Watercolour painting techniques and tutorial with Deena Millecam I Colour In Your Life

Watercolour painting techniques and tutorial with Deena Millecam I Colour In Your Life

G’day viewers, my name’s Graeme Stevenson, and I’d like to invite you to come on a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every family throughout the world. Lots of times there’s an artist deep down inside us as well. So grab your kids, your brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads and come and see how some of the best artists do what they do. (Music Plays) (Graeme) Okay folks, well we are still in the wonderful state of Utah, in the United States. And we’re in a little town called Vernal, which is a fantastic place. It’s really famous for dinosaur fossils, and we’re going to be spending the day with a wonderful watercolour artist today. A lady that I’ve just recently met, but who I think is an absolutely dear human being. Deena Millecam, (Deena) Thank you, thank you for coming. (Graeme) thank you so much for being on the show. It’s a fantastic area. We have been treated so well by the people in your town, and you’ve organised a lot of this for this. But your late and darling wonderful husband John, was an inspiration to you in many, many situations. (Deena) He was. And was part and parcel of the legacy that he left you was to fulfil your dream as an artist, and go forth and do what you want to do, and that’s part of the reason that we’re here today. Your love of watercolour you teach as well, (Deena) Yes. (Graeme) and you help to rehabilitate people as well. I mean tell me about the satisfaction of doing something like that? (Deena) You know, we all struggle in life; we all have those times in our lives when you just give up. And you think you know, what is there really to wake up to every morning? And if you can pull out paints, or any kind of – even with music – anything that we can kind of get out of reality a little bit (Graeme) Yeah. (Deena) and get into something that’s creative and feeling our inner self. I think that’s what art is all about; that’s what’s music’s all about. The rehabilitation is I’m hoping with my art, that I can help people who have struggled also – and we all do – to have the opportunity to just get up at maybe three in the morning, four in the morning and say, ah yes, I can go paint. (Graeme) Yeah, I mean a lot of the work that you do is for other people as well. You paint for people; you paint for your friends. You know, it’s part of the fact that you can give back to them through your art which I think is great. But the whole area I just love the Vernal area, you’ve got bike riding around here, you’ve got camping, river rafting. You were telling me some of the river rafting trips can go for like twenty-one days. (Deena) Yeah, yeah. (Graeme) That’s pretty amazing. You’ve got great restaurants for us. So for a little town, it’s really quite amazing that… and everybody you know, everybody pulls together it’s really quite fantastic so. But we’re going to talk about that as we go along anyway. There’s a whole bunch of things that we’re going to discuss through the show today. But Deena is actually going to be painting in watercolour the great American symbol. Actually, Ben Franklin didn’t want the Bald Eagle to be chosen, he wanted the turkey to chosen. (Deena) That I’m not doing a turkey. (Graeme) So you’re not doing a turkey, but we are going to do a Bald Eagle today that I think has just swept through the water. Deena’s made a start; she’s got a fantastic photo and she’s made a really positive start on the picture. I’m going to get out of shot as usual, and I’m going to let Deena take over and show you what she’s going to do. (Deena) Thank you. (Deena) I first of all get a very good photo, and sometimes I’ll take those photos, but a lot of times I will use somebody else’s photo that gives me permission to use that photo. This photo is the Bald Eagle photo that I got from Ryan Kelly. I’ve already drawn it free handed it and then I’ll use, ta da, this transfer paper shiny side down, and I’ll put that on my watercolour paper. The reason I do that is that if I make mistakes on my drawing paper I can erase it. I do not want to erase on my watercolour paper. It will decrease the tooth on the paper. And so I put this down and I will put my drawing here and I’ll draw it. Contour drawing, I don’t do any shading at all, and I don’t want to a lot because it might show through the watercolour. Which is okay to a point, but you don’t want to see every little detail of your drawing. And so I’ll use that, take this off, check it – make sure I’ve got what I want. This is my palette. You know, a lot of people think you have to go out and buy a whole bunch of paint, you really don’t; red, yellow and blue and you’re done. And you can make you secondaries, go can go to your tertiaries. But I in fact a lot of times I will make my own green out of the yellow and blue, because the green is just a hard one to get a good colour on. But I’ve used this palette, I bet I’ve used this palette for probably fifteen years. One thing that’s really important is artists tape. If you use masking tape it’ll peel off, if you use blue or green tape it detracts your eyeball from what you’re painting so use white tape; white tape’s really important to use. Okay, lets get started painting. I’m going to go into the head first of all, and I want to get that head really, really dark, so that I know where I’m going. I’ve used the browns, the blues, so I’m going to go in here. I don’t want uniformity. I want to have these feathers look like feathers. They need