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: Fervent (& small, affordable printmaking press alternatives)

On my youtube channel, one of the most frequent comments left on printmaking tutorials is how to print without a press. A press is an expensive investment, and they’re heavy, with a large footprint that’ll take up 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 intaglio style prints is a lot of work, fickle in nature, and it might be so challenging for beginners that they lose interest in printmaking.  We all need successes in the studio …[Continue reading]

9
Feb

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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]

13
Jan

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Monotype: Winter Sunlight (Artist Goals – Art Studio Planning – Part II)

This is part II of plotting your artist goals for the new year. In the last post, we reviewed what we did (and didn’t) do in 2016 to inspire adjustments for 2017. Did you crave more art-making last year?  Creative output happens if  you 1) reserve time & 2) give art your full, uncluttered focus. Art doesn’t usually chase you down. It’s up to each of us to pursue art. We’re more apt to prioritize emptying the dishwasher over sketching, or surfing social media instead of finishing that still life painting.  Those activities are fine, but if you didn’t get enough art-making in 2016, you might fare better to reserve time …[Continue reading]

11
Jan

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Linocut: Dozing (Artist Goals; Looking Back to Go Forward – Part 1)

What are your artist goals for 2017? How did they work for you in 2016? A review of what’s behind us is helpful for planning what’s in front of us, especially if we want to steer towards new and improved pathways, right? You could cross the length of the pool in front of you by just swimming, but it’s more efficient (& fun) to kick off the wall behind you for a decisive start. If you’re inclined to mutter about what you didn’t finish into an end-of-the-year tea cup of disappointment, perhaps a review of last year while drafting a plan for this year would be a perfectly swell …[Continue reading]

20
Dec

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Watercolor: Egg Timer (& traveling with watercolors)

I mentioned in the last post that I recently returned from a week of travel, and I took watercolors on the trip. The little study above was painted on the plane on the way home. Five hours goes by much faster when you’re painting & listening to an audio book (I’m listening to and *loving* this one – I don’t want it to end). And after making art on airplanes for a few years now (see this post, this one and this one) I can confirm that knowing you’re stuck in that seat for the duration of the flight forces your art-making mind to S.L.O.W. down and …[Continue reading]

12
Dec

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Watercolor: Chocolate with Aloha ( & moleskine travel sketching)

I’m back in the studio after a week-long vacation with family. The moleskine watercolor above was inspired by the decadent dessert my husband and I shared towards the end of the trip. Taking a small slice of time to relax with people I love in the middle of a tightly packed holiday season might be my new Tradition. Sitting in the sun near children laughing in the pool, sketching in my moleskine and sipping iced tea – while listening to Christmas music – was a bit surreal, but it gave time to ponder the impact of staying in the moment, not thinking about upcoming To-Do’s, and slowing the holiday pace enough to fully enjoy …[Continue reading]

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