Monday, July 25, 2011

Growth, Expansion and Art

Beaufort, SC
Watercolor in
Hand•book Watercolor Sketchbook
8.5 x 3.5 inches
On my way up to Charlotte, NC, to a business conference with Christine Kane, I stopped by one of my very favorite cities in the south, Beaufort, South Carolina. This sketch was done about 8 in the evening on Saturday and it was still in the mid 90's!

Ugh. The humidity was unreal.

The marsh grasses completely captivate me when I'm in this area and I could spend, well, let's just say a really, really long time, learning to capture the nuance of colors in the shifting sawgrass. Since I don't get to stop here as often as I'd like, it was worth it to brave the heat.

Especially since I knew I could pass out in the AC after I finished the sketch!

Just as we practice to improve our skills to learn to "see," to paint and draw, I've found that I have to practice and improve my skills to continue growing my creative life. I am very excited to be working with Christine Kane as a mentor/coach.

Sharing my passion for art, for sketching, for painting, for gaining confidence in our skills is so very important to me so I took a huge step earlier this year and hired Christine to help me reach a new level in my business!

I'll being stretched, challenged and nudged to new mindsets and perspectives. I'm stepping waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out my comfort zone and I'm learning to do things imperfectly...........this should sound familiar to some you who have taken my classes.

I'm getting in a little bit of sketch time and I'll share it when I get the chance to take some photos.

What are you doing to get out of your comfort zone?!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Painting Blueberries - A Video!

Why is it that fresh fruits seem to taste better when it's so darn hot?! Is it that little bit of coolness or the sweetness or the crunch? Maybe it's the distraction from the heat. Whatever it is, these blueberries were deemed special enough to gain entrance into the sketchbook!
Watercolor and Ink
in Hand•book Watercolor Sketchbook
8.5 x 3.5 inches
Click to enlarge
I made a Blueberry Poundcake this past Sunday. Chris toted 3/4s of the cake out the door on his way to work Monday morning. The plate came back empty Tuesday evening.

Only two people work in his shop.....

Blueberries are so much fun to paint that I thought I'd share the process with you! I use M. Graham watercolors in the video and I've gotta tell you, the more I use them, the more spoiled I become! In case you didn't know, M. Graham has just relaunched their web site and they also have a Facebook page.

Take a look and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Italy, Paris and New Orleans—All Aboard!!

An Imaginary Trip to Italy gets underway on Tuesday, August 2nd! That's just a few weeks away. Come and join in the fun, but hurry, there's only a few spaces left! More info HERE.

An Imaginary Trip to Paris will be leaving on Tuesday, September 6th! Breakfast, gardens, castles, strolling down the side streets to take in the sights and sounds....come join the trip. More info HERE.

We're also headed for an Imaginary Trip to New Orleans on September 12th! Talk about fun—we have too much of it with beignets, trolleys, balconies, and iron lace! Check out the trip HERE.

There's also a few spaces left for NOLA Live! An Artist's Painting Holiday this coming November! We'll be taking all of our skills and spending the days painting on location with visits to an old plantation, Mardi Gras museums and homes. It's the perfect opportunity to actually visit the city and develop your skills for painting on location. More info HERE. Come and join us!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pigments, Oh My!

Various color swatches, palettes and necessary pieces
of flotsam and jetsam
I recently had lunch with Kathy of Catching Happiness, and was describing my very lengthy, messy, all-consuming process of choosing/updating pigments for my palette. She said, "You should have taken a picture!"

Well, KJ, this one's for you!

These photos were actually taken after the worst was over. I had and still have whole pans, half pans, tubes of paint and scraps of paper with a bazillion swatches scattered everywhere, and I do mean, everywhere!

I tend to go all out when I start to change my palette around and it's all I focus on until I make my decisions as to the changes I'm going to make.

"Your passions sweep you away."
Fortune cookie from dinner
over the weekend.
They must have peeked into the studio!
How often have you gone into the art store and fell in love with a tube of paint based on a romantic name (Rose Doré) or the paint sample above the rack? All excited, you rush home, paint it out on a piece of paper and either think, "oh, pretty" or "ugh, not what I thought."

Maybe that doesn't describe you, but it sure describes me!

