Tag Archives | still life

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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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Watercolor Still Life & Artist Tools for help with Painting Values

Good morning! Did you know Winsor and Newton publishes a series of mini painting-tip videos? (You can subscribe to W&N here.) This week’s tip (watch it here) is about same-value color fields to create depth, add interest, and suggest atmosphere in broad passages where you might otherwise use a single, flat color. Very useful, I think. Do you already do this in your work? What is Value? Value is a challenging concept for many new artists. The directive to “squint” to find them, looking back and forth to compare source material and the painting in process can be frustrating if you don’t know what …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Early Bird Breakfast

Inspiration from the Past We haven’t lived in the home that inspired the watercolor still life above for over a decade,  but during the years while raising kids there, I took thousands of photos, and started painting full time, which buoyed my conviction towards being a better “noticer”. Picking What to Paint White tile counters are reflective. The shiny ceramic surface broadcasts the color and shape of everything on and above them, so my kitchen counter at dawn became a new painting opportunity every day. We filled bowls with bird seed on the ledge outside, and happy hour gathered at dawn with feathered, chirping and squeaking over a …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Peaches in a Mexican Bowl (& video demos from great artists)

Years ago, my friend VLB returned from a trip to Mexico and gave me this hand painted bowl supported on three little feet.  I put peaches in the bowl to ripen, and a still life watercolor sprouted from the scene. Tile counter grid-lines, back-lit peach orbs over curvy bowl shadows and watery reflections from an arbor on the patio outside all conspired to create a play on patterns.  (Photos of the process are below.) It was a fun little study for a larger painting, and inspiration beyond the painting to find & bake a good peach cobbler. 🍑     Eric Kim is an ambitious, young, talented …[Continue reading]

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Woodcut: Bergamo Window (& encouragement to use time wisely)

Do you use time wisely? Are you making new stuff? And sharing your art on social media? Are you using free segments in your crammed schedule to your best advantage for creativity, exposure and community-building? Or do you surf around “for inspiration”, killing time that might be better spent making something? As Tim Gunn says: Make it work. And as Dr. Larch says to Homer throughout the John Irving book The Cider House Rules: Be of Good Use. I’m writing this post to myself. #fingerwagging For Pete’s sake, don’t let your wandering artist’s eye guide your only spare hour! Convince and cajole that meandering mosey back to your art …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Egg Timer (& traveling with watercolors)

I mentioned in the last post that I recently returned from a week of travel, and I took watercolors on the trip. The little study above was painted on the plane on the way home. Five hours goes by much faster when you’re painting & listening to an audio book (I’m listening to and *loving* this one – I don’t want it to end). And after making art on airplanes for a few years now (see this post, this one and this one) I can confirm that knowing you’re stuck in that seat for the duration of the flight forces your art-making mind to S.L.O.W. down and …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Chocolate with Aloha ( & moleskine travel sketching)

I’m back in the studio after a week-long vacation with family. The moleskine watercolor above was inspired by the decadent dessert my husband and I shared towards the end of the trip. Taking a small slice of time to relax with people I love in the middle of a tightly packed holiday season might be my new Tradition. Sitting in the sun near children laughing in the pool, sketching in my moleskine and sipping iced tea – while listening to Christmas music – was a bit surreal, but it gave time to ponder the impact of staying in the moment, not thinking about upcoming To-Do’s, and slowing the holiday pace enough to fully enjoy …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Amber Candle, Kitchen Counter and Should you Start an Art Blog?

Why You Should Start an Art Blog If you’ve wondered about starting an art blog, and backed away from the idea frantically waving the bold lettered banner “I have nothing to say” or “I hate to write” – consider this: I used to hate writing, until I started to write about ART. And I used to think I had nothing to say, but my friends reminded me that – in person – I talk all-the-time. (Hand rubbing chin, thinking…  Hmmm, Oh yeahhh… I’m talky!) I had only focused on the knocking-knees and chattering-teeth fear associated with the obligation of writing regularly, and the intimidation of posting my work online …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Opuntia (& art show photos from last weekend)

