Natalya Bilmes
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Watercolor Portraiture – Natalya Bilmes

Join us for an engaging exploration of Watercolor Portraiture.

The overall objective of the class is to show the vast range and flexibility of watercolor by exploring, experimenting and developing creativity of each piece. We will be using carefully picked photo references.
Breaking down color into its building blocks of hue, value and saturation, we simplify these complex and sometimes daunting aspects of painting. Students learn to identify and gauge these fundamental elements.
Beginning demonstrations along with assisted self-directed sessions and daily discussions of both technique and content.

Step-by-step descriptive talks and demos to show the process of efficient watercolor painting.

View our financing options and promotions available for students.

Product Description

Supply List

Yarka St Petersburg Watercolor Set of 24 (available on Amazon)
Fabriano or Arches high grade watercolor paper 140-300lb loose sheet (depending on the location Blick carries one or both brands)
Various sizes in watercolor brushes round and long bristle.
Drawing Board 18×24
Graphite Mechanical Pencil
Kneaded Eraser
Painters Tape
Paper Towels
Jar or cup for water (preferably clear)

Instructor Bio

Natalya’s early passion for painting and drawing was driven by her father, the highly regarded and practiced artist and teacher Semyon Bilmes. Her father made art lessons a tentative and dedicated practice throughout his children’s homeschooling years in a small bohemian town in Oregon. Natalya’s skills have been rigorously developed through dedication and consistent exercising of traditional techniques. She has an ability to capture beyond what the mundane eye can see, exposing personality from her subjects.

Living abroad in Turkey as a child has influenced her artistic aesthetic and inspired her to bring textures, colors and history from that part of the world into her work.

With nature as her ultimate teacher, and watercolor as a preferred medium, Natalya’s pairing of earth-rooted tones with rich jewel accents creates her signature look.

Natalya currently resides in Los Angeles where she continues to develop her art and teaching career.

LAAFA Policies


Students must be paid in full prior to the first day of class when enrolled in an Extension Course or Workshop, except those with a payment plan agreement. Please visit the Main Office at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the class, to complete any pending registration issues.

Payment Plans: A 3% Payment Plan Fee will be assessed, with a maximum charge of $35. The Payment Plan Fee, $20 Registration Fee, plus 50% of the total tuition owing must be paid on or before the first day of class. The remaining 50% of the tuition can be paid with a post-dated check (dated 1 month later) or with a signed Credit Card Authorization Form.

There is a $35.00 fee for all checks returned as N.S.F. (Non-Sufficient Funds).


LAAFA reserves the right to cancel any class, limit class size, change class times or substitute instructors for those listed in the schedule.

If a class is cancelled, students will be issued a full refund or may transfer with no fee to another class.

If an instructor must leave after a term has begun, and no suitable substitute is available, the student will be refunded a pro-rated amount.


All classes, uninstructed workshops, Visiting Artist Workshops and artist demonstrations are non-refundable. You may request to drop for credit (see next paragraph) or transfer into another class.

You have two weeks to evaluate each class and decide whether you want to drop for credit (a dollar amount calculated based on the receipt of request) or transfer into a new class. Requests must be submitted before the start of the third session, via email to A $25 Drop/Transfer Fee is assessed. Credit will be valid for a full year and is non-refundable. It can be applied toward any Extension Course, Workshop or Visiting Artist Event at LAAFA.

All artist demonstrations are non-refundable and non-transferable.


One free make-up session is allowed per quarter, per class. Please email us at, at least 3 days in advance, with the course and date you wish to attend as a make-up. Make-up sessions aren’t transferable to future quarters.


  • If you arrive late, please enter quietly. If you have equipment to set up, please wait for a break to set up so that you do not disrupt the class.
  • The front row of benches is reserved for sitting individuals.
  • Economize your workspace to accommodate fellow artists.
  • Please refrain from talking to the models while they are posing. Photography is not allowed without the express permission of the model. The model may require a photography fee.
  • Please refrain from personal discussions while class is in session. Be sure to switch cell phone ringers OFF.
  • Don’t comment on others’ work unless it is solicited.
  • Animals are not permitted, with the exception of assistance dogs for the disabled.
  • Please clean up your work area and properly dispose of your waste after class. Use the Brush Cleaning Closet, not the bathroom sinks, to clean your hands, paintbrushes and other art tools.
  • No Turpentine or smelly solvents and mediums are allowed. Odorless Mineral Spirits is preferred.

Workshop Policy

  • There will only be 16 spots allowed in the workshops. Entry in the workshop is on a first come, first served basis. We do not accept reservations.  Students paying on a per-day basis will be admitted at the start time of the workshop if space is available.
  • Please note that all students must pay prior to the start of each workshop or class when paying on a per-day basis, and prior to entering the workshop to set up.
  • A monitor appointed by LAAFA will set up all uninstructed workshops. Once the pose is set, there will be no changes.
  • Any suggestions or comments, please email us at


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