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Traveling with Watercolors – and a watercolor titled Galilean Moons

Galilean Moons 9.5 x 18 Watercolor (sold) Over the years of posting photos here of work in process at Art Festivals, you’ve asked about the set up I use to paint watercolors away from home. I try to keep my traveling watercolor kit small, lightweight and nimble. At festivals, I usually use an easel to accommodate face-to-face conversation with strolling visitors. If you don’t have an easel, don’t fret, because there are alternatives. I didn’t take an easel to France on either trip with workshopsinfrance.com, and it worked out beautifully with just a little preparation. Painting watercolors on an easel at the San …[Continue reading]

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Dark Field Monotype with Watercolor and Colored Pencil – San Juan Capistrano Bell

San Juan Capistrano Bell, 4 x 6 dark field monotype with watercolor and colored pencil (sold) Getting Ready to Make a Monotype This (below) is a 4 x 6 zinc plate, with beveled edges – since I’ll be printing this on a press. After rolling a smooth, thin layer of black printmaking ink on the plate, I’ll use cotton swabs, rolled paper towel pointers, blending stomps and a rubber gloved fingertip to pull ink from the plate in a subtractive process to create an image of the San Juan Capistrano Bell Tower in Southern California. Have you made one of these yet? Ready …[Continue reading]

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Monotype: Climb Back In

Climb Back In 4×6 Monotype Ghost Print with watercolor and Colored Pencil (available here) Monotype Ghost Prints If you’re new here, and unfamiliar with monotypes as a printmaking method, take a look at this post to see process shots.  Monotypes are very painterly prints, made with pigment alone (no incised lines on the plate) and they can be made in a huge variety of ways, with no press, and all sorts of media. Here is a six tutorial video playlist of monotype demonstrations for your perusal. You can also join this monotype group on Facebook to harvest examples, tips and encouragement. This is …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Birds on my Counter – and Historic Still Life props

Birds on my Counter 5×4 Watercolor on paper (sold) Artists’ Still Life Objects The cast iron birdbath curio in this petite watercolor has been rendered in enough still life paintings and printmaking projects that I’ve lost count (see examples here, and here, and here). When studying photos of artists’ studios from long ago, I search for the objects on the shelves that might be found in their paintings. It’s an artist’s game of Where’s Waldo. I wonder if the items were gifts, or happened upon, or handed down through the family. Every artist’s still life clutter has a story to tell. Do you …[Continue reading]

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Graphite Drawing: Seven

Seven 4.3 x 3.5 Graphite Drawing on Drafting Film (sold) Good to be Home I’m back from Sierra Madre Artwalk, where crowds were friendly, art was collected, and it was mostly lovely weather (it started to rain after I loaded my gear into the car to leave last night). This guy – a coastal fence lizard – spent the weekend with me in Sierra Madre, skulking around the top edge of my display panels, showing off his cool blue throat. Each morning as I opened up, there he was, scampering the display panels, hanging out above the art. I named him Cobalt. Drawing …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Tender Garden, and Artist Marketing

Tender Garden – 5.5 x 6.25 Watercolor on paper The Mystery of  Art Marketing I read your email questions asking about my enthusiasm for the upcoming course launch of Marketing Impact Academy, and why I feel the need for a business plan when I could just paint, and let the chips fall where they may. Three reasons: 1) I want to make a good living with my art. It takes more than just painting to make art into a livelihood, and I know other artists want this too. 2) I’m still using the configurations and strategies I learned in this course – almost …[Continue reading]

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Pastel Drawing – Meandering to the Sea

Meandering to the Sea 12 x 9 pastel (available here)[sold] Experimenting with Pastels In previous posts, I’ve used stick pastels on top of monotypes – inspired by Edgar Degas’ beautiful treatments of dry media over printmaking inks. But until this piece, I’ve never worked with seemingly delicate little pastel pencils. The drawing above was an experiment to use cross hatching with sharpened pastel pencils over black paper. I had so much FUN with it, I couldn’t wait to end the day, and grab a glass of wine and my lap desk on the couch to continue. Have you tried this before? (Pastel pencils …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Waiting to Retrieve

Waiting to Retrieve 11 x 4 watercolor (cropped) [Sold] Art Festival Observations I got back late lastnight from the San Diego Artwalk. The California sunshine and festival atmosphere in Little Italy brought all the beautiful people out, with all of their pretty dogs. Sometimes, deliberately or not, people choose dogs that look just like them. A long legged, tanned redhead walked by with her vizsla. A short, round man smoking a pipe stopped by to look at my work with his adorable french bulldog. In between visitors in my booth, the people and dog watching at the San Diego Artwalk is a treat …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Secret Island Anchorage

