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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]

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Bonnard Inspired Portraits: Painting the People You Love

Lee in the Garden 6.5 x 3.5 watercolor on paper (sold) Prolific Pierre Bonnard In addition to Bonnard’s bathing nude portraits, and window/still life interiors, he painted lovely genre scenes of his people. If you’ve visited this art blog before, you know I’m partial to these subjects in my own work, so it’s no wonder that I appreciate Bonnard’s approach to what might be seen as mundane or trite scenery. (Here is a video slideshow of over 700 Bonnard paintings.) Finding a subject that resonates with you is part of every artist’s seeking adventure. It has less to do with the dictations of …[Continue reading]

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Still Life inspired by Pierre Bonnard

Vintage Sink – 4 x 4 inches – watercolor and colored pencil on paper Artists Transform Things Pierre Bonnard painted walls, windows and surfaces that were festive with light and color, but those objects – by themselves – were simple. His decision to use bright yellows with flecks of cerulean blue and viridian green to render a plain white wall in his house has a message of permission bequeathed to artists after him; play with color. His paintings whisper to you and me: “Look for interesting geometry in your compositions, and monitor your values. And when you like the way your eye travels …[Continue reading]

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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]

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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) SOLD 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 …[Continue reading]

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Learning Color and Composition from Bonnard

Looking for a Map 8×6 graphite and Watercolor on paper (available here) (sold) 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 …[Continue reading]

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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]

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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]