Tag Archives | watercolor

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Watercolor – Cottage Kitchen – and getting past the ugly stage in watercolor painting

Cottage Kitchen 18.25 x 12.25 Watercolor on paper (Sold) Getting Past Ugly in Your Art Making art often stalls in the Ugly Tunnel. 🚙 On your pilgrimage to a finished watercolor, there’s a crossing in the journey where the pigments, composition and overall look of your work in process can get ugly. It’s important that you avoid stopping there. 🗺 It would be easy to walk away from the art at this stage, because none of it looks encouraging. This is especially true if you’re not sure how to paint through the discouraging scenery. Nevertheless, keep hiking. We wish each stage of a …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Summer Sunday

Summer Sunday 6 x 7.5 Watercolor on BFK Rives paper (Sold) 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 is higher, or the hands are too small, brace yourself for unease, and maybe some comments and corrections. We unconsciously incorporate elements of our own likeness in every figurative portrait, because we can’t help but draw and …[Continue reading]

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Ferris Wheel Pastel – Spin – and saving a failed watercolor with pastel

Spin 21 x 14 Pastel over Watercolor on paper (Sold) Pastel Over Watercolor The painting above started as a watercolor. I knew it was overcooked at the three-quarters finished point – so I tossed it in a flat file to dry, with plans to feed it to the shredder. A few weeks later, I spotted the forgotten watercolor, and wondered if it might be a candidate for one of those “anything goes” art supply experiments with pastel over the watercolor. (Do you do those too? This painting was another example of pastel over watercolor.) Goofing off with pastels over an expired watercolor can …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor Floral Still Life- Milk Pitcher Roses – and Finding Your Collectors

Milk Pitcher Roses 14.75 x 13.5 Watercolor Floral Still Life on paper (sold) Artistic Affinities This watercolor floral still life was very influenced by my grandparent’s New England home. My Italian grandparents purchased their circa 1700’s house in the mid 1940’s in Connecticut. The center of the house was buttressed by a quarry stone chimney with a hearth on each face, upstairs and downstairs, built by Native Americans. The mantles were lined with hand carved, moveable-part curios, and there was an acquisition story to go with each treasure. The house was decorated with international sensibilities, because my immigrant grandparents collected things that spoke …[Continue reading]

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Architectural Watercolor: Albanian Apartment Building

Study for Albanian Apartment Building 10 x 7 Watercolor on paper (sold) Jewel Watercolors from Winsor & Newton With summertime approaching in the US and Europe, painting with watercolors in the garden could be in your future. Especially with the news that Winsor & Newton has stocked their previously limited release jewel tone watercolors. I felt a need (not a want – but a need) to have that aqua green, smalt and quid violet after watching this video, so I ordered them on Amazon. So far, only the smalt has arrived, and it’s beautiful (clouds, skies, water, shadows!). I predict some experimental washes …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Portrait of a Printmaker, and Bad Artist Advise

Printmaker Adjusting the Press 5 x 6.8 Watercolor (sold) Impressionable Beginner Artists I’ve mentioned in previous posts (read this one), I suspect my love for printmaking and clanking metal presses originated in my family’s tool and die machine shop. I think we are drawn to things that imprinted on us before we had comprehension that we were so malleable. It’s good to think about what sort of experiences or inherited beliefs we have absorbed, because they can limit our tastes, tools, and choices in art. Master Printmaker – woodcut Learning How to Make Art If you’re the type of beginner who likes clear, …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Birds on my Counter – and Historic Still Life props

Birds on my Counter 5×4 Watercolor on paper (sold) Artists’ Still Life Objects The cast iron birdbath curio in this petite watercolor has been rendered in enough still life paintings and printmaking projects that I’ve lost count (see examples here, and here, and here). When studying photos of artists’ studios from long ago, I search for the objects on the shelves that might be found in their paintings. It’s an artist’s game of Where’s Waldo. I wonder if the items were gifts, or happened upon, or handed down through the family. Every artist’s still life clutter has a story to tell. Do you …[Continue reading]

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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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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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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 & 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]

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Mango Reading Chair and Finding More Time to Paint

Mango Reading Chair 16×12 watercolor on paper (available here) Incremental Art-Making Painting in short increments can solve your Not Enough Time to Make Art quandary. I talk about this in my free course Six Tips to Paint More, and I live by, and believe in this approach. When you’re just starting out, knowing how much time you need to make some art can be a guess, or a preconceived falsehood. If all you have is 20 minutes here, and 40 minutes there, take those slots, and make something in them. I’ve marked the dates I worked on the watercolor in this post in …[Continue reading]

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Painting Small Portraits and Figure Studies in Watercolor

Painting Faces and Portraits in Watercolor Do you enjoy sketching and doodling faces in watercolor? I know some of you do, since I follow your blogs and the work you post on social media. I was talking to another artist friend about the pleasure, and the power of doodling the human form – both faces and the figure – as well as isolated facial features. We can all use a bit more practice in this area, right? Have you ever filled a sketchpad page with little thumbnails of facial features, expressions, or angles of the head? Want to give it a try? Oh …[Continue reading]

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Using a Grid to Sketch Small Studies and Improve Drawing Skills

It’s a New Month Happy January! Hopefully, in between holiday clean up, and taking stock of the year from the rear view mirror, you’re also swinging a telescope forward to anticipate the future heft of art supplies in your hands, right? There are work surfaces to clear, and pigments to sort, and sketch pads to flip through while reflecting on the creative goals imagined for the year ahead of us, yes?  I’m practically jumping up and down with relief at the thought of getting back to work. I crave the comfort in the familiar rhythm of Routine. Let’s get into it. Using a …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Good at This – and be kind to fellow artists

NOTE: I’m reposting this from the archives. Reminders about kindness are always a good thing, especially as we fold and pack away this year. Merry Christmas! When Artists are Jealous I overheard two artists making sharp, envy-driven comments about another artist’s beautiful work at an exhibit. Jealousy is a ugly cloak. Comparisons with other artists should be a healthy exercise, since surveying other people’s work – either on social media, or at exhibits – helps us stay inspired and keen on what’s happening in the art world. Look Up from Below, and Smile Admiring artists with more skill and/or success than we’ve fulfilled is an opportunity to galvanize our Where-I-Want-to-Be goals, if …[Continue reading]

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Watercolor – Bunny’s Tutor – and What’s the Best Size for Paintings?

Does Painting Size Matter? What size do you make your art? I paint watercolors and build printmaking plates in small format. Every piece of art I ever made was under 8×10, with an occasional hurdle into 11×14 – until I started to sell at Art Festivals.  In a comment on last week’s post, Marie E. asked: How have you decided on the size of your work? I have been trying to enter some watercolor competitions… It seems that larger works are the norm. Why have you made the decision to go smaller with your work? Do you find that it sells better? Is …[Continue reading]