Friday, 24 March 2017

Just One Step Ahead

It is not often that a student asks to learn something that I don't know how to do but Jeannie surprised me by wanting to try an abstract. Thankfully there is the internet with hundreds of photos to for viewing and learning.
#1017 - Blended Blooms - 5 x 7 watercolour
Not being sure what Jeannie was interested in, I did 'Blended Blooms' as a trial. I liked it but, when she came for her lesson, Jeannie felt that she wanted a more abstract look and less impressionism.
#1015 - Bold Burst - 5 x 7 watercolour
'Bold Burst' started as a demonstration of applying colour somewhat randomly. I finished this after the class by adding more colour and water and letting things flow together.
#1016 - Blended - 5 x 7 watercolour
'Blended' is the painting we did together and, of course, I forgot to take a photo of Jeannie's painting. Jeannie liked her painting in landscape format but I prefer portrait format for mine. It was fun doing this piece so I used the idea for a birthday card I made for a friend.
Card #87 - Birthday Balloons
For the lesson with Jeannie I was just one step ahead so I was happy to get back on track with this week's class with Heather and do something I was more familiar with - skies and mountains!

We used one of my older paintings as a guide for our first piece.
#967 - Clouds on the Mountain #2 - 5 x 16 watercolour
Heather wanted to learn how to achieve the tonal perspective needed for the mountains and she liked the clouds over the mountains. When I mentioned taking photos of her work she was reluctant so I didn't push. We left the foreground for homework because I wanted Heather to try a more dramatic sky.
#1019 - Sunset Storm - 5 x 7 watercolour
We stared out doing a bright sunset but ended up with a 'Sunset Storm'. Many beginners are afraid of using too much colour and I wanted to show her that adding the dark clouds over the sunset could make a more effective painting.

I hope to show my students that painting can be fun! I want them to loosen up and play a bit more; to let the brush dance over the paper and just see what happens. It will come with more practice and confidence and then they will have the skills to paint different styles, from abstract to realistic. Here's hoping!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Thinking Summer

I know! It is only the first day of Spring so why am I thinking Summer? I spent yesterday afternoon using my new ArtFoamies to print some new Hot Weather Scarves and that made me think of warm summer days.
stamped fabric strips
close up of new designs   
I started making Hot Weather Scarves in 2015 using some of my own stamps and some from ArtFoamies. They are hand made, hand stamped cotton 'bags' with gel beads that expand when soaked and provide hours of cooling comfort. Most of the scarves I make now are only 1 1/4" wide so they are more tie than scarf. These 'Cool Ties' are perfect for gardening, hiking or just hanging around in the sun. I also make 'Cool Bags' which are little gel bags that fit under a cap or hat to help keep your head cool.
one of my original designs
Last fall my daughter suggested that I should make some shorter scarves - or 'Cool Ties' - with more masculine designs and colours; something that would appeal to men working in the fields and forests. With the help of the internet, I designed some patterns and went to my friend Emmie at Emmie's Art Foamies
and asked her to make me some stamps. This is what she has made so far;
Tools, Trucks and Chainsaws
 Emmie is still working on more of my patterns and I hope I get them in time to make more Cool Ties for the coming summer.

Here are a couple more links where you will find more of Emmie's Art Foamies.
ArtFoamies on Facebook  and ArtFoamies on Etsy.  I hope you will check them out and share with your friends

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Value Workshop part 2

We started the second class on Light with critiques of the still-life paintings that everyone did since the first class. I am happy to say that my painting "More than a Picnic" (see my blog 'Value Workshop') did not receive any negative comments and no suggestions for improvement were offered. I guess I got an A+ - lol.

I actually submitted two pieces for the critiques.
#1018 - Still-life with Oranges - 5 x 7 watercolour
my drawing of Still-life with Oranges

I did this piece mostly as a test for myself. My friends at Art Club were teasing me about my first painting for the workshop because I printed the photo and just transferred the image onto my watercolour paper before painting. I figured it was a class on value not drawing, so why not? But, Wednesday evening I decided I would do a drawing of the still-life from one of the photos on my computer. I was happy with the way it turned out so I painted it and submitted it for critique too. Everyone liked this piece as well and offered no suggestions for changes.

