21
Mar

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Collagraph: Sink at the Old Mill Inn (& wrestling with indecision)

I stayed at The Old Mill Inn – a Bed & Breakfast in Hatfield, Massachusetts a few years ago to attend a wedding. The Mill and the landscape around it is rich with painting & drawing inspiration, so I snapped reference photos as often as I blinked.  This little sink was in my room, and I loved the nostalgia and charm of the lace curtain, the light and the mirror (see the reference photo below).  It reminded me of staying with my grandparents as a kid, in their rambling old colonial house with creaking wide plank floors, stone fireplaces and hand-hewn ceiling beams. If the walls …[Continue reading]

19
Mar

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Watercolor: Tea House (& naming your art)

Descanso Gardens is in La Canada, California. The grounds boast 34,000 camellia shrubs, 25 acres of California Oak trees, 3000 roses and paved pathways throughout the 160 acre property. (If you listen to audiobooks, you might consider listening to a book like this one while walking through a public garden or hiking a trail.)  There is a lovely orange moon bridge leading to the tea house, and this was one of a handful of watercolors that pleasantly sprouted from my time exhibiting in the gardens a decade ago. At the time, I loathed coming up with titles for my art. I usually settled for a subject title, like this one above …[Continue reading]

7
Mar

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Drawing: Vin (inspired to draw more)

I want to sketch & draw more this year. I’ve commanded this to my art-making brain in years past, but as weeks ticked by on the calendar, other priorities elbowed the notion into a dark cupboard.  Very frustrated – by my very own self.  I follow the Canadian artist Marc Taro Holmes. He features tips and tricks (& fantastic art) related to urban sketching. A few weeks ago, he did a live sketch event on facebook, using the app Sktchy. See below. On Sktchy, artists upload photos of themselves in a queue, and you have permission to draw or paint them, digitally or traditionally. Being artists, the selfie …[Continue reading]

2
Mar

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Watercolor: Mexican Breakfast

This watercolor was inspired by a photo snapped after a whirlwind trip to Mexico City in the early 1980’s. The breakfast table was set in the early morning sun with newly acquired, hand thrown pottery, hand woven placemats, an antique weather vane, a ribbed tea pot, painted tile coasters, and a clay folklore figurine playing imaginary tunes from the sidelines. (The cat was added to the scene later, just because.) I’ve drawn, painted and carved woodcuts from this scene, and I love the bands of light and shadow dissecting the place settings across the table. Mexican Breakfast was painted on Arches Hot Press paper, and since I …[Continue reading]

24
Feb

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Watercolor: You Can See the Stars from Here (& creating before consuming)

A daily schedule with habitual, obligatory segments is something I associate with grade school, corporate offices and cats. But even still, I crave a creative routine. As an artist, my internal compass is calibrated towards distraction and mental-wanderings. I have Super-Hero-Skills in the fine art of Not-Finishing. (Here’s a great article about why we don’t finish things, and strategies for fixing that.)  My random pirouetting through life bewilders my engineer-husband.  My uninformed-but-ardently-thought-about theory is that perhaps artists need some routine to bracket all the meandering, so we don’t trip and fall off the planet. Little mazes of structure in each day are like protective sand-bag berms around floods of creative twirling. If I start the day …[Continue reading]

22
Feb

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Watercolor: Ranunculus (& encouragement to jump into your art)

Years ago (before social media), an accomplished art instructor gave me a lecture about being industrious in the art world. He said if you collected all the abundantly talented artists in America, you might populate the island of Manhattan in New York. If you removed the artists who didn’t prioritize practicing their craft, and the artists who were too “thin-skinned” to handle rejection and criticism, and the artists who lacked the social skills or desire to meet patrons, and talk about their work, and the artists who couldn’t focus or stay on-task to meet deadlines, or work in series, you might reduce that group to …[Continue reading]

15
Feb

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Linocut: Dapper Lab Dog Art

There’s a shiny black lab who insists on sharing my cheese and crackers when we hang out. It’s impossible to resist cracker division with this big love of a lap dog, and it gives me opportunities for surreptitious snapshots to make art. I’ve sent one of these linocut prints (an edition of 10) in lieu of a modeling fee. It’s a good thing when artists take care of their models. Modeling in exchange for cracker bits and artwork. 🙂 If you’re new to watercolor, and you get a creased-brow standing in front of the watercolor paper options at an art store (in person or online), I …[Continue reading]

