GUEST ARTIST: “A Thousand Shades Of Feeling” by Pamela Lagrosa

Pamela Lagrosa Original_Dusk Watercolor Painting

Hi, I am Pamela from Davao City, Philippines, and I’m a self-taught watercolorist. Growing up, I have always had this strong affinity to artsy endeavors where I could use my hands and imagination. I came from a typical Filipino family where my parents’ income was just enough so spending on art was more of an indulgence than a necessity. As my dad was a CPA, I followed on and took a finance-related degree. Life was hectic and time for art was sparse. The spark was there but I just didn’t have the energy and resources to take it any further.

15 years after, in 2017, I was where I planned to be in my career. I felt the slow simmer of wanting to do more than just work. I’ve always felt a sense of calm when I paint, and so I decided to pick up a pencil and start drawing again. It was pen and ink sketches initially which progressed into watercolor and ink. And finally, after a year of self study, I managed to establish an online gallery. In just over 12 months, I sold around 15 artworks and that tiny spark was finally set ablaze.

Inspired work_Sergei Kurbatov by Pamela Lagrosa

The beginning wasn’t easy. I was torn between my grueling day job and my extreme desire to just spend all day painting. Like any newbie, I was definitely overwhelmed but the universe of free information lying around is more than enough for anyone to get better (Wetcanvas, youtube). I read books on composition and perspective (Ian Roberts), color theory (Stephen Quiller) and watercolor techniques (Michael Reardon, David Webb). I watched videos of watercolor masters like Alvaro Castagnet, Joseph Zbukvic, Chien Chung Wei, among others. Resource sites such as enterclass.ru and slon.it, tremendoulsy helped me to progress further in watercolor.

Colors

I don’t use cobalts and cadmiums anymore for safety and environmental reasons. I have always loved Daniel Smith and W&N but they’re a bit on the expensive side. Recently, I have discovered below brands which I believe are comparable and more affordable.

  • Holbein (Lots of semi opaque pigments which are beautiful for muted scenes like chien chung wei)
  • Mission Gold (Extremely bright colors, lots of semi staining pigments)
  • Shinhan – PWC (professional) I have not fully used this but the reviews are all positive

My Current Palette

Pamela Lagrosa current palette 2020​St Petersburg/ White Nights – I have been using their fantasy set for a while and I have right now these colors in my palette: Lemon Yellow, Naples, Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, Golden Yellow Deep, Ruby/Claret, Quinacridone Rose/Lilac, Sap Green, Emerald Green, Blue/Bright Blue, Cerulean, Ultramarine, Indigo.

* wild card colors – Lilac and Jaune Brilliant (Holbein, opaque), white gouache (for highlights), Paynes Gray (Winsor & Newton watercolors, for quickly achieving darker tones)

Paper

Brushes

Palettes

Plein Air Set & Studio

I have a portable plein-air kit (tripod and tray) handmade from Indonesia by artist Denny Samawa. For my home studio, I have a self assembled set-up composed of:

Original_Raging Waters Watercolor Pamela Lagrosa

My technical profession taught me that a solid framework is key to excel in any endeavor. I personally don’t believe in “talent.” I believe in grit and resourcefulness to get to anywhere significant. In watercolor, the primary things to understand are: a) color theory b) composition and c) understanding of basic shapes.

My process is both structured and intuitive. First, I choose a specific scene then, I try to grasp the atmosphere and what colors would work best. For example, I use Naples to exhibit early morning light whilst Quinacridone Gold is for sunset scenes. Also, I use at least 2 variants of each primary color, preferably one warm and one cool. Of course, these are relative to the hue you want to dominate in your work. Taking blue as an example, if I can only have two in my palette I’ll have Ultramarine (“warm blue” bias towards purple) and Cerulean/Cobalt for achieving clean skies and beautiful bluish-green waters.

Second, is composition. As I’m a bit of a tech geek, I explored ways to visualize what I want to achieve. Recently, I discovered a neat app called “Sketchbook” where you could recolor and sketch over photos of scenes you want to paint. I use my note 10 to digitally sketch and edit images. Through this, I got better in “simplifying” which for me, is the foundation of a great painting. And the third element which I learned from Zbukvic is answering the question of what makes “IT”, IT? In a scene, details are irrelevant, focusing only on the basic shapes results to a loose and more cohesive painting.

