Tag Archives | travel

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Watercolor: Painting in the Canyon (& gift ideas for artists who paint outdoors/travel )

Painting Outdoors is not Easy I have talented friends who paint outdoors in fields, meadows and beaches here in California.  I admire their ability to make beautiful art while tracking slipping sunlight & shadows, fending off cows, swatting mosquitoes, and keeping their easels from poking an ant hill. Plein air painting is a courageous endeavor. So is the urban sketching movement; it’s not easy to draw in a garden or the subway with people watching over your shoulder, dispensing advice on your work-in-process, and waxing poetic about their great aunt Harriet who used to paint daisies on canvas shoes. The Right Tools for the Job …[Continue reading]

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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: Study for Roussillon (& Ochre pigments)

There’s an incredible ochre mine in the Vaucluse region of Provence. On a recent trip, fellow workshop attendees and I walked around Roussillon and marveled at the color of the soil. The earthen cliffs in late afternoon sun are a solar flare of orange against foliage and sky. Many of the buildings in the village are burnt orange or red, instead of the usual Provence beige or gray stucco. At a distance, the color of the architecture looks as though Roussillon sprouted from the soil. It’s a lovely nod towards their ochre mining history. Shops sell linen table cloths, printed in bold patterns …[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: 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: First Day in Italy (& #linklove on staying focused)

I’m still working on the nocturnal watercolor on yupo I mentioned in the last post, so stay tuned (or subscribe) for that coming soon…. In the meantime, I feel compelled to share a humorous, smart, thought-provoking essay on Why Procrastinators Procrastinate. Are you in the Staller Club too? Do you wait till the eleventh hour to complete tasks with deadlines? Do you put off painting – even when you relish every little part of the art-making process – until AFTER you’ve emptied the dishwasher, folded all the laundry and completed errands to the post office, grocery store and dry cleaner? And by the time …[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: Palatine Hill, Rome (& Painting Plein Air in Watercolor)

When you return from an excursion to a new place – like for instance, France – you get to pour over your photos and re-live the experience, or even better, make art from your photos and completely submerge in that recall. Painting, sketching and carving imagery from the photos I took in France last month lets me extend the relish of that beautiful country for longer than the time I actually spent there, and that’s just one more reason to love the gift of painting. If you’re contemplating a painting trip that includes some plein air – and you’re not sure what to expect, you might experiment at home, …[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]

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Watercolor: Vicolo Della Palle (& a painting trip to France)

The painting above was done after a trip to Rome a few years ago, so it seemed appropo for this post. I just returned from two weeks in France. #pinchme  I’ve been in Provence, sketching quaint villages and lavender fields while working as crew for Scottish painter Julie Snyder’s company, Workshops in France.   This was a last-minute opportunity to travel to Avignon, via Paris & Marseille, and assist Julie in one of her twice-yearly uninstructed artist retreats in Provence. I have many photos and sketches to share with you after this wonderful trip. My crew-member extraordinaire & roomie Linda stayed up till all hours of the night for the duration of …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor: Aperture (& the San Diego Festival of the Arts)

The San Diego Festival of the Arts on Waterfront park was lovely last week. We had a gray day to start on Saturday, but eventually, the sun came out along with the crowds, and I saw plenty of people strolling the lawn with paintings & sculpture under their arms.  I sold both watercolors and printmaking, so collectors were collecting, and many of the artists I spoke to were having a very good show. That’s always a hopeful sign to all artists who sell their work. This is brief because the day after the art fair, I left for France, and I want to share …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor Paintings: Albanian Apartments

I’ll be traveling to San Diego, California in April for the San Diego Artwalk in Little Italy.  (Booth #192 – Come say hello!)  One of my favorite things about visiting other towns is looking at homes, apartments and shop-fronts to see the way local residents paint their clapboards, arrange their flower beds, and adorn their porches with cushioned chairs and potted plants.  (The reference photo for the painting above came from my daughter after a trip to Albania.) The ornamentation of home-fronts and shop facades says a lot about a community. I get inspired to paint or draw the “feel” of a place from the photos snapped while …[Continue reading]