MARCH 2017

Charlotte Laxen – “My Signature Approach”

Watercolor on Canvas


Charlotte Laxen 06Charlotte Laxen began her presentation by showing a painting from her very first watercolor class – a garden scene on student-grade Strathmore paper. In that class she learned that “to paint white, I needed to paint around the area I wanted to remain white.” She still has the brush she used, a flat that she bought for $25. At the end of the class, since she didn’t want to part with a painting she liked, she submitted another one which earned her a C.

She loves to tell beginning students about her own early years as a farm girl from southern Minnesota who ended up teaching classes in Monet’s garden in Giverny, France! Charlotte Laxen 02

Charlotte simplifies her paintings by reminding herself to “decide the story and leave everything else out.”

In 2014, Charlotte discovered a canvas that accepts all types of wet media and began experimenting on it with watercolor. She loves the vivid color and spontaneity that this canvas allows, “a little like hot press paper, only better!” The canvas, “Yes,” can be purchased at Jerry’s Artarama.

Charlotte began her demo by drawing poppies on a large canvas with her script brush and yellow ochre. She was using several photos of poppies as a reference. She then painted in the shapes with various red hues including vermilion and quinacridone magenta.

As an “intuitive painter,” she moved around the canvas placing shapes large and small where needed. Soon there were poppy buds, spent flowers and delicate stems – all creating a pleasing design with positive and negative spaces. Charlotte Laxen 10Charlotte Laxen 09

When the painting is near completion, Charlotte will look at it critically in low light and bright light.

If she is satisfied with the painting she will spray it with UV archival matte varnish, giving it 5 coats and being careful to wear a mask and do the spraying outside.

Charlotte Laxen’s gentle demeanor belies a talent that deserves the accolades she has earned over the years including the invitation to teach in Monet’s gardens.

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