Watermill painting tutor Keiko Tanabe


Keiko Tanabe

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Painting by watermill tutor Keiko Tanabe

Sunset, Florence


Light at the end of the day is so special and it is one of the best time to paint. The Ponte Vecchio at sunset time was an excellent subject that conjures up an image of romanticism.

Painting by Keiko Tanabe a tutor at the watermill in Italy

Perugia III


Italy offers many landscapes like this that inspire us to paint. I think it's because it is not just about the beauty of the scene but also about their dolce vita that makes it so attractive.

Painting tutor at the watermill in Italy Keiko Tanabe

Duomo, Milano III


Painting an architectural landmark with such grandeur can be overwhelming. This is an example of how I capture the quality of light while portraying the sense of place with just minimal details.

Painting tutor Keiko Tanabe at the watermill in Italy

Venice Canal


Watercolor is a perfect medium to paint waterscapes like this. Fluidity of the medium allows us to respond spontaneously to the subject and pushes us to explore creative possibilities yet to be discovered.

Course dates

Course Completed



After completing her education, Keiko Tanabe worked in international relations in Japan and the U.S. and travelled extensively. Through all these years, she knew there was in her heart the growing desire to someday become an artist. Mostly self-taught, Keiko started her art career in 2005. Since then her paintings have been juried into many exhibitions across America and in Asia and Europe and her work has been purchased by private and corporate collectors from all around the world. Her current portfolio includes cityscapes and landscapes of California, Europe and Japan.

Each of her paintings captures a story in everyday life of ordinary people in different corners of the world. She also had her paintings published in leading art magazines in the U.S. and France. She self-published several books of her art in 2012 and in 2013. Both in Kyoto, Japan, Keiko now lives in San Diego, California.

She's also a sought-after workshop instructor. Since 2011, she has been invited to, and completed successfully, more than 40 workshops around the world.


"Watercolor painting is a language I have learned to speak to tell my stories of who we are and how we live. It is a creative tool to capture the simple truth in our everyday life that may be overlooked but tugs at my heartstrings. It is also a vehicle to communicate my artistic vision on the joy of living and the ingenuity of human creations. I travel near and far and paint with enthusiasm to celebrate the beauty we all share at this time on this planet."

"When I am true to my inspiration, my brushstrokes sometimes surprise me by exposing something of my inner spirit I was not even aware of."

"I used to lay down several layers in order to increase the intensity of values. But in doing that, I could lose freshness. Now I mix my darks first thing, and put in the accurate tonal value of the darks right away. My goal is to finish with fewer brushstrokes."

Details of Keiko's workshop

Keiko's workshop at the watermill is designed for students who would like to gain a better understanding of methods and techniques to make a watercolour painting that is full of light and atmosphere.

We will start with the fundamentals and discuss: the importance of a good design (perspective), understanding of tonal values, a variety of techniques in paint application and brush handling, how to simplify a complex scene, etc.

We will paint different subject(s) every day, en plein-air weather permitting, and try different approaches to discover what is effective to create the kind of atmosphere we desire.

Keiko will do two demonstrations a day. There'll be one-on-one guidance and a question-and-answer session on a daily basis. A class critique will be conducted at the end of workshop. A course will include: Emphasis on perspective, design, values, atmosphere, colour choices Subjects will be: Landscape, Waterscape, Cityscape, Interior (café, restaurant) Plein-air, weather permitting; In case of bad weather, we work indoors.

The workshop is suitable for all levels, but a basic knowledge is strongly recommended.


I loved once again my stay in your gorgeous mill as well as your fantastic hospitality and the company of new friends and such a talented teacher and guide. AC

"What a wonderful and memorable week I have had! The ambiance was just perfect for a painting holiday and your warm hospitality took the chill out of the air and I am sure I have gained a few pounds with all the delicious desserts and the gourmet style food we feasted on. "Of course, Keiko was a wonderful teacher and its really been a perfect painting holiday!" KN