Portrait and Figurative Art

What is a Glue Collagraph? A glue collagraph is a printmaking plate made from a stiff base, like mat board, with a printable design applied to the board with dimensional glue. Here are some examples: Collagraphs are Chameleons of Printmaking Traditional collagraphs are often built in an additive process – with papers, fabric, thread or …

Make a Collagraph Print from Mat Board and Glue Read More »

Colored Pencils to the Rescue Have you ever added colored pencil to your monotype prints? (If you’ve never made a monotype, read on…) Whether your subject is portraits, abstract, still life or landscape, adding colored pencil will transform a mediocre print into a monotype jubilee. I’m not kidding. If you have a stash of old …

Adding Colored Pencil to Monotype Print Portraits Read More »

While nibbling a cookie (Trader Joe’s Biscotti), I was pondering drypoint printmaking without a press. The cookie container in my hand was sturdy and smooth, and I wondered if it could be used to make a drypoint plate. I also wondered how the cookie(s) I just ate could contribute to the printing without a press …

Drypoint Printmaking using a Cookie Container without a Press Read More »

Art Tips from History Practice makes perfect. The secret to success is consistency of purpose. Plan your work, and work your plan. Successful specialists have been quoted for centuries espousing the elements of frequent practice as the golden mean towards any sort of mastery. If talent is inherited, and luck is random, we have no …

How to Talk Yourself into Painting More Often Read More »

What is a Collagraph? The word collagraph sounds a bit like the word collage, right? The root of the word – Colla is derived from the Greek word for glue – kólla. Many collagraph prints are made by inking and printing from a plate that has been built up with glued-on elements (paper, leaves, thread, …

Make a Collagraph with Mat Board and Construction Paper Read More »

Hand Color Linocuts If you print your linocuts and woodcuts with inks that won’t re-wet, you can have a lot of fun hand coloring your relief prints with watercolors. Hand Colored Block Print Fun Let’s say you printed a small edition of 5 linocuts in black ink that dries permanently. Once the ink is dry, …

Paint Linocuts with Watercolor – and a few more Linocut Posts Read More »

Creative Focus in Strange Times My husband asks me how I’m doing. My reply: ‘I feel like I weigh a thousand pounds.’ It’s a declaration of sadness, or fatigue. This week, it’s sadness. So, I’m pulling myself up, from the news-induced tonnage, to reach for an attainable antidote in Marc Taro Holmes’ 30×30 Direct Watercolor …

30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge, and Reaching for Quiet with Art Read More »

Summertime Art Studio Planning Over the past 67 days (yikes!) of quarantine, the macadamia nut tree outside my studio window has erupted in fronds of shiny, new leaves. I’ll take this as a reminder that there are plenty of good things happening if we simply look for them. A fluffy squirrel (Mrs. Jetson) skitters up …

Art Studio Planning – and a Watercolor Portrait Read More »

Exploring Watercolor and Charcoal Together I was sorting scanned image files in my archives, and I forgot about this watercolor and charcoal painting of an imagined scene. Eve is riding with her friend, a juvenile crow, exploring the garden, when a serpent in an apple tree beckons her to come closer. At the time, I …

Using Watercolor and Charcoal Together Read More »

Ideas for Easy Creative Collage Art Let’s layer some creative collage ideas with no drawing skills required. Easy peasey, fun art, you can create alone or in a group, with kids, or adults, or both. That’s our goal today. Art Supplies + Fun. In the last post, plain, white, acid free tissue paper was made …

Creative Collage Ideas – No Drawing Required Read More »

Portrait Collage Ideas Eldest Son was created from hand-printed, archival tissue papers, torn and assembled as a portrait collage of two figures. The faces of each figure were painted loose and expressive on top of torn, layered papers, with watercolor and gouache. You can do this too, so let’s take a look at the steps …

Portrait Collage Ideas – Vintage Family Photos Read More »

Painting with Watercolor in a Sketchbook You can paint with watercolor and get good results when your Moleskine notebook is made with watercolor paper. If your Moleskine notebook is a standard sketchpad, the paper is made for sketching and dry media. But read on for an example of an artist using Moleskine sketchpads for remarkable …

Can You Use Watercolor on Moleskine Notebooks? Read More »

Small Watercolor Portrait Here’s a little watercolor portrait with colored pencil from a photo my cousin was kind enough to let me sketch from (Paeonia 5×5 Watercolor Portrait with Colored Pencil (available here). Getting inspired by people’s faces is so easy with all the beautiful imagery on social media. It’s even better when the inspiration …

