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Atlanta Arts Festival features work by Cumming painter
Artist Skapinetz treats her watercolors like oils with dry brush technique
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Atlanta Arts Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Piedmont Park, Atlanta

How much: Free

More info: About the festival; about the artist

Watercolor painter Carol Skapinetz of Cumming is breaking all the rules.

Skapinetz, who will be exhibiting her work this weekend at the Atlanta Arts Festival, focuses on natural garden landscapes when she creates her unique watercolor works, which the average viewer might mistake for oil paintings.
"I treat my watercolor like an oil," Skapinetz said.

"Basically, I use pure paint — very little water — and I use a dry brush technique. I use sponging and almost dry brush, so I'm using very, very little water," she said, adding that her paintings are textured, unlike the flat surface of traditional watercolor works.

As a retired art teacher, Skapinetz, 64, said she taught oil and acrylic painting to her students, but still prefers to use watercolor.

"I treat the watercolor like an oil paint. I have tried using oil paint, the way I paint with the watercolor, and I can't do it. Watercolor works for me," she said.

"I break every rule there is for watercolor, but I guess in a good way. Because I'm able to develop it and get it to do what I need it to do and produce my paintings."

Her works include depictions of gardens at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, as well as views of Charleston and New England, where Skapinetz in originally from.

"I love natural gardens," she said. "Not so much planned gardens ... wooded, natural-looking gardens."

Skapinetz taught in New Jersey, where she lived in a rural area, for 30 years before she and her husband recently retired to Cumming.

"We fell in love with Lake Lanier the first time when we came down here in this area. It reminded me of New Jersey, without the expenses of living in New Jersey," she said.

She said she is influenced by Monet and Manet, "having lived in New Jersey and going to the Metropolitan Museum a lot," and, for his use of color, Van Gogh.

She has more time to paint now, but when she was raising her family, which includes three now-grown sons, Skapinetz painted to relax.

"When I go into my studio, I turn the TV on and I just get lost and I just start to paint," she said. "When I was raising my family, it was my time."

Skapinetz said she goes to art shows like the Atlanta Arts Festival so she can connect with the people that collect her paintings.

"People say, ‘Why do you like doing art shows? It seems like so much work,'" she said, "But I like meeting the public and talking to the public about my work ... because in a gallery, you don't see that. You don't have the connection."

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