22
Feb

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Inspired by Bonnard – Painting Interior Scenes in Watercolor

Reading Chair Summons 9.5×12.5 Watercolor and Graphite over paper (available in my Etsy Shop) In the Car with Bonnard I’m still thinking about, and staring at Pierre Bonnard. (If you missed the previous posts on my current muse, you can read them here and here.) I’m leaning into painting interior scenes in watercolor after looking at Bonnard’s untroubled vignettes from around the garden, and inside the bathroom and kitchen of his home. His colorful paintings pull me into them. (Subscribe to this blog.) Building values with layers of glazed watercolor Interior, Pierre Bonnard Glad You’re Here, C’mon in! Bonnard paints the people he …[Continue reading]

20
Feb

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Watercolor Portrait – and Combating Discouragement After a Failed Painting

Intermission 12×16 Graphite and Watercolor on paper (available in my Etsy Shop here) Flipping Feelings of Discouragement I start every piece of art with sparkly goals and bubbly excitement for What-it-Could-Be. My favorite part of every painting is The Beginning. Frequently, the last brush stroke is steeped in a whirlpool of feeling bummed that it didn’t come out the way I envisioned it in my mind, buoyed with an attaboy that I finished. The end of the art is not even close to the excitement of the beginning. Building layers of transparent watercolor (also known as glazing) – and adding items that invite …[Continue reading]

15
Feb

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Learning Color and Composition from Bonnard

Looking for a Map 8×6 graphite and Watercolor on paper Look Around You Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was a french painter inspired by the rooms in his home, his yard and the people in his life. I can relate to this close-proximity of inspiration – the sense that everything worth painting is within arm’s reach around you. I especially love that his homes were very simple and somewhat plain, but his paintings of those rooms are a kaleidoscope of wild colors. Adding transparent glazes of watercolor over the graphite The Dressing Table – Pierre Bonnard Up Close, and Far Away Have you ever seen …[Continue reading]

13
Feb

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Graphite, Watercolor and Colored Pencil Portrait: Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time 9.5 x 8.5 Mixed Media portrait in Graphite, Watercolor and Colored Pencil (available in my Etsy Shop here) For the Love of Words Have you ever staged a painting based on a series of images? I have a collection of inspiring art saved in a few categories on Pinterest, and one of them features readers. I love books (I’m listening to this one right now), and the escape to other places, with imagined people, with their loves, longings, humor, and fate is such a great pleasure for me. The magic of words and writers, and the worlds they paint …[Continue reading]

11
Feb

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Watercolor & Pastel – Gold Line in Little Tokyo

Gold Line – Little Tokyo 8×8 Watercolor & Pastel on paper (sold) Using Photos from Friends in Art  I’m fortunate to have very generous family and friends when it comes to artists’ visuals.  My tribe sends me images to paint all the time. They might be walking along a street in New York, or eating croissants in a cafe in Provence, France, and voila! I get a text with images, or an email with attachments. The good little eggs in my life are so kind. A gaggle of people sending bits of color and shadow, or an angled street scene, or light curling around a …[Continue reading]

23
Jan

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Mango Reading Chair and Finding More Time to Paint

Mango Reading Chair 16×12 watercolor on paper (available here) Incremental Art-Making Painting in short increments can solve your Not Enough Time to Make Art quandary. I talk about this in my free course Six Tips to Paint More, and I live by, and believe in this approach. When you’re just starting out, knowing how much time you need to make some art can be a guess, or a preconceived falsehood. If all you have is 20 minutes here, and 40 minutes there, take those slots, and make something in them. I’ve marked the dates I worked on the watercolor in this post in …[Continue reading]

18
Jan

In the Land of Basil

Making Art vs Making Airplanes

In the Land of Basil 8.5 x 8 ” pencil and watercolor sketch Productive over Perfect Fact: Perfectionism crushes creativity.  An effective way to recover from perfectionism is to start creating. That might seem counter-intuitive, but it follows the same contrarian path towards recovery as other challenging situations. Heartbroken over the end of a relationship? Go volunteer, and give of yourself. That outward act of generosity can backfill your internal noodling of sad thoughts. The good light of giving that you’re shining on the world contradicts the dark weight of your heart’s woes. Car broken into, and something stolen? Buy yourself a cup …[Continue reading]

16
Jan

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Painting Small Portraits and Figure Studies in Watercolor

Painting Faces and Portraits in Watercolor Do you enjoy sketching and doodling faces in watercolor? I know some of you do, since I follow your blogs and the work you post on social media. I was talking to another artist friend about the pleasure, and the power of doodling the human form – both faces and the figure – as well as isolated facial features. We can all use a bit more practice in this area, right? Have you ever filled a sketchpad page with little thumbnails of facial features, expressions, or angles of the head? Want to give it a try? Oh …[Continue reading]

14
Jan

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Making a Silk Aquatint: The Captain’s Cabin

Silk Aquatint Experiments What’s a Silk Aquatint?  This previous post covers the mechanics of how silk aquatints work, and some of the materials used.  Let me show you more details here so you can build one yourself. Silk Aquatint is a form of printmaking that’s considered an intaglio print – that is – you’re printing from the recessed areas of the plate’s matrix, where ink is hunkered down, after wiping the uppermost surface of the plate clear. In order to get paper to dip down into those tiny spaces in the screen of the silk where it will pick up your ink, printing via an …[Continue reading]

10
Jan

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Be Inspired to make Small Drawing and Painting Studies

Small Drawing and Painting Studies After last week’s post,  you sent some lively emails questioning the definition of a small drawing or painting study, and how exactly does it serve an artist? Some of us like to just Dive Right In. I get it. But stay with me for a moment; think of sketching and painting small studies as a strategic planning session for the board of directors that is your art-brain. By working small and quick on the basics: shape, values, composition, cropping, and editing (what to keep, what to remove), you’re making decisions to preserve the best parts of a scene, …[Continue reading]

7
Jan

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Using a Grid to Sketch Small Studies and Improve Drawing Skills

It’s a New Month Happy January! Hopefully, in between holiday clean up, and taking stock of the year from the rear view mirror, you’re also swinging a telescope forward to anticipate the future heft of art supplies in your hands, right? There are work surfaces to clear, and pigments to sort, and sketch pads to flip through while reflecting on the creative goals imagined for the year ahead of us, yes?  I’m practically jumping up and down with relief at the thought of getting back to work. I crave the comfort in the familiar rhythm of Routine. Let’s get into it. Using a …[Continue reading]

29
Dec

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Light Field Monotype: Monterey Retreat

What’s a Monotype? A few posts back – the one about printmaking ink I accidentally left on a monotype plate for several weeks – I got a flurry of questions about monotypes. So let’s review, shall we? Monotypes are a printmaking method that don’t require carving, engraving, acid or solvents, and depending on your approach and materials, you don’t need a press to print them. Images are simply painted onto a smooth plate, and while the pigments are still wet, the plate is pressed firmly against a sheet of paper. When the paper is pulled from the plate, the inks and paints have been …[Continue reading]

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