Lana Privitera,
Lana Privitera, "Dare to be different," Watercolor on paper

Coffee cups, sugar bowls, decorated fabrics, copper, wood: these are all elements that characterize the works of watercolor artist Lana Privitera.

Her compositions are an ode to beauty that has the flavor of childhood memories and time suspended in limbo that brings back distant memories and experienced emotions, which the artist masterfully transfers to the watercolor paper.

Lana Privitera will be among the faculty members of the fourth edition of Watercolor Live, online January 24-26, 2024.

Lana Privitera, “Tea for Two,” Watercolor on Paper, 29 x 21 in.
Lana Privitera, “Tea for Two,” Watercolor on Paper, 29 x 21 in.
During her Watercolor Live session, Lana will create one of her enchanting works and show participants both the stages of her compositional process and her approach to using a limited palette.

To learn how to draw and paint, the artist suggests visiting museums, fairs, and galleries and looking at what people are doing because, according to Lana, “That is what motivates you more than anything, and Watercolor Live, in this purpose, is one of the best ways to learn from many professional and devoted watercolor artists, any of them with their own style and approach, and all of that in one unique, big, online convention.”

Lana Privitera, "Looking for a Way Out," Watercolor on paper
Lana Privitera, “Looking for a Way Out,” Watercolor on paper

Painting was a passion she had been cultivating since her teenage years, when she began making portraits of people, mostly in charcoal or pastel. In the early 1990s, she moved from Spain, where she was born and raised in an affluent environment devoted to the arts, to the United States, where she put her art career on hold for 12 years before starting again, this time with still lifes in watercolor. “I love the unlimited combinations, compositions, and styles that painting still lifes offers,” said the artist.

Lana’s education, however, matured in the artistic environment, despite her parents’ discontent. She graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Zaragoza, with a double specialization in Fashion Design and Art History in a path that later characterized her watercolor compositions.

After an experience as a nanny and as an employee in the world of tourism and advertising, eventually she returned to painting and participating in art competitions full-time in 2014. Today she is a Signature Member of the prestigious American Watercolor Society (AWS), National Watercolor Society (NWS), Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA), North East Watercolor Society (NEWS), and Watercolor Honor Society (WHS).

Lana Privitera, “Tea Time Here, There, Everywhere,” Watercolor on Paper, 21 x 20 in.
Lana Privitera, “Tea Time Here, There, Everywhere,” Watercolor on Paper, 21 x 20 in.

Lana is a self-taught artist with a particular flair for drawing and contrasts. Her first source of study was books that she would borrow from the local library. “Now it’s much easier because we have YouTube, the social networks and we can find everything we want searching for our style and our favorite artists. Back then it wasn’t easy,” she said.

Best known for her still life watercolors she depicts with an extraordinarily realistic eye, Lana also excels in portraits, house and pet commissions, and many farm and town scenes. She tells us, “I’ve always loved painting architectural buildings, because I like the variety of architectural styles in the United States, so I started using watercolor with them when I moved there.”

Her ability to render texture is due, in addition to her training in design, to the fact that she does not see very well; she has been using prescription glasses since the age of 5. Because of this, she tends to be a “tactile” person, who likes to touch everything that comes her way. This particular type of approach has enabled her to refine the objects in her compositions, rich in detail, that she renders beautifully with all its nuances and reflections. This approach has enabled her to achieve important goals in a short time.

Lana Privitera, "Unknown," Watercolor on paper
Lana Privitera, “Unknown,” Watercolor on paper

Lana is an enthusiastic artist of life who sees and captures beauty in everything. However, in the beginning, she said she was born with a great sensitivity for drawing and contrasts and, on the contrary, with difficulties related to the sense of colors and composition. By focusing and overcoming her weaknesses, she decided to teach the basics of drawing and painting – colors, values, and composition – in a simple and effective way, as she will also show during her Watercolor Live demonstration.

While she tries a wide variety of colors and brands in order to find – or suggest – what she thinks is the best, she usually works with a very limited palette based on Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Rose, Quinacridone Burnt Orange, and Cobalt Blue. She obtains her greens by adding Lemon Yellow to Cobalt Blue, and by mixing Phthalo Green and Quinacridone Rose she realizes a beautiful fan of grays.

For backgrounds, she usually uses overlapping layers of Quinacridone Rose, Phthalo Green, Perylene Violent and Perylene Maroon, or Indanthrone blue as the last layer, depending on whether she wants a warm or cool dark background. She normally begins her composition from the background – in the case of a very dark background – to the foreground; from light to dark, in a series of overlapping wet-on-wet layers, using colors of the same values.

Lana Privitera, “Breakfast with Maria,” Watercolor on Paper, 29 x 21 in.
Lana Privitera, “Breakfast with Maria,” Watercolor on Paper, 29 x 21 in.
Lana Privitera, “Individuality,” Watercolor on Paper, 21 x 29 in.
Lana Privitera, “Individuality,” Watercolor on Paper, 21 x 29 in.

“My style, which is not hyperrealist but ‘realist,’ is based on mixing my own colors. I like to mix colors not because I want to save money, but because doing so produces beautiful results,” said the artist, who suggests always buying high-quality paints.

“The more you practice the better you get and it is scientifically proven that you are able to practice more when you are happy and excited. So you need to get excited and Watercolor Live is what you need.”

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