Reiko Hervin demonstrates the watercolor pencil technique she will be teaching at a workshop June 3 in Gardnerville.Pursuit of art leads watercolorist to life-changing experience
Constance Alexander   Provided to the Reno Gazette-Journal

Reiko Hervin demonstrates the watercolor pencil technique she will be teaching at a workshop June 3 in Gardnerville.

Reiko Hervin of Smith Valley took a few art classes at Tokyo Women's College but graduated with a major in English. She then worked more than three years in an office but said she wasn't happy.

"I decided to change direction in my life, to try just one more time at something I liked but never pursued." She took all the money she had saved and enrolled in Tokyo Design School, from which she graduated with honors.

Hervin worked at a major television station in the graphic design department and also studied under one of the great masters of Japanese art for several years.

She met her husband, Kurt Hervin in 1984 at a Christmas party. He was in Japan working for an American computer company. They married in 1985, intending to live in Japan but moved to the US in 1993 to help care for his widowed mother.

The couple moved to Smith Valley in 1997 when Kurt got a job in Carson City. They have a 17-year-old son, Hiroki.

Hervin is a watercolorist whose work has been shown in New York City and has been featured in "Splash 9--Watercolor Secrets," by North Light Books. Among other awards, she won the "Best of Show" in the Nevada Artist Association competition and had a one-woman show in 1999 at the Nevada State Library and Archives in Carson City. She said she occasionally does calligraphy and some pen and ink and pencil.

Hervin said she likes to garden, and many of her floral paintings are of her own flowers. Also, she also loves to watch movies and said they are often a source of inspiration for her work.

She teaches drawing and watercolor classes and also gives private lessons. She played the piano when she was young and said she still plays a little.

Hervin was born in Yokohama, Japan, a port city with people from many other countries. Her mother and two brothers still live there. She said her parents visited Smith Valley while her father was still alive.

"They loved the area and were surprised at the distances. They enjoyed the big sky and the friendliness of strangers. That's different from Japan.

"I still love that: looking into people's eyes, smiling and saying "Hi.'"

Workshop planned

Hervin will teach a watercolor pencil workshop from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 3 at the Cooperative Extension conference room in Gardnerville. Hervin said using pencils provide the opportunity to paint quick sketches, especially nice when traveling.

Students will learn basic drawing and composition, values, color schemes and watercolor pencil technique in the morning. The afternoon will feature still life sketching and watercolor pencil painting on location.

The class fee is $45, with a $20 non-refundable deposit required by May 31. Make check payable to Reiko Hervin and mail to 11 Norton Lane, Wellington, NV 89444. Include name, address, phone number and email address. Upon receipt of deposit, Hervin will send the materials list.

For more information, contact Hervin at 775-465-1163 or

Constance Alexander is a writer, art collector and founding member of the Carson Valley Arts Council. She has lived in Carson Valley since 1977.