Tag Archives | watercolor

20
Aug

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Watercolor: Tide Pool Brocade – and the challenge of painting clouds in watercolor

Painting White Clouds in Watercolor If you’ve tried to paint white clouds in watercolor, you know that the trick is to Not paint the clouds, but instead, paint and “feather” the sky around the clouds, and the shadows of the cloud bellies, etc. The white of your paper represents the clouds, so your brush and hand have to be restrained to leave areas clean and clear. I think this is the biggest challenge in white cloud painting with watercolor. Painters see everything in paint, and color choices and values, but when painting white or bright reflections in watercolor, the painter has to stack …[Continue reading]

12
Aug

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Study for Queensboro – and Collecting Imagery for your Paintings

Watercolors of Places I’m fortunate to have a gaggle of friends and family with abundant creative mojo for lassoing photos as potential painting fodder. I receive padded envelopes of hard copy photos in the mail, text messages with artfully cropped vistas (usually fresh from the moment the image was captured), and a variety of seascapes, garden shots and figurative photos emailed in batches. (Example: The reference imagery used in this painting, this painting and this painting were each generously “loaned” to me by friends and family.) Far Away from Home Another great perk of gifted imagery from your squad is the opportunity to …[Continue reading]

7
Aug

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Watercolor: Glendale and Painting your Places

Paint your Life My first home after re-locating from the East Coast a few decades ago was a stucco, 1950’s ice-cube-tray styled apartment building in Glendale, California. The scent from my neighbor’s orange trees and the hazy, filtered sunlight made up for what the space lacked in character, and trying to capture the not-new-england atmosphere in watercolor was challenging and full of memories. (I started painting again, intermittently, while I lived there, so that’s something.) I love following other artists and bloggers who document their towns and rooms in their art – like Barbara Muir, Karen Hollingsworth, Colin Page, Eve Mansdorf and Charles …[Continue reading]

9
Jul

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Watercolor: Caricaturist and Creative Clarity links

Finding – as opposed to Losing – Your Art Time How is your art journey moving along?  Did you paint some watercolors, scribble some sketches, or doodle on a post-it pad during your fourth of July holiday?  If not, remind yourself that it’s Monday, and with the launch of a new week, we get to Start Again. On everything; art-making and intentional thinking to direct our day along a planned course, rather than a willy-nilly slippery-skid, random path. I get more lost than found at the helm of my artistic ship, but I try – super hard – to stay the course. Perpetual …[Continue reading]

21
Jun

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Watercolor: Vacation Rental and Links to Watercolor Tips

Painting Interior Spaces with Watercolor This watercolor was inspired by a reference photo taken in Florence, Italy a few decades ago. Old world charm, wrapped around a relaxed array of books, maps and tangerines from the market downstairs, all warmed with a wash of Italian light. I’ve loved window light spilling over rooms like this since I was a child.  I enjoy sinking my teeth into the challenge of trying to really see & render the values and temperatures that convey such a relaxed, invitational atmosphere. Using The Grid Method to Transfer Reference Photos to Paper I was waiting for a scheduled power …[Continue reading]

11
Jun

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Watercolor: Copper Mine and artistic influence from your family tree

Spontaneous Inspiration – Or Is It? This copper mine in the watercolor painting above was visible from the car on a road trip from Mexico to Arizona years ago. My traveling companions were kind enough to pull over and let me take photos for art reference, because, look at all that geometry! If I dig into why something so industrial appeals to me, ten seconds of pondering leads to memories of my family’s business in precision tool and die machining. I grew up around mechanical engineers, injection moulding equipment and drill presses, all wafting noisily in the scent of machine oil.  How much …[Continue reading]

24
May

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Watercolor: Artist’s Studio and Art Supply Storage

Making Art on the Couch I am very fortunate to have a studio (a spare bedroom in our home) and unless I’m showing art at a festival, or framing, I spend most days in there, writing, or working with art supplies and an audiobook (I’ve just finished this one) starting in the still-dark hours of early morning. When my husband comes home in the evenings, if I want to continue drawing or painting, I keep a tote bag of supplies handy that I can move around the house. The tote bag has a travel palette of watercolors, a few brushes, a pencil case, …[Continue reading]

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]

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