to be coming in different directions, different shapes, the spaces, and what this is kind of called is negative painting, and so you’ve got to work fast. With watercolour you don’t sit around and watch it dry, you’ve got to keep moving. (Graeme) A lot of the work that you do, do is very, very influenced by the area you live in as well. (Deena) Yes. (Graeme) And your background, even as a young girl growing up on a fruit farm, you’ve got a piece called A Peach of A Deal. And you were saying before that you used to get up early in the morning which nobody like to do, and go out picking fruit. (Deena) It was one of those things were dad got us up at five in the morning, and we didn’t stay out late much because he knew, we knew he’d get us up early. But we’d do fruit, pick fruit, sort, sort apples in the fall. A great life, we learn’t how to work and it was I give my dad, my mum a lot of credit for, and a lot of credit for my artwork. My dad painted. (Graeme) So what would your favourite subject be with your painting? (Deena) My favourite subject honestly, honestly, honestly would be figure drawing and portrait. (Graeme) Aha. (Deena) And those are my weaknesses, so I would like to take more classes in figure and portrait. (Graeme) Yeah, you’ve got a lovely piece that is painted of your grandson, who is the adopted boy of your lovely children, Chris and Laura, and is a fantastic little piece. He’s suppose to be a bit of a rascal isn’t he? (Deena) He is a rascal for sure. Yeah, he’s four years old and he’s full of it as are you know, most four year olds, but what a blessing in our, in our family. You know, they ask me over in a city close by us if would come and teach some art classes this summer, so we decided to have an art camp with adults and students and young people. And oh my gosh, it was so much fun; I just loved it. And I thought why don’t I go back to my home town here where I live, and start teaching art classes, and I have and it’s been so full filling for me. (Graeme) Well that’s part of the beauty of being in Vernal, is that you’ve got a really thriving, growing arts community as well. And you can hike around here, you can go to see where the petroglyph’s are, and obviously the dinosaur bones and seeing that whole wall. I went up there the other day and that whole wall of dinosaurs that existed a hundred and forty-nine million years ago. It’s just a fascinating thing to see, it really is. (Deena) Yeah, it’s amazing. We live in a beautiful area. (Graeme) Yeah, so as I said I was just amazed when I saw the dinosaurs and the beauty of the area. So if anybody wants to come out here and I suggest they do. If you’re an artist the country’s fantastic, but if you’re an adventurer, you should come along and go to the website, visit dinosaur land dot com, and go in there and see the folks. You’ll be able to see all the information to actually get out to Vernal, and Utah, and surrounding areas. Come out and enjoy this place it really is quite amazing. So Deena, why are you using that particular brush to paint those feathers like that? (Deena) You know, this gives me that crisp touch on the paper. There’s a flat brush, you can use flat brushes, but those are really good for buildings and things like that, but this is a good brush. You want a brush that flips back. If you get a brush that’s just not a flipper, you don’t want it, so you want a flipper brush. And this one, you can see as I’m painting it I can get that texture. Now when I do this, let me show you real quick this process. I kind of like to put in a little bit of a wash. See I’m going to just kind of come up like this, and just put a kind of a wash and then, and if you notice I just keep coming back to may water, my water, and paper, paper towel, and then I come back in add a little more pigment and a little less water. And I want it to bleed, that’s the thing, is you want to get in that wash and let it bleed. But you got to back off, you got to say, okay, leave it alone, and it’s so tempting to just over do it, and I may have done that already, but I have to be really, really careful I do not overdo this, because otherwise it looks like its a bird that’s going to a party, instead of one out in the field. (Graeme) I’ve just come from a party. (Deena) You’ve only just come from a party, that’s right. (Graeme) I’m a little ruffled to say. (Deena) Good point. Right now I’m being really careful that I’m getting to dark on the top. The light is coming this way, the dark needs to be underneath the bird as its coming in, and so I’ve got to be careful that I’m getting too dark, so watch this trick. And that’s the fun part, you got to keep it juicy though. If you don’t keep your watercolours juicy you can’t do this. You just come in and kind of lift out a little bit of that. And see I’ve gone way to dark on this, so I’m going to lift that out and kind of feather it out, and that way it looks like I didn’t do what I really did. (Graeme) I like that, that word juicy, that’s good. (Deena) Juicy, watercolour has to be juicy. Right now, I’m still trying to keep that topside, I just want to get so dark on that top side and I can’t, because that’s where the sunlights hitting him. But at this point I will want to show you something on the feathers. I’ve added a little water, or a little pigment – excuse me a little pigment down here, and I want to kind of bleed that, you don’t want lines so it looks like it’s lined. But I’m just using water at this point and kind of bleeding it out; I’m letting it do its thing. That’s why water’s so fun. I always kind of adjust the water with my paper towel, so that