Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet

Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet
Watercolor 9" x 12" Mats to 14" x 16"

by Carl Sandburg

comes on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

My watercolor above, Fog Comes On Little Cat Feet, received its title thanks to Carl Sandburg.  I remember memorizing this poem in elementary school and this painting brought that poem to mind.

Watercolor Tip:
How to paint fog:
I completed the entire painting using very vivid colors - much brighter than I would have ordinarily used so that when the fog was added the color would show through.    After the  painting was completely dry.  I applied several washes of white paint using a dry brush.  The first application lightly covered the entire painting.  The second application covered from the top down to the a spot half way between the yellow and the red boat.  The third application covered the sky and mountain area.  This allowed the fog to be more concentrated in the distance and lighter in the foreground. 

Caution:  Work quickly and DO NOT have the paint too wet or you run the risk of completely hiding the painting.  Also, do not overwork the area.  Work from top to bottom with single strokes across and move on. 

Happy Painting!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why Paint?

Faceless China
Watercolor 9" x 12" Mats to 14" x 16"

Many times I have been asked this question:  "Why do you paint?"   There are many responses to that question. 
  • I enjoy it!
  • I like to express myself in pictures rather than words!
  • It is a relaxing way to spend time.
  • It is my hobby.
  • It is a stress reliever!    It calms the mind and the body.
  • Painting is a way to release creative energy.
  • Paintings can capture a moment in time.
  • Paintings can make a statement.
  • People paint for a living and a career.
  • People paint because they can!
  • Paintings is a way to learn something about themselves and the world around them.
All artists have their reasons; some that I have mentioned and other reasons of their own.

My watercolor above, Faceless China, was enjoyable to paint, but it also makes a statement about the many people in China.  Because this person's face was painted with minimal  detail and the clothing could be worn by either a male or a female, this person stands for every person in China and depicts a culture, a way of life. 

No matter what your reason is to paint - do it!

Happy Painting!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Golden Days

Golden Days
Watercolor 9" x 12" Mats to 14" x 16"

The watercolor above titled Golden Days is a painting of one of my favorite summer
birds.  We always plant sunflowers across our back fence - both because I love sunflowers and because the finches love them as well.  We leave the sunflowers once the blooms have faded for the seeds to dry out and attract the birds.  Finches seem to be especially drawn to these seeds.    We also have several varieties of daisies in our flower garden which also attract a finch or two. 

Watercolor Tip:
How to paint weathered wood:
Begin with a pale, varied wash applied to a damp surface and let it dry. Wood colors vary. Use a wash of the following colors:
Yellow Ochre
Payne’s Gray

Do not paint all washes over the top of the other washes, but blend the colors together.

• Use a  flat brush with the bristles fanned out slight to drybrush in wood grain lines. Use a medium dark wash of Burnt Umber/Payne’s Gray or Sepia/Indigo.

• Finish with wavy lines creating a woodgrain using Gray, Sepia or black. A fine liner brush can be used or a very fine line pen. These lines need to be soft, not hard heavy lines.

• Detail can be added using the following techniques:
Alcohol drops to “bleach” out some of the wood color
A knothole created using your knuckle. 

Enjoy these golden days of summer while you can and paint a memory or two to carry you through the cold winter days ahead!

Happy Painting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Greek Holiday!

Greek Holiday
Watercolor 11" x 13" Mats to 15" x 17"

It is travel season and we sometimes think of exotic places to visit.  I did not make the journey physically to this Greek isle, but traveling via my painting is one of my favorite ways to travel.  (Much less expensive means of travel, too!   When you think of how much money you are saving by traveling via painting, the splurge of a new paintbrush is not a big deal!)    The painting above is of a clifftop village of Oia with cobblestone walkways, on the northern tip of the Greek island of Santorini. 

Notice the sharp contrast of the black hillside rock and the whitewashed builings.  The black rock of the island is due to a unique landscape from volcanic eruptions.  A volcano, still active, stands at the center of the ring of islands with Santorini being the longest island in this group.  The colorful bright blue doors bring out the beautiful blue of the sea and sky.

Watercolor tip:
The volcanic rocks were painted by dropping in various shades of brown paint and scraping the shape of the rocks in using the side of a credit card.  

So, if you don't have a "real" vacation planned, do what I do......take a trip with your paints.....and you'll have a little money left over to splurge on a paintbrush!

Happy Painting!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Artist Trading Cards - Part 2 - "How to Paint ATCs"

ATCs or artist trading cards are a fun way to share your "style" with other artists.  At the conclusion of our Artist Trading Card Workshop, we traded cards.  Scattered throughout this blog are individual photos of some of the ATCs done by the artists.

Essentially ATC’s are miniature works of mixed media art. Using a wide variety of materials to create new works of art is not new. We all remember Raushenberg, Duchamp, and Matisse to name but a few. But what makes it fun and interesting is that this is meant for everyone. All levels of work are welcome. The main goal is that they are created with the idea of sharing them with each other. They can be seen as an artist calling card, and can be whatever the artist wishes them to be. It is art after all, would we expect less?

But ATC’s themselves do have rules. The only rules being that the small works of art are, (1) exchanged and not sold, and (2) that they must be 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm in size.

Artist trading cards, or ATCs, began in the tradition of business cards, but with a personal, artistic twist. Most ATCs are created on paper, but they may also be any other medium that can be worked in a suitable size. ATCs are traditionally the size of baseball cards and other trading cards. They're a fun way to exchange your own one-of-a-kind artistic flair with other artists you meet. Also use them as business cards.

• Start with the size in mind. Artist trading cards are generally 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches. This is the size of playing cards and other trading cards. You can even start with mismatched playing cards as a base for collage or altered item artwork.

• Express yourself or show your style, using your preferred medium or media. If you can do it inside of 3.5 x 2.5 inches, you can make an ATC.

• Work somewhat quickly. You don't need to be careless when making an ATC, but there's no need to work your masterpiece in miniature, either. ATCs should be simple pieces that you're willing to give away when you're done.

• Make lots. You'll need a selection of cards. Remember that you will be giving your cards away. "Lots" can be relative. It could be half a dozen or a few dozen, depending on how many you expect to trade.

• Show your style. Is there a particular palette or medium you prefer or a technique you've been exploring lately?

• Sign your cards and attach contact information, if you choose to. An email address or website is a good compromise if you'll be giving these cards to strangers.

• Title your work. The title is optional, but it will give your recipients or viewers a context in which to view your work.

• Share. The whole point of ATCs is to trade with other artists, so once you have a selection of cards, trade them.

o Find artists or groups in your area that trade cards.

o Attend gatherings of artists in your area, and remind them to bring ATCs to share.

o Carry them with you as you would business cards, so that if you find an occasion to trade or give away a card, they are with you.

o Spread the word. If your local artist community is unfamiliar with artist trading cards, you may have to give away a few cards or offer them with a request for one in return before you get many back.

o Organize a gathering to swap ATCs. Let people know what ATCs are about, and get together to try trading some.

o Look on-line. There are on-line groups that will match you up with others the world over who can mail cards in exchange for yours.

Collect others' ATCs. Because they are the size of other standard trading cards, most will fit in trading card sleeves. ATCs should be as unique as the artists who create them, so enjoy the selection. Start a collection of ATCs and try to get as many as you can.

Happy Painting!