Tag Archives | france

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Watercolor – Open Morning (& mixing greens in watercolor)

Mixing Greens Now that I’m finished with Spring art festivals and overseas travels, it’s time to sort the studio and plan summer paintings.  I’m almost finished with two citrus watercolors similar to this one. While mixing yellows and greens for grapefruit, oranges, and citrus leaves, I refer to Jeanne Dobie’s Making Color Sing. I like what she has to say about mixing green in watercolor: What are the best pigments to mix with green? Begin by selecting aureolin yellow, the most transparent yellow pigment. Many students reach for yellow ochre to mix in their greens, believing it is a natural landscape or earth-tone …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – La Maison Rouge (and busting through Creative Block)

When is it hard to paint? Not because of squeezed schedules, demanding jobs or illness; I’m talking about when you have time set aside to be creative, and you don’t jump in because of distraction, creative block, self doubt/fear, or not knowing where to start. Yeah, THAT list of obstacles. We’ve all been there.  I’ve missed my watercolors more times than I can count. The interesting thing – to me – is that creative block is purely an adult issue. (Give a child you know some paper and crayons, and watch the magic.) This implies that being artistically stuck is wholly and deeply …[Continue reading]

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Micron Pen & Watercolor: Cypress at L’Arcade (& frustrations at art workshops)

A few weeks ago, I worked as crew with WorkshopsinFrance.com, during a fantastic Carol Marine workshop at a chateau in Provence. I used ink & watercolor on the cypress trees and hedges above, feeling appreciation & breathing in the French air on the lawn where we stayed.  The workshop had all the magical scenery (queue the location shots from A Good Year), food & wine and culture you might imagine from that region of the world. *And* ART, everyday, all day long. One of my favorite things about art workshops is days-upon-days of discussing art making, art supplies, art marketing, and artist experiences …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Isle sur la Sorgue Cafe & Back from France

I’m home from France, fresh over jet-lag and loaded head to toe with inspiring photos, ideas & new friends. I’m particularly marinating in game-changing tips and tricks from watching Carol Marine teach attendees of her workshop. Carol Marine is a seasoned and generous instructor. She casually sprinkles workshop attendees with her hard-earned painting, drawing and seeing knowledge, and she doesn’t hold anything back. She’s earnestly helpful, potently encouraging, and incredibly articulate about process. Her painting method is something to behold, but what made me swoon was her work ethic. Carol’s conviction to practice her art is a non-negotiable priority. The rest of us juggle other priorities, which leads to …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Prescribed Burn, Provence (& 18 Habits of Creative Brains)

Many years ago, I accompanied my step mother to France to see the village she grew up in, and visit her family. I remember speeding along N4 outside Paris and seeing smoke in the sky. Farmers were using prescribed burns to clear fields of ticks and parasitic worms, and ready them for new plants.  The contrast between lush Spring landscape and giant smoke plumes left an impression on my teenaged sense of wonder.   While visiting Provence last June, I didn’t witness any controlled burns (it may have been too late in the season) but the color & scent of the French landscape primed that teenaged memory, and …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: La Grande Rue, Venasque (& Art Festival dates)

Re-Living Travel Moments Here’s a little watercolor painted from a quick study made on a lovely afternoon sitting in a shady doorway in Venasque, France. I painted several street scenes to use as studies for larger paintings while on the trip I took in June. That’s my friend Angel, sketching on the lip of the fountain. Whereabouts I’ll be at the Thousand Oaks Arts Festival this weekend, so be sure to say hello if you’re in the area. I just posted a newsletter with the rest of my upcoming show dates, and you can see that here. (If you’d like to subscribe to the newsletter, you can do …[Continue reading]

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Nocturnal Watercolor: Waiting for the Moon

I just finished this study for a nocturnal watercolor inspired by a solstice moonrise I watched from the chateau in France last month. A broad horizon, unencumbered by tall buildings was a perfect vantage point to watch the moon rise from the distant hills in Provence. The chateau sits on a hilltop, overlooking the valley, and it whispers details of history to you from fire scars on her 14th century stonework, and windows shaped perfectly by stonemasons to accommodate a bow and arrow taking aim at approaching intruders. Painting nocturnes is challenging, and I think painting them in watercolor is particularly tricky. Taking the pigments dark enough …[Continue reading]

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Watercolors: Cafe & Lavender Field Sketching

I keep a notebook to scribble To-Do’s, painting ideas, and tidbits gleaned from books and the web. It’s old fashioned to keep a paper To-Do list, I know, but I love the feel of paper, and I enjoy writing lists. It’s as important as keeping a moleskine for field sketching in my car, and in my bag. Sketching while you wait for kids, or a lovely piece on NPR to conclude, or a chapter in an audio book to close, etc… that’s a great use of double-pleasure time. Checking things off a To-Do list is pretty snazzy too. A notebook in my hands feels solid and reminiscent of …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor sketch: Boulangerie (& praise for art workshops)

I’ve been home from France for a couple of weeks, but I’m still feeding my family baguettes, with cheeses, fruits, salami, pancetta, and prosciutto regularly. I’m listening to French music, drinking rosé, and selecting outfits inspired by the panache & style I saw on the streets of Provence. It was an incredible travel experience, even though I’ve been there before; this was the first time I visited France as an artist. The swoon-worthy impact of France started on my first trip, when I was eleven. There is so much beauty to absorb; imaginative craftsmanship in architecture, narrative sculptures in village squares, and a layered evidence of centuries-worth of art everywhere you rest your eyes.  It’s …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Jean Althen Statue, Papal Palace Gardens, Avignon

The first time I read this quote (below) by the painter John E. Carlson, it rang true to me; you don’t have to travel far and wide to be a good painter. Do not be a tourist painter. The casual tourist landscape painter will paint in Italy or Holland. If he is a Long Islander, his things will look like good old Long Island no matter where he goes! If you stay at home & say something about your own period, life & environs, your art will be a sincere effort. Paint Long Island & say more about it than any other man, and …[Continue reading]