Pamela Lagrosa The bright side boats Watercolor Painting

Lastly, I believe that the only way to get better is to recognize that the race is long, hence humility is key. Venturing into an artistic endeavor requires soul and a genuine desire to showcase your innermost emotions (the reason behind my gallery “thousand shades of feeling”). When I look at each of my works, I feel I’m seeing a part of myself I’ve never seen before. I know there is a long way to go, but I will venture on, as I’m certain that art will lead me to a better me. Thanks for reading my story and feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Pamela Lagrosa​
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Website

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
25 Comments
  1. JA Wilson 8 months ago

    Thank you for sharing, your work is beautiful!

  2. Shubha 8 months ago

    Wonderful story.Love your work.

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Ur so lovely guys, thanks a lot 😊

  3. Laura Kate 8 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your work and your ideas. I plan to internalize your advice: “..the race is long, hence humility is key.”

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Thats always my mantra dear. I dojt congratulate myself too much lol and it helps, hehe

  4. Susan Masters 8 months ago

    Fantastic work and your insights are so valuable, thank you for sharing

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Thanks a lot susan!!! ❤️

  5. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 8 months ago

    It is wonderful to learn about your story and see your beautiful artwork!!! 🙂

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Thanks a lot Lisa 😘

    • Jojit 8 months ago

      Love it Pam. Continue what you’re doing and be an inspiration to others. Your art shows how beatiful you are.

      • Pamela lagrosa 8 months ago

        Thanksa lot my dear, people like u inspire me to do better.

  6. Karen Fortier 8 months ago

    Thank you for sharing your story Pamela! I can relate having recently retiring from the world of finance and now enjoying painting with watercolor. Your artwork is beautiful!

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Its tough aint it!? Im just in my 30s but i felt like retiring 😂 thanks for the lovely comments karen

  7. Miishuangmu 8 months ago

    I like your loose style and your idea on concept painting using I.T. as an aid.

    • Pam 8 months ago

      It really helps. And altho bit pricey but the note 10 + user interface is the best, its like ur just using a pencil. Its especially helpful when u ftry to expirement with atmosphere and temperature. I use it along with lightfx app

  8. Sarah Baskerville 8 months ago

    special!

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Thank youndear sara 😊🙏

  9. Mary Roff 8 months ago

    Truly beautiful artwork!! Thank you for sharing your story and your art with us.

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Thank you so mcuh, im equally inslired with the works of all of u here 😊❤️

  10. Nancy 8 months ago

    What beautiful paintings. Thank you for sharing them. The many tips you offed are very helpful to a aspiring watercolorist such as myself.

    • Pam 8 months ago

      Thank you nancy. U know when i started, i nver thought i would improve a lot in just over a year. But rly takingg time even just few mins a day, gets a long way.
      Also, i try to attend online workshops in enterclass.ru, its a russian site with rly awesome courses. My fave artist is SERGEI KURBATOV, the prairie scene u saw above is drawn from one of his classes called “mountains” if im nt mistaken. First time u see it, it feels very hard but when u keep repeating it, and rly observe, u will learn a lot.

  11. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 8 months ago

    Pamela, your story is remarkable, in that you’ve learned and achieved so much in a relatively short time. I can’t find a word to describe your art but I’m taken away by the beauty and sensation of each painting. Though you say that you reduce each painting to the simplest aspects, each is brimming with a wealth of emotional range, and I think this is what draws me in. The longer I look at each one, the more I find to see, the more I’m engaged. Thank you for sharing your insights and for all the tips about resources.

    • pamela 8 months ago

      Uv touched my heart sharon, thanks a lot. As iv mentioned below, iv been thru several tragedies in life whereby i had to rely mostly to my own strenght and will to get thru everything. My art progressed a lot when i was at my lowest, coz in 2016/17, i lost both my parents, and art became my refuge. I know that a lot of people go through so many horrible things but if u just pull urself up, tragedy could lead u to so many beautiful new paths ❤️ cheers to all of us.

  12. Camilo Mazorra 8 months ago

    One of the best stories I’ve read on this site. But better works and paintings. Thanks for sharing your story

    • pamela 8 months ago

      That means a lot hearing that camilo..Im sure that a lot of us have experienced that “lack”, at some point in our lives. Be it resources, time or maybe emotional support. But in my experience, YOU is more than enough to pull urself up and be where u want to be. Just to share, my art progressed a lot, coz in 2016/17, i lost both my parents, and iv drawn a lot from that tragic experience. I need to survive and better myself, and i feel im getting there. ❤️

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