The remainder of the class was about Light and Mood and the instructor shared lots of photos as examples. It was very interesting and the notes will prove useful for future paintings. The instructor tried to show different moods on the still-life set-up by using coloured film over a spot light but the daylight in the room was too bright and the effects were limited.

We finished the class by starting work on another still-life with the new display. I took lots of photos but I also did a sketch.
drawing of still-life #2
 I do my sketches on newsprint in pencil then go over them with a pen. I really don't do enough drawing so working in pencil first is an indication of my lack of confidence. I plan to do a drawing every evening while watching TV to hone my skills and build that confidence. Being able to pause the TV is such a benefit. Here is a sketch I did from a commercial.
Deer sketch - about 6 x 8
This probably only took about 5 minutes to sketch, then another five to add the pen and some extra shading.

I think that the impetus to start sketching is one very special bonus of the  workshop I attended. I may not do many more still-life paintings but I will definitely do more sketching.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Value Workshop

Yesterday I attended a workshop on Value hosted by the Creston Art Club. Every year the club puts on a number of workshops instructed by club members or by other local artists. This workshop was given by a wonderful pastel artist, Carol Schloss - Carol's web page.

Partly because there was so much information to absorb and partly because we had homework, the workshop was split in two and the second half will be held next Friday. Here is my homework.
#1013 - More than a Picnic - 7  x 10 watercolour
'More than a Picnic' is my rendition of the very large still life set-up that was arranged for the class. I made a few changes, switching oranges to apples and adding the drapery in the background. It will be interesting to hear what kind of critique this piece gets next week.

Although I already knew a lot of the information given at the workshop yesterday, some of it was new and the reminder of the usefulness of red plastic film was the best part. For those who do not know, looking at your art through red plastic film turns the piece almost black and white. This makes it easy to check your values which is an important part of a painting.

One aspect of the class yesterday was very disappointing for me. Each participant brought in a painting they were not happy with for critique and suggestions for improvement. When my turn came, the response was unenlightening. Everyone, instructor included, said my painting was lovely even though I thought is was blah!
#426 - Windmills and Water - 7 x 10 watercolour with pen & ink
I wasn't happy with their lack of suggestions and prodded them to offer something. The changes I made are quite subtle but I think they make a difference.
#426a - adjusted painting
Of course, the changes are more evident in person but I am happier with the corrected painting.

In my last blog I shared some photos of the Creston Valley and today, just for fun, I want to share a picture of the same scene. - I will add the other day's photo for comparison.

I always think of Brigadoon when we have fogs like this - lol. The world has disappeared and you can imagine entering a different world when the fog lifts. Isn't imagination grand!

Thanks for stopping by  and please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Always something to do!

There is always something to do when you are an artist and teacher. I had an email last Thursday from a past student wanting to know if I could fit her in for a lesson on Saturday. Of course, I agreed!

Theresa wanted to do flowers and had some of her own wonderful photos as references. She had two major concerns: backgrounds and portraying the delicacy of flowers.
#1012 - Bloom & Bud - 5 x 7 watercolour
I used the leaves to show wet-in-wet blending followed by liner brush work. For the petals we used a wet-on-dry technique with damp brush blending. The background was straight wet-in-wet using a variety of very strong colours blended on the paper, painting carefully around the flower. And finally, I demonstrated lifting out colour from the background and adding a few more leaves and the bud to help balance the composition. There isn't time in a two hour class to do a complete painting so I jump around from subject to subject so the student has had instruction on every element. We work on a few leaves, a few petals, a bit of background and lifting and then the student can (hopefully) complete the painting at home.

