24
Apr

Swallowtail  29 x 21 watercolor on paper

Watercolor: Swallowtail (And thoughts on Artists & Loneliness)

I’ve been working in shorter fits and starts this year, because, you know, life is full.  I’m relatively efficient at the transition between calamity of boisterous family time & social events, and the submarine dive into alone art-making in the studio, even if only for an hour. With family, a social life, new-projects and the business side of being an artist, studio time can get pretty squeezed if I’m not careful to prioritize it, and press it like quick-drying grout between the tiles of space on my calendar. I’m sure many of you reading this are experts at this shuffling. When I first considered art full time, I worked …[Continue reading]

18
Apr

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Drypoint Engraving: Asleep in Rome (& You’re absolutely a Creative)

You’re a Creative Person too I just had a chat with my neighbor about creativity. I talk about being creative a lot at art festivals and social mixers.  When someone asks what I do, and I say “I’m an artist.”, my new acquaintance usually turns wistful, and replies: “Oh, it must be so wonderful to be creative. I wish I was a creative person, but I can barely draw a stick figure.”  Why does art get the pinnacle position under the heading Creative? Isn’t it creative to be a gardener, or a cook, or a quilter? Isn’t it creative to raise a family? What about people with …[Continue reading]

13
Apr

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Monotype: Keyhole to Springtime (& finishing what you started)

I started this monotype in my previous studio about three years ago.  Yep, that’s a thousand days, people. I’m predictable in my art-making process; I get *so* excited to start! The early stages of making put me in a fevered flow state.  While happily playing with color and shape, I don’t feel hunger, fatigue, or distraction. I’m a comic book superhero art-making machine. And then, I stall. After all the excited beginnings, I eventually get to a place where I have to make big decisions that will either kill or strengthen the art. I’ve written about the trouble with Pride and Ego in art making, and I think about …[Continue reading]

10
Apr

mat-board-collagraph

Mat Board Collagraph Printmaking: Mama’s Day

This mat board collagraph started as a doodle (see photos of the process, with links to supplies below). I’m surrounded by young women with babies, meandering different chapters of motherhood. It’s fascinating & nostalgic & heart-warming to watch these little families grow and transform with the addition of wiggly beings.  We make art from the happenings around us, and it documents our lives in a beautiful way. What’s in your life this season that informs and enhances your art-making? If you’re interested in learning more about making a collagraph print from mat board, here’s a link to a playlist of youtube videos on my channel. You’ll find …[Continue reading]

7
Apr

still-life-in-watercolor

Watercolor: Peaches in a Mexican Bowl (& video demos from great artists)

Years ago, my friend VLB returned from a trip to Mexico and gave me this hand painted bowl supported on three little feet.  I put peaches in the bowl to ripen, and a still life watercolor sprouted from the scene. Tile counter grid-lines, back-lit peach orbs over curvy bowl shadows and watery reflections from an arbor on the patio outside all conspired to create a play on patterns.  (Photos of the process are below.) It was a fun little study for a larger painting, and inspiration beyond the painting to find & bake a good peach cobbler. 🍑     Eric Kim is an ambitious, young, talented …[Continue reading]

4
Apr

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Watercolor: Provence Cypress (& managing ego in the studio)

Hi there! I’ll be traveling in a few weeks, so I’m pondering light weight art supplies. I’ve written about the gear I use  (read that post here) at art festivals and painting workshops, but I’d love to hear what you travel with… what’s your go-to brush set, or palette? How about your fave fold-up chair, or easel? I’ll be at the San Diego Artwalk and the Sierra Madre Art Fair in back to back weekends, and then off to France the day after Sierra Madre. It’ll be a leap-frog train of destinations squeezed into ten days, so I’m list-making in earnest. Will you be in San Diego …[Continue reading]

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

TeaHouseBridge72

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

MexicanBreakfast20x15.72

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

youcanseethestarsfromhereweb

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]

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