchbook.

Unlike many watecolor artists, John creates a hi-contrast painting with a broad range of darks and lights.   Just look at his website for further examples.

His watercolors, when viewed from a distance, look like acrylic or oil paintings.  Watercolor is a medium known for it’s, unfortunately, sketching capabilities.   While oil and acrylic command higher prices in galleries, watercolor lags behind.

Intriguing, since watercolor is one of the most difficult painting mediums to master.

Detail of John Salminen giclee close-up

Internet photographs of John’s work do not do his paintings justice.  This is a detail shot of a giclee fine art proof showing how John creates representational shapes out of abstracted shapes.

Detail of John Salminen giclee close-up 2


John Salminen giclee close-up 3


John composes his pieces with a strong sense of values, color, and off-the-wall painting instruments such as the mouth atomizer, & Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  It’s not my place to tell you how he uses them- but they work.

John’s wife, Kathy,  so graciously captured this photo of John and I on the last day of the workshop.

John’s work can be viewed on his website and he offers instructional videos at ccp://

Additionally, another great NC painter Eng Pua added a link to the workshop via his blog.  Eng was kind enough to take photographs of the attendees’ paintings during the final critique.  Those images can be viewed here.

I’m still working on my painting- should be done next year 🙂


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