Workshop Report: Watercolor from Within with Barbara Nechis

While watercolorist Barbara Nechis now visits us all the way from wine country in California. She used to be based out of upstate New York and has been teaching with the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops since close to the founding of the school in the mid-1980s.

As always, we’ll share a few of the images we captured here on our blog, but encourage you to also check out the full gallery on our Facebook page. You can also scroll back in our Instagram feed to see what we captured during the class and watch the video in our Facebook Video Library.

An Interview with Barbara Nechis, Watercolor Artist

One of our most requested instructors, Barbara Nechis, will teach an intense three-day Workshop, Watercolor From Within: Techniques for Painting the Essence of Nature May 14 to 17, 2015 at the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops.

Barbara recently gave us some insights on her art, and teaching.  

How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?

I began teaching after the 3rd person who knew less than I did asked me if I would teach. That was in 1967, I believe.

What is your favorite part about teaching?

Changing minds and watching people rethink concepts that they thought were written in stone.

What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop? 1. They will learn a lot 2. Their work will improve 3. They will have a good time

What are you currently working on in your own art?

I’m pushing myself both in color and form to make changes so that my work always surprises both me and the viewer. I never want to paint “just another one like all the rest.”

PhotoWhere is your art currently being exhibited? Mostly in my studio/gallery and on my website.

Is your work represented in galleries, and if so, what hints would you give to artists looking for gallery representation? I have exhibited in many galleries but I have always had lots of studio visitors and my website is also getting a lot of attention. At present these are my best sources.

What is your favorite art quote?

Picasso said “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.”    

Describe your studio. 

It is a wonderful small building with beautiful views of our vineyard in Napa Valley, designed by Richard Jansen (former staff architect at MOMA, NYC). I designed all the interior storage.  

Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.

Quality large flat brushes with great edges, Arche 140lb CP paper (although some of my best work has been experimenting with other papers), a camera to record my travels, a large flat table to work on, and a lot of floor space to drop all my paintings in progress.


See more of Barbara’s work and Studio on her Pinterest page.  


Watercolor From Within: Techniques for Painting the Essence of Nature

It was a gorgeous Spring weekend and Barbara Nechis was here teaching a 3-day workshop to a full house.

Barbara is an exceptional instructor along with being an accomplished artist. Her painting style is unique. She has a kind way of teaching and also a great sense of humor,” is what one of her students had to say after the class.

Every afternoon, Barbara conducted a group critique to review what everyone did that day.


Meanwhile, outside Mark and Bob were busy working to get the pool ready to open in a couple of weeks. Even though the pool was not open for swimmers, people enjoyed having their lunch out by the pool.


This is one of the new dishes for this year – a mild chili made with tender braised boneless short ribs. A number of people asked if they could get any leftovers for their lunch the next day – and yes, they did.


Putting it all together in kitchen.


Barbara’s good friend, Mary Alice Braukman, arrived to teach our next workshop and Barbara stayed an extra night just so that they could have dinner together!