4
Dec

LaSorgueMarketDay-Art

Mixed Media – Sur la Sorgue Sunday Market

Loss and Perspective Loss puts a magnifying glass on the concept of time. A sweet, kind, joyfully positive friend of mine died last month. Grief and good memories shared with a community of people who loved her has been a salve on my bereaved heart. Making art and planning new paintings helps enormously too. She would like that part; planning and being excited for all things related to Potential. What Do We Say? Knowing what to say to a family suffering a loss is challenging.  Feelings get tangled in social skill hiccups, bereavement diplomacy, and the delicate balance of expressing your grief in …[Continue reading]

14
Nov

firenzecucina72

Firenze Cucina – Watercolor and Making Art More Often

Surrounded by Shortcuts As a painter and printmaker, I enjoy things that require steps or process. I also like to garden and cook for those same sequential rhythms. Working with my hands is meditative. Years ago, as a newbie attending an artist’s dessert potluck, I made cookies from a recipe that – to me – has just the right amount of crispy and chewy. One of the artists quipped “Oh gawd, you didn’t MAKE those, did you? Well, you’re new here. We all buy cookies! You’ll figure it out and follow suit shortly.” I offered her a cookie. She loved it, and muttered …[Continue reading]

2
Nov

HilltopCottageStudy13.5x7.72

Watercolor Sketch – Cranberry Cottage (and color studies, and 10,000 YouTube Subs)

Simplify Before Committing Back in the day, when I quizzed established artists about best practices towards making art full time, the sculptor Ron Pekar gave me a great tip. He suggested limbering up by painting small studies in watercolor as though they would be cut into simplified wooden puzzles. Ron said beginner painters want to paint every leaf, branch and flower on complex landscape scenes, because we don’t trust the viewer to fill in the missing shapes. New painters want to copy detail, instead of painting a scene artistically, because we haven’t practiced editing, which is key to moving away from documentation and towards …[Continue reading]

23
Oct

saturdaymorningsleepin72

Watercolor: Saturday Morning Sleep-In (and painting the figure in watercolor)

Drawn to the Figure Do you paint or draw figurative work? I’ve been doodling and drawing figures and faces since grade school. I can’t articulate why my affinity leans so strong for figurative subjects, but even when I commit to a still life series, I’m easily swayed midstream to paint a figurative piece. I really love other genres and subjects, but I suspect the muscle-memory of my figurative art reflex resides somewhere deep in my monkey brain. 🐵 Inspired by Degas The Morgan Library & Museum in New York had an exhibit five years ago on Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917). Thanks to …[Continue reading]

19
Oct

studyfortulipsandstarfishandowls

Watercolor Sketch: Tulips and Starfish (and painting watercolors on a plane)

Painting on a Plane I just got home from Annapolis, Maryland. I grew up in and love the East Coast, and our kids used to be stationed in far away places, so long flights are a familiar event for us. That’s how painting or drawing became my inflight cocktail. Do you find art-making to work for you too, on long flights? With a small watercolor kit, and a good audiobook lilting into my earbuds, a trip across the continent goes by lickety-split fast. I had the middle seat on the plane – both there and back, but it didn’t matter, as long as …[Continue reading]

10
Oct

Scouting for Tulip Petals 7x7 inch collagraph

Collagraph: Scouting for Tulip Petals (& Art Groups on Facebook)

Making Art with Other People Make art more often by joining a group, taking a class or scheduling your creative time with fellow artists. A schedule makes you accountable, and anticipation from art-minded friends expecting you to show up can be the right kick in the pants to Get Things Done. So Many Artists tell me they don’t create often enough. Self-doubt, time management, life/work-conflicts, and health issues are mortar in the block walls. And then there is the subtly squirmy discomfort with working alone. We know that making art is a solo endeavor, so that can be part of the culprit.  If this …[Continue reading]

4
Oct

paintinginthecanyon72

Watercolor: Painting in the Canyon (& gift ideas for artists who paint outdoors/travel )