13
Feb

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Drypoint Printmaking: Fervent (& small, affordable printmaking press alternatives)

On my youtube channel, one of the most frequent comments left on printmaking tutorials is how to make art prints and printmaking without a press. A press is an expensive investment, and they’re heavy, with a large footprint that’ll take up quite a bit of floor space in a room.  There are also many to choose from, so it’s understandable that beginning printmakers are overwhelmed. There are workarounds for some printmaking methods (relief/block prints), but not all of them. Hand transfer of drypoint engravings, etchings and intaglio style prints is a lot of work, fickle in nature, and it might be so challenging for beginners that they lose …[Continue reading]

9
Feb

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Printmaking Drypoint: Cat Cot (& a tutorial video on drypoint printmaking from mylar drafting film)

A  drypoint-from-drafting-film printmaking experiment resulting in the art above is posted on my youtube channel. You can make a drypoint engraving on matte finish mylar – or drafting film – and print an edition so you can paint each one in a different palette with watercolor, gouache, colored pencil or your media du jour. Try tracing a figure study from a sketchbook  (like I did below) onto a small sheet of matte finish Dura-Lar drafting film, and then scribe the line-work with an etching needle.  Ink the mylar, wipe & print… voila. 🙂 The resulting print in this experiment was terrifically sketchy. (My technical art terminology works best …[Continue reading]

7
Feb

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Woodcut: Communion (and 4 tips to crush distraction & get back to making art)

Are you wrestling with distraction? Do you have a pile of reference material and inspiration you’ve been saving for a decade, waiting to be used to ignite new work?  Here are four tips to get you back to making instead of procrastinating. 1. Read this article (4 minutes) about reigning in your focus and combatting distraction so you can be productive “Negative emotions are regarded as threats by our brain, inhibiting our ability to do other cognitive work.” ~Elle Kaplan That quote is from the article linked above, citing a University of Michigan study.  It speaks to a need for awareness and intention to captain our ships around …[Continue reading]

31
Jan

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Monotype: Dandelion Wind (& praise for notebooks in the studio)

The ideas I have for new watercolor paintings, woodcuts, monotypes, drypoints and tutorial videos are swelling to burst. I’ve got concepts piled high enough in my cranial attic to make a hoarder proud, and I can’t wait to get started. But it won’t be this week, or even next week, because other priorities need to be juggled. In the meantime, I’m writing it all down. I’ve almost filled a new notebook with a braintrust of ideas, concepts, colorways, narrative series, and methods. Do you scribble ideas as soon as they arrive? Much of my life hums along efficiently in digital format – I spend a good part of …[Continue reading]

23
Jan

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Woodcut: Artemis (Diana) (& finding your style by mimicking others)

Available – in my Etsy Shop I purchased Shane Weller’s book (Dover Publications) on German Expressionist Woodcuts in the mid-90’s, and it’s been an excellent source of inspiration when I need to make something impactful, unfussy – and different from the style & subject of what I normally carve. The book features excellent, full page examples of woodcuts from Kollwitz, Beckmann, Zitzewitz and Kirchner, etc. Those images lead me to research other artists from the early 1900’s – all of them gouging striking, impactful visions into planks of wood, and printing them to paper with dark passages of ink. With anywhere-access to research via the …[Continue reading]

20
Jan

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Woodcut: Bergamo Window (& encouragement to use time wisely)

Do you use time wisely? Are you making new stuff? And sharing your art on social media? Are you using free segments in your crammed schedule to your best advantage for creativity, exposure and community-building? Or do you surf around “for inspiration”, killing time that might be better spent making something? As Tim Gunn says: Make it work. And as Dr. Larch says to Homer throughout the John Irving book The Cider House Rules: Be of Good Use. I’m writing this post to myself. #fingerwagging For Pete’s sake, don’t let your wandering artist’s eye guide your only spare hour! Convince and cajole that meandering mosey back to your art …[Continue reading]

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