9
Dec

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Watercolor Sketch: Study for Cypress Viewfinder

Cleaning Up for Winter Art Projects The obstacle course that is my studio has to be dealt with. I’ve been cleaning in here for a few days, a little at a time. I can see the floor now.  Small spaces get cluttered quickly, so I use two baker’s racks to store as much as I can fit into the closet. It’s a tetris game behind closet doors. All it takes is sliding a frame out to measure it, and pulling a bin out to find a particular print, and a few more like that, and I’m bumping shins on things. I’m not complaining, …[Continue reading]

4
Dec

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Figurative Monotype – Jantzen Topper and Being a Gifted Natural vs a Determined Student

A Gifted Natural – or a Determined Student I attended a piano recital my grandkids played in last night. The performers ranged in age from about 5 to 14. The performers’ skills demonstrated everything from super beginner, first recital, barely able to reach the pedals and eek out Jingle Bells, all the way up to a classical piece played from memory with no sheet music. Praise for Effort Alone The range of proficiency, and the growth I’ve witnessed in the skills of the kids over the past few years struck me on a couple of  levels. Some of them are so young, they …[Continue reading]

2
Dec

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Watercolor: New and Notable – and Skill Building in Figurative Watercolors

Seeking Beauty to Fix a Slump When I need a boost of double-shot inspiration, I look at some of the amazing figurative watercolor artists posting their gorgeous work online. And thank goodness they’re  taking time to snap and share imagery, or video-record their process, because I rely on those “stop-me-in-my-scroll” power-boosts to shove me out of an art-making slump. Looking at work galaxies ahead of your own is inspiring to some, and overwhelming to others. Which are you? Figurative Watercolors Here’s a few figurative watercolor painters I follow on social media that make me sprint to my art supplies to get back to …[Continue reading]

29
Nov

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Sketchbook Practice – programming motivation with mini-successes

When You Used to Make Art I loved everything about art as a kid. My excitement for creativity followed me through my teens, and I doodled and dabbled with art studio courses in college. And then I got a job. Then I moved, and got another job. And life got busy, and I stopped making art. I was pretty miserable about the dust collecting on my art supplies, but I was very committed to my Have-To list while ignoring my Want-To list. My sweetheart at the time encouraged art-making with kidnapping-note newspaper cutouts surreptitiously taped to things around the house. (Thank you, BJK. XO) Despite …[Continue reading]

21
Nov

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Watercolor – Bunny’s Tutor – and What’s the Best Size for Paintings?

Does Painting Size Matter? What size do you make your art? I paint watercolors and build printmaking plates in small format. Every piece of art I ever made was under 8×10, with an occasional hurdle into 11×14 – until I started to sell at Art Festivals.  In a comment on last week’s post, Marie E. asked: How have you decided on the size of your work? I have been trying to enter some watercolor competitions… It seems that larger works are the norm. Why have you made the decision to go smaller with your work? Do you find that it sells better? Is …[Continue reading]

19
Nov

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Monotype Printmaking – Bird Watching – and some fine artists to follow

Making a Painterly Monotype Here are some process photos for making a painterly monotype with non-toxic inks from a sheet of acrylic or plexiglass. If you’re interested in diving a little deeper into printmaking and monotypes, I’ve got a series of monotype tutorial demos for you on my youtube channel here. Grab a beverage and a notebook. In each video on my channel, there is a list of supply links to everything used in the demo. Find the lists in the ‘Show More’ links under each video window. Be sure to subscribe to the channel so you don’t miss upcoming watercolor and printmaking …[Continue reading]

17
Nov

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Watercolor – Wine at Mandola Rosa – and Gift Ideas for Artists

Best Gifts for Artists If you are adamantly *not* an artist, but you have a creative friend or family member that would love an art-related gift, I’m here to help!  My own family is sprinkled with engineers, mechanical wizards, construction titans, internet security bosses, firefighters and nutrition and fitness gurus. If I set them loose in a Dick Blick art supply store, and said “Please buy me an art-flavored gift?”, they’d be utterly perplexed. They all love art, and they’re totally supportive of my artistic endeavors, but that would be akin to sending a art historian out to buy buy circuit board assembly parts.  …[Continue reading]

14
Nov

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Watercolor – Italian Door – and encouragement to photograph your life

The Power of Photos in Art & Life I’ve been fortunate to travel in Europe with my watercolors and a camera. I worked as crew for Workshops in France  during an amazing lavender field plein air excursion taught by Carol Marine in Provence. A decade before, our family went to Rome, and wore out the shutter buttons on our cameras trying to capture the atmosphere so we could take it all home in photographs.  I don’t think you have to travel far and wide to collect subjects for art, but any rendering of great fun in life done with pigments is bound to be good. At the …[Continue reading]

11
Nov

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Watercolor Sketch – Morning Musing

Lasso Your Mind, and Redirect your Focus I live 15 miles from the Hill and Woolsey Fires burning now in southern California. After our experience with high wind a year ago during the Thomas Fire, I’m not comforted by the miles. I’m scanning Fire Department tweets, social media posts from friends forced to evacuate, and two more days of Red Flag Wind warnings. And I’m looking out the window over and over again. Should the wind shift, we know what to do. We can be out of here in 10 minutes, disgruntled cat and all. And since there is nothing we can do …[Continue reading]

9
Nov

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Woodcut: Carnelian (& gift ideas for the beginner printmaker)

Gift Ideas for the for Beginner Printmaker When I started posting printmaking tutorials on my youtube channel, I got a flood of emails asking where one could buy a comprehensive starter set to try printmaking without breaking the bank. I’ve searched, and there isn’t a complete set in a box that includes all of the parts I’d recommend to try making a linocut or a woodcut for the first time. But a kit can be assembled a la carte to get you, or your beginner printmaker started on the right foot! Printmaking is a wonderful art-making method that allows the artist to print in multiples. More than …[Continue reading]

1
Nov

SecretSanctuary

Pen and Ink Drawing for Inktober – Secret Sanctuary (Flowing)

Finding Time for Inktober The challenge of sketching an ink drawing in a sketchbook every day for 30 days can be overwhelming when you already have a busy month. This year’s Inktober was no exception, but I’m glad I squeezed a few of the sketches in between other obligations. When drawing is at the front of your mind – when you’ve decided to prioritize it – reaching for your moleskine sketchbook is easier. Your sketchpad calls your name and reminds you to grab it in snippets of time when you’re sitting still; in between patrons at an art festival, on the couch with …[Continue reading]

29
Oct

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Mat Board Collagraphs – and finding your Art Cheerleaders

Who’s Cheering in Your Corner? Did you catch this blog post about how you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with? Do you have a squad of encouragers around you? Who do you call when creative block crushes your art-making mojo, or a wave of uncertainty washes over your painting or printmaking adventures? Beginning artists are more susceptible to self-doubt than seasoned, professional, gallery represented artists. The Terrible Troll of Self Doubt Self doubt is a universal cycle, so professionals struggle with it too. The difference, perhaps, is that the journeymen artist has plowed a steady, determined …[Continue reading]

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