Tag Archives | watercolor

17
May

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Watercolor: Snow Finch and Rubies – and Art-Making as a Salve for Grief

The Comforting Quilt of Art My mother in law passed away unexpectedly as I was leaving for the San Diego Art festival, and my husband was flying east for a business trip. Parallel to festival commitments, and business travel, the process of juggling out-of-state loss began; death certificates, additional travel, burial arrangements and notifications. While we were in different cities, on phone calls, getting adjusted to the forever-ness of this new absence, I took respite in night time art-making.  Emersion in pigment swirling, shape-making, and the wonder of stacked, transparent colors is both an escape from sad thoughts, and comforting, solid company.  Painting …[Continue reading]

3
May

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Watercolor: Citrus Sun Catcher – and painting in public

Painting in Public I just finished loading gear into my car for the Sierra Madre Art Fair (California) this weekend. If you’re local, stop by and say hello!  I finished the watercolor above last weekend at the San Diego Artwalk. (If you signed up for my mailing list there, welcome!)  This week, I started a new painting to work on at the Sierra Madre show.   Painting in public – whether as a plein air painter, or an art festival demonstrator – can be tricky at first, till you get out of your own head. Then it becomes wonderful. Here are a few tips …[Continue reading]

20
Apr

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Watercolor – Overture from the Sky – and Five Tips to Make You Comfortable Exhibiting & Talking About Your Art

Five tips to help make you comfortable presenting your Art to the Public I’ll be driving south for the San Diego Artwalk in a week. Standing in a booth with my art, surrounded by 350 other artists and 100,000 people is a pendulum swing of contrast from the typical artists’ solitude in the studio. Like an athlete pre-visualizing for a game, I’m framing art this week, scribbling notes about booth layout, and thinking about about everything from logistics to conversations. Pre-Motor Planning Being prepared before presenting your art to the public makes these shows mangeable and fun to attend. I’ve been attending the …[Continue reading]

22
Feb

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Watercolor: Mermaid Intern (and Beginning Watercolor)

Pick a Tough One Watercolor is a challenging medium if you dive into it for the first time without any direction.  It’s famous for artist-to-media break-ups and proclamations like “Oh, I tried watercolor once, and it came out AWFUL!”  The pigments re-wet after drying, many colors stain paper, making a need to lighten a passage almost impossible, it dries lighter than it looks when wet, and white sections of your final design are usually void of any pigment; the white of the paper has to be preserved in the painting plan.  But don’t hurt yourself trying to figure her out. Watercolor is just …[Continue reading]

5
Feb

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Watercolor: Flirting (and why you should Exhibit Your Art)

Exhibit Your Art If you’re a beginning artist, it’s incredibly daunting to exhibit your art on a blog or on social media for the public to view, judge, or critique. But it’s important, and here are some encouraging reasons why. Pretend we’re having tea on a porch somewhere surrounded by majestic pine trees – serenaded by birdsong – and squinty rays of sunlight while we discuss this over a bowl of blueberries. Artists make art to Express. And Share. Artistic expression is a release, a purge of the heart, an assortment of poetic visual statements about how you see the world. Artistic sharing is …[Continue reading]

24
Jan

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Watercolor: Wheat of Zeus (and links to encourage creativity to soften loss)

Painting on a Plane This petite watercolor study was painted while in flight over the ocean, using a reference photo of the sill in my room while I was in college at UMASS a few decades ago. The same couple of photos from this wintery, persimmon and whiskey decanter sunny afternoon have inspired prints and paintings before (here and here).  There’s something nostalgic and life-surveying to paint from photos snapped a long time ago. Have you ever used your own family photos, or your grandparents’ vintage photos as references for art-making? Comparing Watercolor Travel Palettes I tested the Van Gogh Pocket Box watercolor …[Continue reading]

4
Jan

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Watercolor: Vanilla Sun – and a month after the Thomas Fire

Flexing Our Composition Muscles While experimenting with the camera on my phone, I snapped a flurry of photos around the house to exercise my composition muscle. When I upload the photos to my computer, I’m always surprised. Looking at vignettes as a row of little thumbnails makes it easier to find impactful compositions, because I can’t get distracted by the details. With a little cropping here and there, a few of them were just right for watercolors.  Do you harvest painting subjects this way too? Do you walk through your home when the sunlight is slanted and bright, looking for ideas?  If not, …[Continue reading]

14
Nov

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Firenze Cucina – Watercolor and Making Art More Often

Surrounded by Shortcuts As a painter and printmaker, I enjoy things that require steps or process. I also like to garden and cook for those same sequential rhythms. Working with my hands is meditative. Years ago, as a newbie attending an artist’s dessert potluck, I made cookies from a recipe that – to me – has just the right amount of crispy and chewy. One of the artists quipped “Oh gawd, you didn’t MAKE those, did you? Well, you’re new here. We all buy cookies! You’ll figure it out and follow suit shortly.” I offered her a cookie. She loved it, and muttered …[Continue reading]

23
Oct

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Watercolor: Saturday Morning Sleep-In (and painting the figure in watercolor)

Drawn to the Figure Do you paint or draw figurative work? I’ve been doodling and drawing figures and faces since grade school. I can’t articulate why my affinity leans so strong for figurative subjects, but even when I commit to a still life series, I’m easily swayed midstream to paint a figurative piece. I really love other genres and subjects, but I suspect the muscle-memory of my figurative art reflex resides somewhere deep in my monkey brain. 🐵 Inspired by Degas The Morgan Library & Museum in New York had an exhibit five years ago on Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917). Thanks to …[Continue reading]

4
Oct

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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]

2
Oct

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Watercolor – Nested (and my Patreon page)

Nourish your Creative Self Advice for Life Thank goodness brilliant minds take time to document ideas, creations and formulas. Especially these days, with storm clouds all around. Where would we be without the written word, or art supplies? You and I have the option to pour over the masterful conclusions scribbled and painted by smart people who lived centuries before us. Populations have previously wrung their hands, knit their brows and scribbled solutions toward figuring things out. We probably don’t need to sit in a foggy slump, stained by events we can’t control, or stuck on a problem. Let’s try taking a deep breath, …[Continue reading]

19
Sep

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Tips for Supplies – Travel Watercolors – and the cafe Les Terrasses

Traveling with Watercolors I see lots of great art supplies in the travel totes of my plein air friends and the artists I follow in the urban sketching movement. While packing for a trip to Provence with WorkshopsinFrance.com,  I tested light-weight, small watercolor sets to cajole my affinity for art-making on airplanes, in hotel rooms, on sailboats, and in gardens. Are you thinking about drawing or painting on an upcoming trip? Here’s a list (below) of the supplies I keep handy for roaming, with links. (Note, some of the links are affiliates, so if you make a purchase, I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost …[Continue reading]

31
Aug

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Leonardo Da Vinci book review and a Watercolor Study from Provence

Making Art Before we had Books I just finished listening to a book tracing the history of Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing of Vitruvian Man.  If your art includes the figure, and you’re interested in the history of learning, check it out here. Toby Lester begins with the Roman military engineer, Vitruvius (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC), who authored ten volumes of architecture analysis.  Imagine – ten books describing (in hand-written latin) the constructive and aesthetic analysis of arches, columns, aqueducts, bridges and harbors – without a single illustration –  no diagrams, photos or drawings. With a scant 30-40% literacy at …[Continue reading]

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