• Upcoming Events

    The Basics of Watercolor Painting

    Tuesday July 27, 2021, 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m

    This workshop, to be taught by Sonja Forster, will be the second of four being held from June through September that pays tribute to talented local artists who enjoy sharing their mediums with others. It will be held in Casanova on the grounds of historic Weston. The fee is $75 with proceeds going to support the design of an art and education center at the site of the former Casanova Hunt Kennels at Weston.



    To register and for more information, please call 540.229.0114. The deadline for registering is Wednesday July 21.


    WAS is a non-profit 501 c3 organization whose mission is to preserve, interpret, and share educational resources related to local artistic, agricultural, community and family histories.

    Course Description:


    This workshop, limited to 12 participants, will focus on learning and practicing the basics of watercolor painting. Techniques to be covered include wet in wet, using wet paper with a wet brush and adding pigment; dry brush strokes, applied after adding the lightest layer using more pigment and less water; and the how and when of color layering. By the end of the session, participants will know options for selecting the right paper, what equipment is necessary, what different brushes do and how to hold and use them for different outcomes, and how to think about planning a watercolor composition. After sharing the basics in the first hour, the instructor will provide guidance and feedback on using these techniques to create and complete a painting.


    Supplies Participants Should Bring:

    1. Good quality (ex. Princeton) short-handled, round brushes sizes 16, 12, and 2
    2. Watercolor tubes (ex. Winsor & Newton, Cotman) Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna,
      Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, and Cadmium Red
    3. Good quality (ex. Canson, Strathmore) watercolor paper pad cold-pressed, 11x15
    4. Beige painter’s tape for securing watercolor paper to clipboard
    5. Clipboard large enough for securing watercolor paper onto it
    6. One large dinner plate (not plastic or paper) to use as a palette
    The above listed materials are available on line at Cheap Joe's or Blick's. Generally, guaranteed delivery is from 7 to 9 days. Some or all supplies may be found at local craft stores such as Michael's.

    Sonja Forster, Vint Hill Artist

    South African Native, to Share Basic Techniques

    "Painting offers me peace and a place to meditate on the beauty of nature and what the world has to offer.”

    Local artist Sonja Forster grew up on a farm in South Africa, drawing the native plants and animals around her and dedicating herself to developing skills in watercolor, acrylic, gouache and oil. Her interest in an open and realistic painting style along with an unrestricted palette of color was strongly influenced by the great diversity of African culture. Her close interaction with nature shaped her remarkable powers of intimate observation.


    Like her father who moved to South Africa from Germany to be closer to nature, Sonja’s passions included the important work of environmental conservation as well as drawing and painting the natural world.

    At the age of 18, imaging a career helping endangered species and local habitat, she began a nature conservation degree only to find herself chair-bound a year later after a serious car accident. Instead of feeding her disappointment, Sonja began a renewed interest in drawing and painting and, while completing her degree, began studying with accomplished artists in a range of mediums.


    Once back on her feet, Sonja began traveling throughout Africa and, with her engineer husband, moved to England where she continued drawing and painting as a means of relaxing from her busy life as the mother of two girls. After 3 years, the family relocated back to South Africa where Sonja established a studio and gallery in the artist town of Hartbeespoort. Six years ago Sonja and her family moved to the United States.

    Today, Sonja has a successful career as an artist and teacher with her studio located in the Vint Hill area of Fauquier County. True to her roots, Sonja remains passionate about land and animals as well as the lifting, blending and layering of color and brush strokes. Bringing people together to learn these basics is her way of honoring a love of nature, the joy she’s found in her art work and the importance of helping to build a sense of community in her new home.


    According to Sonja, learning to paint doesn’t have to be complicated. With some basic techniques anyone can quickly find long moments of happiness. “Painting offers me peace and a place to meditate on the beauty of nature and what the world has to offer” she says.