Featured Artist Monika Pate

Artist Monika Pate uses strong light and contrast to create strikingly realistic watercolor paintings. Enjoy more of her portfolio by visiting her website.


watercolor of grapes in a glass bowl by Monika Pate

“Morning Light” watercolor, 21″ x 29″


I was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland and moved to the United States in 1993 to pursue a PhD in biology. Art has always been my passion. Although I have loved drawing and sketching, it was mainly a hobby that I enjoyed in my spare time.


watercolor of a magnolia blossom by Monika Pate

“Magnolia Blossom #2″ watercolor, 22″ x 14”


After moving to the United States, I decided to take a watercolor painting course just for fun. I fell in love with the medium immediately and wanted to learn more. I took this class in 1994 and have been working with watercolor full time ever since.


watercolor of a violin and a rose by Monika Pate

“Montagnana and Chopin” watercolor, 30″ x 22″


When I first started painting, I also wanted to experience other media. I experimented with pastels, colored pencils and oils, but watercolor has definitely been my favorite medium.


watercolor of a Hellebore flower by Monika Pate

“Hellebore” watercolor, 21″ x 15″


Growing up in Poland, I was surrounded by flowers from our garden. There was also a beautiful lake nearby, and I frequently went on bike rides just to enjoy nature. I think the love of nature and being aware of the beauty of various objects had a big influence on my art.


watercolor of oranges in a silver bowl by Monika Pate

“Oranges” watercolor, 14″ x 16″


I decided to take a realistic approach, emphasizing the fascinating details, forms and textures of my subjects, especially when they are illuminated by a strong light source.


watercolor of a rock strewn river by Monika Pate

“Little Red River” watercolor, 30″ x 21″


I love how light establishes the mood of the painting. It allows me to create the strong contrast that I’m after.


watercolor of white lilies in a crystal vase by Monika Pate

“White Lilies and Crystal” watercolor, 15″ x 19″


I find inspiration everywhere. Sometimes it will be sunlight coming through the petals or leaves of a plant. Other times, it is a beautiful crystal vase that came from Poland, rusty doorknobs from a flea market, or objects that I brought from travels.


watercolor of a pile of rusty doorknobs by Monika Pate

“No Entry” watercolor, 30″ x 22″


When I started creating art, I also started noticing and appreciating details that often get ignored. While teaching classes and workshops, I constantly hear the same comment from my students, “I can see it now, after you pointed it out!” It makes me happy that I can help students discover something new and exciting to use in their own art.


watercolor of a crystal chess set by Monika Pate

“Board Meeting” watercolor, 30″ x 22″


I love the luminosity and transparency of watercolor, and preserve the white areas of the watercolor paper rather than using white opaque paint. I also rarely use black. Typically, I mix my own variations of black and this process allows me to create more depth and interest in my paintings.


Artist Monika Pate in her studio

Artist Monika Pate in her studio


My goal in my paintings is to create strong contrasts, with depth and rich colors. My painting technique involves applying multiple layers of pigments. I really enjoy using this layering technique to develop details and to explore a variety of textures and colors.


Artist Monika Pate invites you to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


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  1. This is the style I am so drawn to! Love, love, love your work.

    • Mary Ellen,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it. I really love the realistic approach and watercolor has been my favorite medium for almost 27 years 🙂

  2. One of the best watercolorists today! Bravo!

    • Hi Greta,

      Thank you so much! You are very kind and I really appreciate your nice comment about my art. I love watercolor and it means a lot to me when I hear such a nice feedback 🙂

  3. Your paintings are very realistic looking and beautiful. The one with the chess pieces are wonderful It reminds me of the show “Queens Gammit”.

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