Painting Outdoors is not Easy I have talented friends who paint outdoors in fields, meadows and beaches here in California.  I admire their ability to make beautiful art while tracking slipping sunlight & shadows, fending off cows, swatting mosquitoes, and keeping their easels from poking an ant hill. Plein air painting is a courageous endeavor. So is the urban sketching movement; it’s not easy to draw in a garden or the subway with people watching over your shoulder, dispensing advice on your work-in-process, and waxing poetic about their great aunt Harriet who used to paint daisies on canvas shoes. The Right Tools for the Job …[Continue reading]

2
Oct

nested11x1772

Watercolor – Nested (and my Patreon page)

Nourish your Creative Self Advice for Life Thank goodness brilliant minds take time to document ideas, creations and formulas. Especially these days, with storm clouds all around. Where would we be without the written word, or art supplies? You and I have the option to pour over the masterful conclusions scribbled and painted by smart people who lived centuries before us. Populations have previously wrung their hands, knit their brows and scribbled solutions toward figuring things out. We probably don’t need to sit in a foggy slump, stained by events we can’t control, or stuck on a problem. Let’s try taking a deep breath, …[Continue reading]

22
Sep

wintergeraniums18x2472

Monotype: Winter Geraniums (when art is inspired by family photos)

Do you Paint from Family Photos? The reference photo for the art above was snapped in the mid 1970’s, in the rural Connecticut home my father grew up in. My grandparents bought & renovated the house in 1944, when it had already lived a full life as Old Meadowbrook Farm – a Country Inn and gladiola farm in the late 1800’s. This monotype, in it’s beginnings, with my reference photo on the right. The image was drawn in water-soluble crayon on a sheet or prepared plexiglass, and printmaking inks were painted in layers on the plexi. Images are Already Familiar The view of rolling …[Continue reading]

19
Sep

les.terrasses.du.bassin12x16.72sml

Tips for Supplies – Travel Watercolors – and the cafe Les Terrasses

Traveling with Watercolors I see lots of great art supplies in the travel totes of my plein air friends and the artists I follow in the urban sketching movement. While packing for a trip to Provence with WorkshopsinFrance.com,  I tested light-weight, small watercolor sets to cajole my affinity for art-making on airplanes, in hotel rooms, on sailboats, and in gardens. Are you thinking about drawing or painting on an upcoming trip? Here’s a list (below) of the supplies I keep handy for roaming, with links. (Note, some of the links are affiliates, so if you make a purchase, I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost …[Continue reading]

10
Sep

marigolderuption10.5x11.75.72

Watercolor: Marigold Eruption and a video on John Singer Sargent

What to Paint Next I snapped a flurry of photos for painting ideas a few weeks ago. When I uploaded them to my computer, the composition on a few of them – especially as seen in thumbnail format (very helpful) – seemed just right for a little watercolor exercise.  I’ve loved window light in roomscapes like this since I was a child, and I reveled to paint another version of this appealing play of brights and darks in geometry composition.  There’s plenty of learning challenges in trying to see & render values and temperatures that convey a relaxed, invitational atmosphere.  Do you see how …[Continue reading]

7
Sep

cruisingCalifornia126.6x6.300

Watercolor: Cruising California Rt 126 and Inspired by Sketching Artists

How Many Times a Week Do You Sketch? Hi y’all, I’ve got some links for you related to sketching, drawing and doodling inspiration. Do you want to draw and sketch more often? (I mentioned this goal in a previous post here.)  I’ve been trying to sketch in the evenings – whether I’m sitting with my Mister, or in a gaggle of friends and family sprawled on someone’s couch. Arm yourself with a two-ingredient plan;  a pencil and a sketchpad.  Draw what’s in front of you, or tuck a few reference photos into your sketchpad.  You can still chat and listen while your pencil …[Continue reading]

31
Aug

studyforchateauneuf8x8.72

Leonardo Da Vinci book review and a Watercolor Study from Provence

Making Art Before we had Books I just finished listening to a book tracing the history of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of Vitruvian Man.  If your art includes the figure, and you’re interested in the history of learning, check it out here. Toby Lester begins with the Roman military engineer, Vitruvius (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC), who authored ten volumes of architecture analysis.  Imagine – ten books describing (in hand-written latin) the constructive and aesthetic analysis of arches, columns, aqueducts, bridges and harbors – without a single illustration –  no diagrams, photos or drawings. With a scant 30-40% literacy at …[Continue reading]

Site by Spunmonkey