Bloom & Bud started off just as a demonstration on a old spotted piece of watercolour paper. In spite of the jumping around, I could see that my demonstration piece was looking pretty good so I cleaned off the few spots that showed on the petals and completed the painting.

To top of the weekend, I got a surprise. A few weeks ago, my friend Sheila was doing a give-away on her blog (Sheila's Blog) of some niftily textured foam. That is what I picked up at the post office on Sunday.
The timing was perfect as I had just started work on a quilled dolphin and wasn't sure how I would finish the card but one of the textured foams was perfect. I will probably be playing with these foam pieces for some time.
And finally, here are a couple of photos of winter in the valley. Today started off with 6 more inches of snow, grey skies and a 20 minute blizzard but by 11:00 the sun was shining in a vibrant blue sky.

Hmm, I got more cloud that I thought. Some day I should paint some winter scenes of the valley but for now, I would rather think Spring and paint flowers.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Lucky Demonstrations

Once again I was very lucky with my demonstrations for my students this week and completed a few paintings that worked very well.
#1010 - Yellow-rumped Warbler #2 - 5 x 7 watercolour
Ed wanted to work on a piece that had more detail and to have a more realistic painting. This piece involved using finer brushes and a nib pen for the smallest lines. Because of the detail Ed didn't get his painting finished during the class but he was doing a super job. I hope he brings his painting next time and I hope he will let me take a photo.

#1011 - A Quiet Place - 5 x 7 watercolour
"A Quiet Place" was a very lucky painting. A few weeks ago my student, Heather, and I worked on a scene from the Creston Valley. Heather had problems with a few elements of her piece so I grabbed a discarded piece of paper to show her how to make some corrections. The trees on the hill in the middle ground were painted first to demonstrate how to blend them together and set them down on the hill. Then, I quickly painted some evergreens to one side so I could show her how to lift the dark colour to make bushes in front of the trees. While she was making these adjustments on her painting, I just sort of doodled in the rest of the scene. I really liked the finished painting which is why I say it was lucky.
#1006 - Erickson Orchards - 7 x 10 watercolour
This is my painting of the valley scene that Heather and I were working on and you can see the locations that involved the demonstrations. Again, I hope to be able to get photos of her painting at her next lesson.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Another Busy Week

My husband and I are always saying that it is a good thing we are retired because we don't have time for a job. We also don't have time for that other problem - boredom. There is always something to do!

I currently have three private students and, although the snow two weeks ago cancelled classes, we are back on schedule. Most of the time I don't get a completed painting when I am teaching because I am demonstrating the techniques. But, last week I was able to do a painting that I really liked.
#1009 - Sunset Memories - 7 x 10 watercolour
We worked from a photo my student found on the internet. I made some changes to my painting while Ed stuck with what he saw in the photo. BTW - Most of my students don't like me taking photos of their work - especially a WIP.

Something else that has kept me busy for the last while is adding labels to my blog posts and putting hashtags on my Facebook and Google+ posts. Using hashtags is new to me and I have trouble remembering to use them, but I think they could be a good tool. When someone clicks on a hashtag a number of posts from different people, who also use them, will be accessed. This potentially gives me a wider range of people who will see my paintings, not just my friends and followers. The labels are a bit different; they only refer to my blog. However, this can be useful too. For instance, when I briefly mentioned starting my bedding plants this year a couple of people asked me about that. Now, the labels will take them to a previous post all about that subject.

I have also been doing a bit of quilling lately. Using some photos from the internet as reference, I made some new Christmas ornament designs and some new cards.

Quilled Dragonfly with Poppy Card

Quilled Dragonfly with Primrose Card

And finally, I have signed up for Kat Sloma's Liberate Your Art postcard exchange. If you haven't heard about this you can find out about it here - Kat's page  Luckily I have lots of cards on hand that I was able to modify to fit the postcard guidelines and they will be in the mail later this week.

That is just a few of the things that have been keeping me hopping. I keep wondering when life is going to slow down but I figure that busy is better than bored - lol.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment.