20
Apr

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Watercolor – Overture from the Sky – and Five Tips to Make You Comfortable Exhibiting & Talking About Your Art

Five tips to help make you comfortable presenting your Art to the Public I’ll be driving south for the San Diego Artwalk in a week. Standing in a booth with my art, surrounded by 350 other artists and 100,000 people is a pendulum swing of contrast from the usual artists’ solitude in the studio. Like an athlete pre-visualizing for a game, I’m framing art this week, scribbling notes about booth layout, and thinking about about everything from logistics to conversations.  Being prepared before presenting your art to the public makes these shows mangeable and fun to attend. I’ve been attending the San Diego …[Continue reading]

16
Apr

Learning to Love Books, Monotype with watercolor & colored pencil

Monotype Printmaking – Learning to Love Books, and a monotype video from MOMA

Making Art in Public Places For a few years, I exhibited watercolors and printmaking for a month at a time at Descanso Gardens in La Canada, California. Plant aficionados, trail hikers, botanists, beekeepers, school bus field trips and runners frequent the camellia forest there. I liked working on watercolors and printmaking in the gallery, because the gardens are incredibly quiet (the word descanso translates to a place of rest), the grounds are beautiful and it gave me an opportunity to discuss art making process with visitors. A Primer on Monotype Many of the folks I met at the gardens had a pleasantly vague …[Continue reading]

10
Apr

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Monotype: Gold Mining and Tips for Making Art after Moving

How Does Moving Affect Your Art? In a recent newsletter (you can read it here), I described an impromptu art-making party in the temporary home of a friend who lost her house and studio in the Thomas Fire. Four of us gathered around a folding banquet table with borrowed chairs and tote bags full of art supplies to cast a creative spell, and inaugurate the space that will be Didi’s art studio. Making Art in Unfamiliar Spaces How does one get back to art-making after the upheaval of a move? When the layout of the art room, and storage of supplies is opposite …[Continue reading]

21
Mar

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Monotype: Solar Flare (and supporting research for a cure for Alzheimer’s)

Monotype Ghost Prints My love-affair with monotypes continues with this floral still life, painted on a very faint ghost print.  I’m considering a monotype workshop in my new online school – http://www.belindatips.com – with particular attention to making monotypes without a press. Would you be interested in such a thing? Inspiring Monotype Art Here are some links to artists making painterly monotypes, specifically with watercolor (as opposed to the traditional, oil based printmaking inks). A few beauties by Edgar Degas, Paul Dougherty and Maurice Prendergast at the Cleveland Museum. Debra LePage’s watercolor monotypes, printed from yupo paper Heidi Fourie’s soft, tonal portraits in watercolor …[Continue reading]

14
Mar

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Collagraph: Morocco (making a collagraph with mat board and construction paper)

What Inspires Your Art? I’ve always felt riveted by and drawn to the art, architecture and cultural styles of Morocco. Their particular flavor of color, detail and design is stunning. I have books on Orientalist paintings (this one is a favorite) that make me swoon with their painterly renderings of embellished walls, tiled floors, colored glass lanterns, and hand-printed fabrics. On My Art Library Book Shelves There are several painters whose work in these regions projected my affinity to new heights, like this one by John Singer Sargent, and this one by Frederick Arthur Bridgman (I have his book Winters in Algeria), or this …[Continue reading]

5
Mar

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Watercolor Sketch – Hide and Seek (and artsy links for you)

Indulge in Brevity I’m much obliged this week so this is brief; I have two great links for you, and a reminder.  Oh, and a question. And a watercolor sketch (above) of a corner in my kitchen with alstroemeria in the sunshine, and my neighbor’s adorable little red house playing hide and seek with the flowers around the window-frame. Press the Refresh Button Okay, so we’re in March already, and by now, resolutions for your increased creative output this year may have been rolled over to next week and next month by encroaching events on the calendar. Capiche? I feel your pain(t). But …[Continue reading]

27
Feb

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Monotype: Untethered Cultivar, inspired by John Everett Millais’ Ophelia

How do you make a monotype? Monotypes are a very painterly form of printmaking. There’s no carving into the plate, no materials glued to the plate, and nothing applied to the plate’s smooth surface, beyond pigment. Inks can be rolled on the plate for full coverage with a brayer, and then removed with q-tips and scrapers to create an image in a subtractive process. This is called a dark field monotype, since you’re starting with a completely covered (or dark) plate. Dark Field vs Light Field You can also paint your image on the plate in a direct, additive manner, which is called …[Continue reading]

22
Feb

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Watercolor: Mermaid Intern (and Beginning Watercolor)

Pick a Tough One Watercolor is a challenging medium if you dive into it for the first time without any direction.  It’s famous for artist-to-media break-ups and proclamations like “Oh, I tried watercolor once, and it came out AWFUL!”  The pigments re-wet after drying, many colors stain paper, making a need to lighten a passage almost impossible, it dries lighter than it looks when wet, and white sections of your final design are usually void of any pigment; the white of the paper has to be preserved in the painting plan.  But don’t hurt yourself trying to figure her out. Watercolor is just …[Continue reading]

14
Feb

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Watercolor: Study for Sage and Cider (and some great links and upcoming art festivals)

Springtime is the beginning of art festival season for me, and I hope you’ll gather art-loving friends and stroll in the sunshine to say hello if you’re near either of these two events: San Diego Artwalk: April 28 & 29, 11:00am-6:00pm Little Italy, San Diego, California This will be my 10th year exhibiting at this beautifully organized and artist-friendly festival. It’s on the water, and in the midst of the main area of Little Italy where all the restaurants and coffee shops are, so it’s a lovely place to stroll, and eat, and be inspired. Sierra Madre Art Fair: May 5 & 6, …[Continue reading]

5
Feb

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Watercolor: Flirting (and why you should Exhibit Your Art)

Exhibit Your Art If you’re a beginning artist, it’s incredibly daunting to exhibit your art on a blog or on social media for the public to view, judge, or critique. But it’s important, and here are some encouraging reasons why. Pretend we’re having tea on a porch somewhere surrounded by majestic pine trees – serenaded by birdsong – and squinty rays of sunlight while we discuss this over a bowl of blueberries. Artists make art to Express. And Share. Artistic expression is a release, a purge of the heart, an assortment of poetic visual statements about how you see the world. Artistic sharing is …[Continue reading]

24
Jan

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Watercolor: Wheat of Zeus (and links to encourage creativity to soften loss)

Painting on a Plane This petite watercolor study was painted while in flight over the ocean, using a reference photo of the sill in my room while I was in college at UMASS a few decades ago. The same couple of photos from this wintery, persimmon and whiskey decanter sunny afternoon have inspired prints and paintings before (here and here).  There’s something nostalgic and life-surveying to paint from photos snapped a long time ago. Have you ever used your own family photos, or your grandparents’ vintage photos as references for art-making? Comparing Watercolor Travel Palettes I tested the Van Gogh Pocket Box watercolor …[Continue reading]

4
Jan

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Watercolor: Vanilla Sun – and a month after the Thomas Fire

Flexing Our Composition Muscles While experimenting with the camera on my phone, I snapped a flurry of photos around the house to exercise my composition muscle. When I upload the photos to my computer, I’m always surprised. Looking at vignettes as a row of little thumbnails makes it easier to find impactful compositions, because I can’t get distracted by the details. With a little cropping here and there, a few of them were just right for watercolors.  Do you harvest painting subjects this way too? Do you walk through your home when the sunlight is slanted and bright, looking for ideas?  If not, …[Continue reading]

19
Dec

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Collagraph – Garden Watch (and artist’s perspective via fire)

Grab Your Colored Pencils Colored pencils provide immediate, no fuss, easy-peasey art making on the fly. Even if you’re traveling, it doesn’t take much to pull out a handful of colored pencils and a sketchbook to make something fun and meditative. In lieu of a sketchbook, I worked on a collagraph this week, and it was splendidly calming, despite the chaos. And speaking of disruption, thank you to everyone who left wonderful emails, comments and messages on social media about the fire. We are all hiking towards normal.   Courage The air quality here still requires a respirator, and the ash and soot …[Continue reading]

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