Secret Anchorage 12 x 18 watercolor (available here) Painting Your Neighborhood There is a chain of small islands off the coast of southern California protected as a National Park. Several of the islands are just off the coast of the town I live in, and two are visible, like curvy women, reclining on the horizon. This watercolor was inspired during an approach to an anchorage on one of the islands for an afternoon hike. Painting at the kitchen counter after dinner Island Wonders The video above is a 24 minute introduction to the Channel Islands National park narrated by Kevin Costner. Brew a …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Rooster Comb, and Plotting the Map for your Creative Journey

Rooster Comb 16 x 12 Watercolor (available here) Is there a Beginner Artist Map? If you think about basic requirements on the path leading towards how to be an artist, the list is a long, meandering one. And everyone has an opinion about what should come first on that list. The maze every creative person navigates to acquire confidence and competence in their chosen field can be overwhelming. The first time I said out loud to an established artist: “I want to explore returning to painting, and eventually making art my livelihood. Where should I start?” She shook her head, and said “You’re …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Lucy Signals Catwoman, and How much Try do you have?

Lucy Signals to Catwoman 21 x 30 Watercolor (sold) Trying in Art I’ve been thinking about the act of trying. The word means simply: to attempt something for the first time, or to put to test or trial. We adults expect our kids and grandkids to try all day long, because they have so much to learn. Adults are supposed to know stuff already, so we plow a groove into our familiars, and follow patterns of mastered activity that are comfortably absent of trying. I am a lifetime member of the Creature of Habit Club. There is no trying in that demographic. We …[Continue reading]

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Drypoint from Drafting Film – Kinship

Kinship 7×5 drypoint engraving with watercolorAvailable in my Etsy Shop Drypoint from Mylar Several years ago, I read about an unnamed artist making drypoint engravings (sometimes referred to as drypoint etchings) from sheets of drafting film. Mylar, or drafting film, is used in architectural and commercial drafting. Drafting film looks like translucent plastic; it’s made from thin, flexible polyester sheets that are available in glossy and matte surfaces. Artists use the glossy version as an oil painting palette, or to make oil paint monotypes, and the matte version can be used like paper for drawing with colored pencil, pens, charcoal, marker and an assortment …[Continue reading]

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Art Links for You, and a Watercolor – Firenze Cucina

Firenze Cucina 12 x 17 watercolor on paper (sold) Art Links for You Here are some art links for you this week, with hopes that you’ll latch onto something that fires your urge to create, and muffles your inner critic. It’s Spring. Lets get some inspiring snapshots from around the yard, and make something soon! Solar Plate Printmaking If you live near Santa Fe, New Mexico, you can take a printmaking course on solar plate printing with the originator of the process, Dan Wheldon this coming June. If I lived closer, I would sign up for this workshop in a heartbeat. Check out …[Continue reading]

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Monotype Ghost Print: Central California Farmland

Central California Farmland 7 x 8 Monotype Ghost w/ Watercolor (sold) The Beauty of Monotype Ghost Prints The monotype ghost print that became the art above waited in my flat files for months before I pinned it up, and had a good long stare at its possibilities.  (If you haven’t heard about monotype printmaking yet, visit this post and this one to see video tutorials, and process photos. You’ll be ready to make a monotype at the kitchen table in 20 minutes!) Now, where was I?… Oh yes – I was staring at possibilities. The beauty of monotype ghost prints is that you …[Continue reading]

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Five Printmakers to Follow on Instagram

In Between Chapters 6×6 reduction Linocut Give Printmaking a Go Printmaking methods, and the approaches within each method are a perpetual ocean for exploration and experimentation. Add to that artists’ layering of techniques – and hacks on traditional procedures – to create a bottomless channel available for deep study. The best way to dip your toe in the wonderful world of printmaking is to take a weekend workshop, so you can be guided through printmaking in action, with an understanding of the materials and sequences. If you work well with printed directions and solo creative endeavors, you can follow along with a printmaking …[Continue reading]

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The Artist’s Search for Self

Sage and Cider 12 x 16 Graphite and Watercolor on paper (add this to your collection) We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know One of the most conflicted facets of my adventure to become a full time artist was the tug of war between what I am drawn to create, and what the collecting public finds appealing in art. I started the I’m-Going-to-be-an-Artist journey with a truckload of conviction: studio hours were set from 8 to 5, and then I launched an art blog (2005) and joined every art group I could find. At the same time, I subscribed to art/print trade magazines …[Continue reading]