Gaining Control

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Students are led through a step-by-step process of creating a watercolor painting each week. The instructor stresses the thinking behind what is being done and the reasons for doing things in a proper sequence. Students concentrate on seeing and controlling values, arriving at a simple subject and solve the same problems, with room for freedom of style in color choices, etc. The class is designed for those who wish to gain control over the medium of watercolor.

Instructor Biography:

A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Steve Zazenski has been a full-time artist since 1978. He is known for his watercolor landscapes of New England, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. He has won numerous awards for his paintings from the New Jersey Watercolor Society, the Garden State Watercolor Society, the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, Rockport Art Association, and local shows in the metro area.

His work is included in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress. His work has also been exhibited in the Bergen Museum, the Montclair Museum, Nabisco World Headquarters, Sardis Restaurant, and the Salmagundi Club.

His series of lithographs depicting nostalgic scenes of his native Bayonne are very popular and have been used on the TV shows, “Growing Pains” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Required Supplies (Students Are Responsible for Purchasing These Supplies)

Students can use whatever brands they are comfortable using. However, each student must have:

  • Decent quality watercolor paper (1 or 2 sheets) or block size (personal choice) (Arches 140 lb. cold-pressed paper is good – large sheets can be cut into quarters)
  • A watercolor palette for mixing paint – John Pike style is recommended (with wells and cover (just be sure the one you choose has a well and a mixing area).
  • Decent quality watercolor brushes in whatever size you are comfortable with

Brushes: Rounds: #2, 4 and/or 6, 8, 10
Flat brush for wash – 1" to 1½"

  • A container for water (plastic containers from the deli are good)
  • Backing for your watercolor paper, slightly larger than the paper size (ie. masonite, drawing board, gatorboard, homosote, Formica) and masking tape (1")
  • Paper towels
  • Paints suggested for those who are new to watercolor or who want to add to the colors they already have:
    • Watercolor paints: tubes – Winsor & Newton brand either professional or the student grade (Cotman) –either is fine. Suggested colors:
      • Ultramarine Blue (French Ultramarine)
      • Cerulean Blue
      • Gold Ochre
      • Raw Umber Violet (available from Daniel Smith brand or American
      • Journey brand from Cheap Joe's)
      • Cadmium green pale (Holbein brand)
      • Perylene green  (Windsor& Newton) 
      • Opera Rose
      • Cadmium Red
      • Cadmium Yellow
      • Alizarin Crimson

Instructor Note: You need not buy all these if you already have a bunch of colors. I can give you alternatives as we paint to get similar mixes, I would, however, recommend getting the two blues mentioned as I use them quite a bit. If you have any specific questions about the materials, email me at