I went scouting for painting references at the Los Angeles Arboretum a few weeks ago, with an upcoming fund raising exhibit at the Arboretum in mind.  This watercolor of a prickly pear cactus in the sun (Opuntia) was one of the results of my wanderings in the garden. The gala event was this past Sunday, and even though it rained on an outdoor gourmet dinner & art exhibit, everyone in attendance remained enthused, engaged and complimentary of the evening’s festivities. When it rains on an art exhibit outdoors, and your work doesn’t have a canopy for cover, it’s wise to carry plastic tarps in your …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Belladonna (& the magic of Gustav Klimt’s drawings)

I’ll be participating in a one-evening fund raising dinner and exhibit honoring Peggy Dark at the Los Angeles Arboretum on October 23rd. Five artists will exhibit paintings inspired by the garden, on site, tucked into little alcoves on the grounds around the arboretum, which will benefit the Children’s Learning Patio. I love supporting local venues in my own city, especially when they have a steadfast charter to introduce the tranquility of gardens, and whole food growing via hands-on learning to urban kids.  It’s very rewarding to jump in, and ‘make a difference’. Do you look for regional shows to participate in with your art? This week’s #linklove post is about …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Yellow Roses (& sharing your art online)

Are you sharing the fruit of your artistic efforts with us online? With Facebook, blogs, digitized museum collections and gallery previews, the entire global art world is in your studio.  Every single one of us has a shiny, gold All Access Pass. Before social media and blogging, I had no idea there is so much talent out there, right now. Living Artists, doing amazing work, today. I meet or discover 10 or 15 artists posting their work on Facebook alone every week. As testimonials spread about the benefits of Social Media as a Community, and a Marketing tool, more and more artists are jumping on the train. Do …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Hope’s Freesia (& art festivals this & next weekend)

This watercolor is fresh off the art-table and I’m in the process of framing it now. It was my demo painting at the San Diego Artwalk a few weeks ago, and I finished it here in the studio this week, just in time for the next two festivals. The reference photo was snapped with a cell phone in my kitchen, after a lovely friend gave me a handful of fragrant freesia from her garden (thank you, Hope!) The sunlight here by the sea looks so different draped over the same objects I had at my previous home in the desert. The light is shining from the same big yellow ball in …[Continue reading]

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Talking About Your Art at an Exhibit & a Watercolor: Ranunculus

This weekend, May 7&8 I’ll be at the Sierra Madre Art Fair from 9:30-6:00 on Saturday and 9:30-5:00 on Sunday. If you’re in the area, stop by and say hello. 🙂 How do you talk to Patrons? How often do you show your work where you’re present at the exhibit? How comfortable are you when patrons ask you about your work? How do you discuss your art with non-artist attendees at an exhibit? When someone says “I love your paintings. They’re just beautiful!” or “What made you paint this subject?”,  how do you respond in a way that generates two-way conversation? I was thinking …[Continue reading]

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Linocut: Pippins & Braeburns (& Hilary Paynter’s wood engravings)

I’ve been framing small linocut prints to take to the San Diego Artwalk this weekend. I usually meet young people interested in art, but not yet fluent enough financially to be art collectors. Printmaking in small editions is a lower price-point than one of a kind paintings, so little prints are often the first original art a budding collector will buy, and I’m always thrilled to be part of another art-lover’s emergence into the exciting first chapter of lining the nest with beautiful, original art. I know the thrill of finding something you really just have to display in your home. Exhibiting small prints (and showing some of the plates and …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Afternoon with Wyeth (& the Pros and Cons of Artistic Exposure)

When you make art for the simple joy of creating – there’s incorruptible magic in the act. It’s fueled by your own expression, your personal sense of aesthetics, and your choice of media & subject. The entire adventure belongs to you. But as soon as you think about showing & selling your work – whether via social media, an exhibition, an online shop, or taking commissions – everything changes. Now, you’re making art for other people, and they might give you money for it, or your creative time is fused with desires for winning Best of Show. The switch from private playtime in the studio to taking your art out to the public, or making a …[Continue reading]

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Floral Watercolor Still Life – and why we paint what we paint

Surfing the internet entices surreptitious visits to other artists’ studios. The subject of each artists’ work varies; we’ve all seen magnificently executed art featuring everything from a bucket of fish heads to an artfully arranged pile of tangled nude figures. Why an artist choses to paint or draw a particular subject is their secret, but I presume (I know, that’s a dangerous practice) that what we find enticing to render in the studio has something to do with our personal histories. This is my grandmother Margery and one of her dogs (I think this was Gigi, or maybe Buttons, but it was before my time). My maternal …[Continue reading]