I’m not just putting a whole bunch of water and I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m adding a little and patting it, but I want to come back in here, touch the edge of that, cause I don’t want a hard edge. In watercolour you’ve got hard edges and you’ve got soft edges. And soft edges are what gives you the subtleness. (Graeme) That is the beauty about your watercolours, they are really subtle. (Deena) It’s amazing you know, the paintings that I do that are so detailed and are spend so much time on are the ones that people do not look at. It’s the ones who are spontaneously painted and it just bleeds together. That’s why I’ve got to be careful with this eagle, because it’s so easy to just get knick-picky with it. (Graeme) Yeah, you’ve got one here called Equipment Forgotten, and it’s obviously very detailed. (Deena) Yeah. (Graeme) You’ve gone to a lot of detail I mean obviously you want the machine to look like the machine did. (Deena) Yeah. (Graeme) And you’ve done a bit of travelling. You said you where in Malaysia at one stage and you’ve got a piece called Melanie, which was one of the Malaysian native people that you… Can you tell me a bit about that? (Deena) Yeah, we went to Indonesia on a humanitarian mission and worked on the wheelchairs, and cataracts, orphanages and we had the opportunity to travel to some other areas also. And I saw her in her traditional costume and I, through the translator I asked if I could take a picture of her and she said no. She said no, I don’t want a picture, and then after we got to know each other she said well, I guess you can take a picture. (Graeme) Being in this area there’s a lot of probably old, run down farm houses. I mean I’ve seen and gone past places their like ghost towns, and you’ve got a piece called Old Time Cleanup. There must be some fantastic antique stores around here. (Deena) There are. In fact I go past this house probably fifteen minutes away from here, (Graeme) Aha. (Deena) and I just every time I have to stop and take pictures, and I like to do a complete series with just that house of the different seasons. (Graeme) So what colours are we actually use in this process? Is there Ultramarine Blue in there somewhere? (Deena) Aha, there’s ultra and I use sienna and I don’t use a lot of the Burnt Umber, I use instead of the Burnt Umber I use more of a… I love, I love phthalo, (Graeme) Phthalo Blue. (Deena) phthalo is blue like right there, I just put a little phthalo if you can see that, there’s a little phthalo put a little bit, oh it’s just such a stainy, pretty colour. (Graeme) Yeah, and you very much get a lot of pleasure from teaching kids and adults, young adults and rehabilitating the gentleman who came out of jails as well. There are funnily enough, a right brained people that live very much in a left brain world. (Deena) That’s really true. The kids are amazing because they just get in and do it and don’t worry about if its perfect or not. I wish we were more, it’s too bad that we change and think that we have to be a certain way, because the kiddies’ll come in here and just start having a lot of fun. As far as the rehabilitation part, yes, you’re right. Gosh, I had the opportunity to teach in a rehab centre, and I gave him, I gave the man, and they were just out of prison, and I gave the man the canvases and oil paints and just told him to go at it. I did not give him any instruction, and it was amazing to me to see the beauty that they painted. And then we had an art show for them, and because of the situation they were in we could not put their name on their papers, but they let them actually come and be part of that art show. And it was so fun to see their confidence build up. I have to put a plug in for education; we just need more and more art in our schools. We had it and now we’re kind of removing some of the art from our schools, and we need, we need the aesthetics in our class room. (Graeme) Very much so, very much so. You know, when you consider that over a third of the people that are born into the world are right brained people (Deena) Yeah. (Graeme) you know, (Deena) Yeah. (Graeme) and we live in a left brain world, I mean how do you balance that out? (Deena) That’s right. Okay, now I’m going to get into the face, because I kind of need to know the balance of what I’ve got going on here, and the beak has got the strongest colour here in the front, but I’ve got to careful I don’t just stay with that colour. While it’s wet then I’m going to come in with a Gamboge on top of the cad (Graeme) Gamboge, (Deena) Gamboge, I love that name. (Graeme) lovely name, lovely colour. (Deena) Yeah, the Gamboge has got a real warm colour, the cad is more of a cool colour, and then with the nose, I can’t just paint it like this. I’ve got to come up and kind of round it. And so we use water, no paint, and bleed that together and let that round, so that there’s a dimension on that nose. Then I’m going to go in with a burnt Sienna and a little tiny bit of purple, and I’m going to come and flick, flick it kind of, so that these are those feathers that just kind of like a bad hair day. (Graeme) I haven’t had one for years. (Deena) I’m having one right now. (Graeme) So tell me a little bit more about the picture, Spring Runs? Where about is that? (Deena) That’s in Sian, and in the spring time that runoff in Sian just runs down those red rocks, and all oh my goodness, it is beautiful. It just plummets down through the rock into the stream below, but this time of year they’ve had so much water with the Monsoons, that it is doing that now. But oh, talk about beautiful, and