Watercolor Portrait with Colored Pencil – Paeonia Read More »

Everything in it’s Place! Hello there, my friend! Long time, eh? It’s good to be in touch again, and I’m so glad you’ve stopped in for a visit. Tea? Some blueberries? Have a seat by the window where the macadamia nut tree blossoms are riding the air. Tell me how you’ve been? Sharing Art Goodies …

A Silk Aquatint Print Portrait – and a New Website Read More »

Group Art Activities for Your Next Gathering When you host a gathering of friends and family, group art activities create fine memories and a lot of giggles. You don’t have to corral every attendee into the fun, but being prepared with props and a few inexpensive supplies might help lure the timid to the dinner/art …

3 Group Art Activities for a Gathering of Friends and Family Read More »

Gelli Plate Print Abstracts Gelli Plate Prints and Monotype prints are some of the most accessible types of printmaking to try if you’re curious about making prints at home. You don’t need a printing press, or sharp carving tools, or even printmaking ink. The popularity of gelli plates, and all of their instructional videos have …

Gelli Plate Print Backgrounds for Trace Monotypes Read More »

How to Make a Collagraph Portrait Want a creative project to try at your kitchen table? Here’s how to make a collagraph print portrait, step by step. The collagraph examples in this post were all made from scrap mat board. Mat board is also known as mount board in England and passe-partout in France. You’ll …

Collagraph Print Portraits of People and Pets Read More »

What Gifts do Watercolor Artists Wish For? How do you know what to gift to a watercolor artist? Do beginner painters prefer different art supplies and art-themed gifts compared to more seasoned watercolor artists? (I don’t think so.) We artists love a slow inspection of every single aisle in an art supply store. Just the …

Gift Ideas for Watercolor Artists Read More »

First, an Introduction to Jack Before we dive into painting watercolor portraits of pets, let me introduce you to our model, Jack. He chews flowers. Even if you’ve given him little pots of grass, and put your flowers up high, out of reach, he will find a way to get to them. I’ve witnessed Jack …

Watercolor Portraits of Pets Read More »

How to Make More Art This (above) is my friend Ron, seated, exhibiting and selling his paintings at a California Art Club exhibit held at the San Juan Capistrano Mission a long time ago. Ron was a creative executive at the Walt Disney Company at the time. Even with a demanding job, and a family, …

How to Add Two Hours of Art to Every Week Read More »

Making Pet Portraits with Monotype Prints Dark Field Monotypes (and monoprints) work very well as a media for pet portraits. These painterly prints in their monochromatic layout act as a perfect underpainting for experiments with other media, both wet (watercolor) and dry (colored pencil or pastel, etc.) If you’d like to watch demonstrations of the …

Dark Field Monotype Pet Portraits – and a video tutorial Read More »

Two Color Reduction Printmaking Here is a small, relief printmaking woodcut portrait of a girl with red hair, looking down as she gets ready for her day. She was carved and printed using the reduction method with two colors of ink, from shina plywood, and then enhanced with watercolor washes and colored pencil. This is …

Resources for Printing a Reduction Woodcut Read More »

The Trifecta: Grid Method, Sight Size Drawing and Watercolor Glazing Artists have developed many tips and tricks to improve accuracy and results in art-making. For drawing a light scaffolding of shapes and angles under watercolors, I find the grid method and sight-size drawing both beneficial. In painting – I love the gossamer affect and shape-control …

How to Use Sight Size Drawing for Accuracy – and a Watercolor Portrait Read More »

Inspiration from Other Artists Thank goodness monotype artists share their work online, or we wouldn’t have any painterly printmaking to look at from the comfort of our coziest researching-the-internet chairs. Every artist who ever clicked the publish button on a blog post or social media to share images of their work gets a grateful hat-tip …

Monotype Ghost Print of a Cat – and links to Monotype Artists Read More »

Painting the Figure I’ll just come right out and say it: People are discouragingly hard to draw and paint. You can sketch a landscape or a still life with room for error; if your trees lean, or your bowl rim burps, it’s not a big deal. But if you paint the figure, and one eye …

Tips for Drawing and Painting the Figure in Watercolor Read More »

Using Other Media on Your Monotypes This monotype ghost print looked a little dubious all by itself (see below), but it had potential. The mark-making still visible in the thin veil of ink was interesting, but the tonal variations were too close together, and it needed more contrast to read as two embracing figures. Other …

5 Printmakers to follow on Instagram, Vol. 2 and a Monotype Read More »