I have more tubes of paint than I care to count for those reasons.

One of things I've learned over the years is that until I know how well a pigment will play with the others ALREADY on my palette, it doesn't matter if it's a "pretty" or an "ugh."

Taking the time to test out the newcomer with my core pigments and see if I get any new, glowing mixes I can't live without is the only way to know if a pigment will make the cut. I sometimes find that I already have a color on my palette that does as good or better job than the new pigment.

There are a couple of pigments on my palette just because I love the mixes I can make by adding them to some of my tried and true colors. As stand alone pigments....they "ughs."

I highly recommend doing color swatches of all the core colors you have on your palette as well as any new pigments you might want to try—bet you'll be surprised!

Testing out possible color choices for Rainier Cherries
All images can be clicked to enlarge!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Caffeine Challenged Sketching

Some days I wonder what I was thinking about when I look back at my sketches because it's obvious I was not thinking about what I was sketching!
IHOP Coffee Carafe
Watercolor and Ink
5 x 5 Inches
To continue that yippee-we're-on-vacation!!" feeling that Chris and I found in Gulfport (see post here), we decided to go out for breakfast on the 4th of July. The only time we ever eat breakfast out is when we're on vacation or unusual circumstances (like the Jeep had to go into the dealer at 7:00 am for a recall).

I decided to get in some people sketching practice while we waited for our food to be delivered....and picked the one guy in the whole restaurant that was getting ready to leave 13 seconds after I put down my first line on the page. 

Okay, then. 

I decided to shift my attention to the coffee carafe that the waitress had just set down on the table. 

I knew it wouldn't be leaving. 

When we arrived home, I decide to go ahead and add color to the piece....and wondered why in the world I didn't turn the pot so that some of handle showed for a more interesting sketch...what was I thinking?!

My "save" was to paint in an imaginary shadow showing the handle. Not highly accurate or convincing, it does save this from a totally useless sketch. 

I think I need more practice. Or maybe I just need more coffee before I tackle this again.

Will you be sketching this weekend?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christmas....In July?!

Yes! Christmas in July! Why? Because if you're like me, you have dreams of creating your own designs at Christmas time every year. You realize on the 18th of December that it's probably NOT going to happen. Again.

So this year, I decided to do a MINI Christmas In July class! You can find more information here. It's a 4 week class with a creative prompt each week as well as a video demo covering some aspect of making the artwork card-ready for the holidays.

Come and join the fun! Class starts tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dinner....and a Mini Vacation!

Impressions of Gulfport
Watercolor and Ink
10 x 7 inches
Cachet Watercolor Sketchbook
Saturday evening, we met friends Wayne and Myra in Gulfport, Florida for an early dinner. Little did we know it would be a mini vacation! We met at Backfin Blue Cafe for crab cakes and a grouper sandwich before strolling around the little beach community.

The cafe is in an old house that's been converted into a restaurant. There were about six tables inside with a dozen on a porch that wrapped around the outside of the house. The food was good and the company, excellent as always! By the time we left there was a long wait at the front door.

After we finished our meal, we walked towards the beach. Antiques and collectibles, beach wear, home decor, and restaurants were everywhere!

There was live music going on at a number of the restaurants and bars adding to the ambience. Lulu, the famous feline, was hanging out on the front porch of the Peninsula Inn and Spa to greet guests (though she was trying to catch up on her beauty sleep).

We walked out on the small pier when we reached the water and enjoyed the cool breezes coming in. The signs posted mentioned manatee, but we didn't see any. From there, we began our walk back up the other side of the street, admiring the different houses and gardens. We eventually arrived at an ice cream shop where we just had to stop and enjoy the goodies!

What we expected to be a very nice dinner with friends turned into a mini getaway as we walked through the town and into some of the small eclectic shops. They were advertising an Art Night on the first Friday of each month and the third Saturday. Sounds like a good time!

The four of us decided we needed to go back (soon!) and check out some of the other restaurants in the area as well as for the fun mental break of a mini getaway.

I opted to leave my sketchbook in the jeep and instead took photos with my iPhone as we strolled around. Sunday, I painted the collage while the vacation feeling was still strong.

Just looking at the page brings back that "vacation state of mind!"

Hope you had a fabulous weekend too!