Watercolorist visits Kaua‘i for series of classes

Watercolorist Kathy Kovala is on the island for two months, and is offering a series of watercolor classes starting next Friday at 9 a.m.

The Midwest native has been visiting once a year, every year, for the past seven.

“I’m dedicated to this island,” Kovala said. “Every time I come I teach in the different areas of the island so my students don’t have to travel far to me.” There are fees for the classes.

She said her teaching techniques have been called “innovative,” in that she masks off parts of the canvas, and then wets the unmasked parts.

“I’ve kind of simplified (the process) so students can learn quickly and get a lot out of (the class),” she said. “Most people watercolor like a coloring book, where they have the lines and they color them in. But I wet the canvas first, then I drop the paint with a brush.” She said she will be teaching what she calls the “rock ‘n’ roll” method of watercolor painting. She said she gets good color with that method, because she lets the water do the work.

“I get good shading and blending, because when you rock ‘n’ roll the paint (on top of the canvas) the water does it for you,” she said.

This is a new technique she is bringing to her classes this year. Last year, Kovala’s main technique was the “throw” method, where you just throw or flick the paint onto the canvas.

“Every year I try to bring something new,” she said.

Kovala is a self-taught artist who started painting with oils in 1959. She taught art at the Nicolet College in Wisconsin for 23 years, and has won numerous state art awards there.

She started dabbling in watercolors in 1990, she said.

Her classes will be held on various parts of the island, starting in Lihu‘e next week. Her favorite things to paint are landscapes and flowers, so it seems almost appropriate that the last series of classes, in March, will be taught at the National Tropical Botanical Garden at Lawa‘i Kai.

For more specific details on where each class session will be held, visit her Web site, www.kathykovala.com, or contact her at punkin@kathykovala.com.

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