that’s where that is. Okay, now this, this I’ve got to be really careful with because if I put that pupil in its going to bleed into the iris. So I may just move on and put a bit more texture in here for just a few minutes. Now I’m going to use a little soft, soft lavender here that sounds really weird for a bird, but I want to get in, I don’t want this all white. And I’m just I’m going to kind of come off. Now see how strong that is? I don’t want that, but I’m going to come in the water, tap it, and then kind of bleed that out a little bit just to give a texture that this is, you know that this is not totally white. And so we want to just kind of dirty it up a little bit, but not all over, just in certain areas, so that we can get that look like he’s been maybe eaten… Okay, I’m going to leave the face for a while, I’m worried about the eyes being wet and then putting those pupils in. I do not want those black pupils to bleed out into the iris. So I’m going to let all this dry a little bit, but it’s the same process. I’ll just go ahead and continue to add a little bit more depth to it very easily, but now it’s a glaze. I’m going to use my flat brush on this one and water, and this is just going to be really light, a lot of liquid and not much pigment to tie all of this busyness in. There’s a lot of stuff going on and now I just need to tie it up. So I’m going to try and get several different colours that I’ve used in here, and just make it really, really a tea consistency. Really, really, really, really tea. And I’ve used a little of the yellow but not a lot, and so it’s just if you can see that, I don’t know but I want to use a lot of water. It’s a one time shot, I’m not going to go over and over it again, cause that will make it muddy. So I’m just going to kind of hit that and bring those colours in. The purples will definitely bleed, and that’s what I want it to do. And I’ll never go back over, and you can go back after it dries, but I can’t go over it twice like this where it will just turn into mud. (Graeme) Great techniques, Deena, and I think if anybody even if the Utah area, or Salt Lake City, or Verna would like to come along and do one of Deena’s workshops, they can go to her website at: Deena dot fine art studio online dot com. So go in and get in touch with her and see her wonderful work in there and just a lovely lady as well. I think you would just enjoy with day with her regardless. (Deena) Thank you so much, and everyday painting is a good day. (Graeme) And you’ve got another piece here, I just think it’s just wonderful with the reds and blues that you’ve got in there, and the yellows. It’s a fantastic piece it’s called Grandma’s Path, and it’s actually out near Saint George in Utah, which is where one of the galleries that you work with is, is Gallery Thirty-Five. And in the same area, you’re also a member of the Southern Utah Art Guild, so you’re a busy woman that gets around a lot, I can see that. (Deena) You know, the fun part is going down and meeting the people down there. Great people down in Southern Utah. Utah Watercolor is also a great place. Where I live out in Vernal, you kind of get lost out here a little bit, so to take your art and go take some more workshops, be part of the associations that are around. There’s one in Mesquite, great, great workshop areas to go to, and great associations to belong to. (Graeme) Sounds wonderful. (Deena) I’ve added some wets in here and I really feel if I continue to add wets I’m going to end up with mud. So I think I’ll let this dry for a few days set it up in my fireplace, and walk by it every day, every minute, I don’t know, and look at it. Edit it like you do with your computers and I will go from there. (Graeme) Well we’ve had a fabulous day with you, Deena, and met some amazing people while we’ve been in Vernal. And because of the beauty of editing, you can now see the final piece which looks absolutely spectacular. But thank you so much for having us in your studio. A great studio, a great town and a wonderful woman. Thank you very much. (Deena) Thank you, thank you and Sophia for coming. We appreciate Australians coming to Vernal, Utah. (Graeme) Alright, well an amazing town with amazing people. Deena, thank you so much for (Deena) Thank you. (Graeme) having us in your studio. (Deena) Thank you so much for coming. (Graeme) It’s been wonderful. The people that we’ve met have been amazing. The locations, the National Parks, (Deena) Yeah. (Graeme) the dinosaurs which is so cool. I loved being down there, that was fantastic. Your work as well, now if you want to come in and see Deena, and do some of her workshops, and either come out to Vernal and just see the area, you can go to Deena dot fine art studio online dot com. You can go in and ask questions of her and also her workshops. Yeah, come to the area it really is a beautiful place going down those rivers, fantastic. I’d love to come back and do it. You can come in and see us at colour in your life dot com dot au, and come to our Facebook page, and our YouTube page as well. Lots of stuff going on there, also. And then sign up to be a member in the website, we’ve got some pretty amazing things going on these days, and there’s a lot of benefits for artists that come and be a part of what we’re doing. But we’re going to head off now, we’re crossing the country again. Pretty, pretty amazing country without a doubt, and off to Colorado. But as we always say – remember – until we see you again: make sure you put some Vernal, and some colour in your life. See you next time. (Deena) Wooh. Thank you, Graeme. (Graeme) Bye guys. Bye.


