a greyhound lounging asleep on a big arm chair

Gift Ideas for Watercolor Artists

Greyhound Lounger, watercolor (sold) What Gifts do Watercolor Artists Wish For? How do you know what to gift to a watercolor artist? Do beginner painters prefer different art supplies and art-themed gifts compared to more seasoned watercolor artists? (I don’t think so.) We artists love a slow inspection of every single aisle in an art supply store. Just the same as a quilter gets inspired by the latest prints in a fabric shop, or a stitcher swoons at the display of this season’s newest colors of embroidery floss. But if you’re not an artist, how do you get gift ideas for watercolor artists? …[Continue reading]

pet portraits in watercolor

Watercolor Portraits of Pets

Flower Chewer – watercolor on paper (sold) First, an Introduction to Jack Before we dive into painting watercolor portraits of pets, let me introduce you to our model, Jack. He chews flowers. Even if you’ve given him little pots of grass, and put your flowers up high, out of reach, he will find a way to get to them. I’ve witnessed Jack launching down a hallway to liftoff towards a fireplace mantle bedecked with a bouquet. The mantle was too narrow to land on, so he swiped – mid-air, spider man style – at the vase of flowers. He brought the vase and …[Continue reading]

a view from up above, looking down on a white bowl with two clementines with their stems and leaves intertwined

Breaking Through Creative Block

Clementines for Us, Darling? watercolor Breaking Through Creative Block How do you break through creative block? At different times in my life, I’ve felt so removed from creativity, I wasn’t sure I remembered how to hold a brush. Have you been there? Methods for breaking through creative block are well documented online. In response to the last post about adding two hours of art to each week, I got some great emails from you. A few missives were related to the sources of creative block, so let’s unfold one of them here. Sometimes its best to just pick up a brush and start …[Continue reading]

a painter displaying his oil painting in an arcade at the San Juan Capistrano Mission

How to Add Two Hours of Art to Every Week

Chesley at Capistrano 8 x 10 Watercolor on paper (sold) How to Make More Art This (above) is my friend Ron, seated, exhibiting and selling his paintings at a California Art Club exhibit held at the San Juan Capistrano Mission a long time ago. Ron was a creative executive at the Walt Disney Company at the time. Even with a demanding job, and a family, he still made time to create paintings for himself. Do you wish you had more time to make art? I suspect everyone who enjoys creativity wishes there was more room for it in each week. A rough sketch …[Continue reading]

A watercolor of a man napping under palms and trees with their trunks painted white

How to Title Landscape Art for Sale

Study for Hardwood Harem – Watercolor on paper (sold) How to Title Landscape Art for Sale I attended an opening for an exhibit I was in at the Santa Paula Art Museum. A pair of well-heeled patrons walked purposefully towards a beautiful oil painting of trees on a hill, descending into a soft focus, green valley. One said “Is that Santa Paula Canyon!? I love it!” She stopped to read the title card. “Oh, too bad… it’s some place in Colorado.” By naming the landscape after the place where she painted it, the artist may have lost a new collector. If you’ve wondered …[Continue reading]

a monotype of a greyhound

Dark Field Monotype Pet Portraits – and a video tutorial

Dark Field Monotype with watercolor and Colored Pencil: Hey, Wanna Split a Sandwich? (sold) Making Pet Portraits with Monotype Prints Dark Field Monotypes (and monoprints) work very well as a media for pet portraits. These painterly prints in their monochromatic layout act as a perfect underpainting for experiments with other media, both wet (watercolor) and dry (colored pencil or pastel, etc.) If you’d like to watch demonstrations of the process, visit my youtube channel to see this playlist of monotype lessons. Using Graphic Chemical Intaglio ink in Renaissance Black, rolled with a brayer onto a zinc plate (but you can use plexiglass, or …[Continue reading]

winterretreat1

5 Great Tools for Beginner Watercolor Artists, and Some Tips

Study for Winter Retreat 14.5 x 10.5 Watercolor on Arches Cold Press paper (sold) Tools for Beginner Watercolor Artists Beginner watercolor artists need encouragement, tips and effective tools to stay with this lovely medium. Have you ever heard someone say “I tried watercolors once, and I’m terrible, so I gave up.”? Don’t be that person. Stick with it. Watercolors need to be courted for a little while before they’ll hold hands with you. Be patient, and curious about painting with watercolors. Ask lots of questions, and spend time playing with your brushes, paper and pigments without trying to paint a specific thing. It …[Continue reading]