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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Falling in Love With Watercolor: Learn the benefits of painting with watercolor from master artist and teacher Allura Westly.

May 31, 2017 08:57AM ● By James Westly

Having been an oil painter and a pastel artist while dabbling in acrylics, Allura Westly, a master watercolor artist and watercolor teacher, chose watercolors for her life path as an artist. Watercolors, with their transparency, glazing and lifting abilities, allow the artist time for changes that help create emotion and drama more than any other medium she ever worked with. In addition, water is an elemental and has its own creative properties, allowing the skilled artist to engage it in a co-creative process. She says it is the closest thing to real magic she has ever encountered, “Allowing body movements to be guided by a veil of spiritually created fantasy is an indescribable, self-transcendent experience.”

There was a time when artists were afraid of the problems connected with watercolors. The word they used was "unforgiving". Once a brush stroke is laid down, it was considered to be irretrievable. Our civilization is undergoing a technological revolution that includes materials and techniques making the medium much more flexible, opening up new possibilities.

Having been an artist and art teacher for more than 25 years, the materials and techniques Westly uses have evolved with the technology. Watercolors have developed way beyond the basic seven-color mixing strategy originally developed by the old masters. Westly paints with more than 150 colors. She says, “The old way is too limited, making it impossible to replicate colors day after day. If you have ever dreamed of being an artist, falling in love with watercolors will bring a magical transparency and a flow into your life like nothing you have ever experienced before. Its luminosity and spontaneity are beguiling and fascinating.”

Painting in watercolors is also therapeutic. “It offers the opportunity for emotional release,” notes Westly. “Some pieces turn out to be cathartic; an inner barrier bursts, flooding the piece with some dark emotion you've been seeking freedom from, while others express amazing beauty and you frame them for your wall. Begin with a meditative exercise that clears away our monkey mind, evoking inner stillness.

See her work at For classes or private lessons, call 602-469-0524 or email [email protected].

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