  • Nancy Lemon says:

    Thank You Graham & Deena… LOVE this series!

  • Scott H says:

    damn, she's hard! i dig her. good find! thank you for the share!

  • Tania Ohman says:


  • Kay Smith says:

    What a lovely lady and talent too! 🌹

  • Debra Moss says:

    What a beautiful woman, a vibrant gentle soul, the world needs more good hearts and arts like Ms Millecam. Thank you for sharing.

  • inspiredflower says:

    Great show

  • Paula W says:

    Thank you, Deena, for stating at the beginning of the film that we all hit low points in our lives and being creative is a way to get outside of our minds. SO true. Doing that right now. This is a great series, Graeme Stevenson. Thank you.

  • meow says:

    Lovely lady

  • Corbin Betts says:

    She was my Principal in Middle School. Awesome person

  • Deena Millecam says:

    For those who have viewed this YouTube video, I hope it was inspirational. The whole purpose in spending the time and money was to provide an opportunity for you to realize that art can open doors for you no matter what your circumstances may be. Rehabilitation from addictions, finding self again, or just enjoying getting up in the morning to do something creative is well worth your time. Come along on my journey and share with me activities each week as I blog ideas and demonstrations of painting techniques. Hope to see you and please comment about your thoughts and feelings.

  • Disruptarian Radio says:

    We created this film about Springville, to explain many of the adverse consequences of fast growth and big spending sprees from local city government, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OE2L2LmxuU

  • Candy Summer says:

    An amazing series with truly inspirational artists thankyou

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