Atanas Matsoureff Interview

Atanas Matsoureff - watercolorist - magic realist


Hello Mr. Matsoureff, could you please tell me more about yourself ?  When did you start  with watercolors for first time and what made you choose that medium ?

Hello! I used watercolors but in more traditional way, like fast sketches with plenty of water. One day many years ago I opened an old art magazine which contained photos of works of art created by American Realist Watercolorists. I was so impressed I couldn’t believe my eyes. I studied them for a long time, I could hardly sleep that night. The next morning I started to paint with watercolors. I think that was the exact moment.

What inspires you most? Which artists had influence on you ?

Beauty can be found everywhere. I find it in the simple objects and people around me and in  the Nature of course. I’m inspired by Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Sargent, William Russel Flint, Joaquin Sorolla, Arthur Melville, Ogden M. Pleissner, and many of the old Masters.

Your technique is very impressive. Could you please tell me how you develop that magical realism ?

Thank you! It’s outside of me. I really don’t know. Sometimes I just see something beautiful or is just a feeling. Sometimes I like to draw in my mind and later on paper the invisible lines connecting my memories and past to today. And that’s a magic.

What kind of paints, brushes and papers do you usually use ?

I work with professional, top quality materials only. I’m using paints by Winsor & Newton, Da Vinci Paints, MGraham.Co.

Brushes I use are Chinese calligraphy brushes, many natural hair ones from Rosemary & Co Brushes.

I like to experiment and try new papers. Prefer hand made and vintage papers. From contemporary brands like St. Cuthberts Mill’s papers.


How many colors do you have in your palette and which are they ?

There are 25 - 30 colors in my palette.

They are:


1.Cadmium Lemon 

2.Cadmium Yellow 

3.Cadmium Orange 

4.Cadmium Red 

5.Cadmium Red Deep

6.Permanent Rose 

7.Permanent Magenta 

8.Cobalt Violet

9.Cerulean Blue 

10. Cobalt Blue

11.Indigo Blue

12. French Ultramarine

13. Turquoise

14. May Green (Horadam)

15. Sap Green

16.Terre Verte 

17. Green Gold

18. Olive Green 

19. Perylene Green

20. Yellow Ochre 

21. Raw Umber

22. Burnt Sienna 

23. Burnt Umber

24. Indian Red  

25. Vandyke Brown

26. Sepia 

27. Payne’s Gray

28. Lamp Black 

If you have to paint with limited palette of 8 colors which would you choose ?

Lemon Yellow

Cadmium Red

Cobalt Violet

Cerulean Blue


Olive Green

Yellow Ochre

Burnt Umber

Could you explain your process in few steps ?

I start with a pencil drawing, then paint a layer, the basic one, where try to put as more as I can like shadows, colors, even some details. After that I combine different techniques and paint the main parts. Fine details I paint in fact during the whole process.

What do you think about brass palettes and how do you find them comparing with the rest palettes for watercolor ?

I’ve never had brass palette. But they are really beautiful and have long live. Hope to have one soon.

Which one is most important for you - the paints, the brushes or the paper and why ?

They are important altogether. But for me the paper is most. This is my field of expression, of feelings, of fears and everything else. Like to touch it, to understand it, to know what can gave me.

What would you advice the beginners in watercolor painting ?

 My advice: do not be afraid, experiment, be honest and paint a lot.

Thank you for being part of my world watercolor artist interviews Mr. Matsouref.