Sharing Some Love (World Watercolor Month, 26/31)

I feel the need to share some love today. I think if two colors as different as red and blue can come together effortlessly and make purple, then the world can come together in love and unity, and drive out hate and division.

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As an artist, I see my role as a recycler: taking negative events, emotions, etc. and using them as fuel to create a fire inside of myself which allows me to transform it all into a painting or a sketch that can touch someone’s heart, bring them a smile, or a peaceful moment.

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We are all creators. We all have this ability. Some turn out a beautiful story or verse; some produce a lovely photograph; some grow flowers; some, a meal; some make music; and still others make a child feel comforted and loved. We are all recyclers. We have work to do, but we are up to the challenge. Peace.

Awash in Geometric Watercolor! (World Watercolor Month, 20/31)

OK, so Charlie may have something with this “paint every day” thing. I’m definitely getting more out of it this go-round than my first time trying this last July (pure coincidence, I was doing a solo watercolor challenge after finally buying some good paper.   It was almost like starting from scratch, as I’d been compensating for the other paper without realizing it).  This is 5 3/4 x 5 1/8″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:

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I am starting to gain confidence with watercolor now, and these daily paintings are really helping. Limiting my palette to two or three colors (M. Graham watercolors in Phthalo Blue, Aureolin/Azo Yellow, and a bit of Winsor and Newton Green Gold), getting a section of the paper damp and then dropping in pigment and watching what happens, playing with the washes (tipping the paper this way and that, adding water here, adding pigment there) as they dry…..you can learn an awful lot just by doing that!   And it actually becomes fun to watch paint dry, because it’s fun to see how you can steer the colors; it becomes more and more for me, an intentional process, rather than just a happy-accidentally-pleasing watercolor painting.   (It doesn’t take long to dry either, in the July heat.   Bonus!)  (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site.   Enjoy free shipping for orders of $35 or more through this Friday, and thank you!)

Not to say you don’t get happy accidents, because you totally do, and I think with watercolor, you always will, which is why everyone loves it.    But I find as I become more familiar with the paper, the pigments, the brushes, the effects I’m getting become more intentional, I’m learning when to wait and when to steer/fiddle a bit, and overall it’s just lots and lots of fun.

A few notes:

  1.  Quinacridone and Phthalo colors really move.   They are so much fun to drop into damp paper.    It’s almost like watching a scifi flick!
  2.  A barely damp acrylic brush is a great way to get rid of hard lines that form where you don’t want them.    (I use a Princeton Umbria flat, just love it for acrylic painting too)
  3.  Best not to plan too far in advance, I’m finding.   I begin with a couple of shapes and then try to respond to what I’m seeing in the painting so that I can try and build a pleasing composition, and a nice size/shape balance.    A sure way to wreck one of these is to plan the whole thing out.   Watercolor is unpredictable enough that I do not want to squash it.    Just need to let the genie out of the bottle, let it breathe, and learn to take a breath and just wait.    And see what happens.

Hmm…..I’m already wondering what the month of August will bring.   Will I run back to acrylics?   Will I stay with geometric abstracts?   Have I fallen back in love with watercolor?   Have we all fallen into an episode of “The Young and the Restless”?!   I hope you’ll stick around and find out.    I have no clue where this train is going.   Choooooo choooooooooooooooooooo.    Peace.

What the World Needs Now… (World Watercolor Month, 16/31)

….is Love, sweet Love!

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If you have unrest in your heart or your mind, please…..pick up a pencil, a paintbrush, a camera, a guitar, create a space for joy and peace in yourself. I ask you. Take care of your self and your health, physical, mental, etc.   Find time to CREATE (everyone has 5 or 10 minutes a day, come on), and make the world a better place.    The world NEEDS what you create.   I promise you, you won’t regret it.

This painting brought to you by: Gesso resist, joy, M. Graham watercolors, peace, Golden fine pumice gel (a new favorite – more experiments to come), happiness, a 1/2″ Princeton umbria flat brush, freedom, and 140# Arches cold press. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at watercolor, here’s how to get started for under $20.    (Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help support my site and a fledgling small business.)

Honestly, people, get some freedom.    Allow yourself to play with color and water; what better time than summer is there for this?   This world needs joy and art times a thousand. We’re all counting on you!    Let’s make some peace.

Mama Said, Mama Said (World Watercolor Month 15/31)

That song is stuck in my head from working at this, really trying to make this painting “become” what it wants to be.    The lines of communication just weren’t there, and I couldn’t hear what it was trying to tell me.   All I could hear is that song “Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, mama said….”  This is 5 x 8″ 300# Arches cold-press.   The good news is, this has turned from a watercolor painting (yeah, it’s underneath, somewhere) to an acrylic painting, and with acrylics, it is never over.   Amen, brother Ben, and please pass the sauce!

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Every painting is a journey. Some journeys never get there, and we just have to turn the page, and know that the sun will rise tomorrow!

What I learned:

1. I truly love Quinacridone Burnt Orange.
2. I love texture products. OK, I already knew that.
3. Yeah, that’s probably it.

Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from this link helps to support my site, and a fledgling art business.  Enjoy, and many thanks.

This weekend, I’ll be posting my round-up from the fabulous bird art we saw on July 8, when we last celebrated Draw A Bird Day.   Peace and happy WEEKEND to all!

Strawberry Fields Forever (World Watercolor Month 11/31)

This began with a pink cosmos cut from Hub’s garden. I did a basic watercolor sketch of it……and I just didn’t like it. Hence, another abstract painting was born! I think God is trying to tell me not to paint realistically anymore. 🙂    This is roughly 4″ by 4″ on Arches 140 lb. cold-press watercolor paper:

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The initial watercolor sketch was done with a sweet little travel palette made by Winsor & Newton with Cotman half pan paints inside.    I then added some strokes of various Neocolor crayons by Caran d’Ache (which would probably be the art supply I would save first if there were ever a fire here, they’re just so darned vibrant, creamy and versatile), liquified them, and refined with a bit more pan watercolor paint, and some Liquitex Gesso.   My old friends, the Golden fluid acrylic paints (vibrant, luscious paint the consistency of heavy cream) rounded out the painting.   Note:   As a Blick Art Materials affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site and a fledgling art business.   Enjoy, and thank you!

Once again, this was quite a journey, and when it comes to abstract painting, I hope the journey never ends.   I think the biggest thing I’ve learned so far from the first third of the first annual World Watercolor Month is that I may be a realistic artist when drawing, but I’m an abstract painter.   And I’m loving it.   I hope you are, too.    Everybody should have a little “strawberry field where nothing is real” in their life.    Escape with art and recycle stress into strength!    Have a wonderfully productive and peaceful week.

Acrylic on Damp Watercolor Paper

This is 5 x 7″ acrylic on damp 300 lb. Arches cold press watercolor paper.

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I had some extra acrylic paint leftover from a recent painting session. I believe it was M. Graham heavy body acrylic in Turquoise and some Golden fluid paint in hansa yellow light. Unlike Golden Open acrylic paints, which can last up to a day or sometimes even longer on the palette without drying, those two were going to be dry in a few minutes if I didn’t use them. So I quickly sprayed a piece of watercolor paper with a misting bottle and swiped the paint on.  (Note:   As a Dick Blick affiliate, purchases from these links will help support my site.)

I thought it looked pretty cool, so I’ve left it alone so far. What do you all think? Should I add to it, or as The Beatles say, Let it Be?   I want to say that I am in LOVE with the vibrancy I get from acrylic paint on damp watercolor paper!   I had a long talk with a technician at Golden Artist Colors yesterday, and she advised that as long as the fluid paints are not diluted by more than half (so you’d want a 1:1 ratio of paint to water, and no less than that), the fibers of the watercolor paper should hold the acrylic paint without a problem.   However, if you’re concerned about the viability of the painting, you can always spray an acrylic fixative on top, or even coat the painting with a gloss or matte (depending on the look you’re going for) polymer medium.   News you can use for this Tuesday!   Peace and paint puddles to all.

Jewel-tone Textured Patchwork in Acrylic

This is acrylic on an 8 x 10″ canvas.    I am feeling the need to go even larger, thanks to encouragement from Debi, Dawn, Jodi, Graham, and so many others. Thank you for your encouragement!   I am enjoying it. It’s hard to believe I started on 4 x 4″ squares.

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Lately, I am enjoying combining acrylic texture products with a rich, dark underpainting to give me a good foundation and lots of depth from the start.    I started this one by combining Golden heavy gel with a bit of soft gel to produce a product with lots of body to it.    I laid it on the canvas with a palette knife, and cut random lines into the surface while it was still wet.   Once dry, I mixed a few drops of teal and turquoise india ink by Dr. Ph. Martin with (mainly) viridian acrylic heavy body paint by M. Graham and added that to the surface.   Once that dried, I was off to the races with primarily Golden fluid acrylics.

I want to give special mention to a product by Golden that helps me get nice, soft blends.   It’s called acrylic glazing liquid and I wouldn’t want to paint very long in acrylics without it.   I learned about it by watching Chris Cozen and other artists on Artist’s Network TV.    It not only adds several minutes of open time to the paint, it makes a slick, luscious surface for the brush to glide across with no drag at all.   It can also act as an eraser when you put something down and don’t like it.   You can put a couple drops on a soft rag (or on a paint brush) and work the surface to lift up the paint, providing you get to it within a few minutes or so, and it hasn’t had time to really set.   Really love it.   (Note:   As a Dick Blick affiliate, purchases from these links help to support my site.)

I am not sure I have enough light areas in this piece, so any feedback on that would be particularly helpful.   I always appreciate your comments and visits, and want to thank everyone for taking a look at my work.   I feel privileged to be a member of the WordPress art community.   You all are the best.

Happy Wednesday, and enjoy a lovely June day in your part of the world.   Fling joy like you mean it!   Peace.

My First 8 x 10″ ! (For D)

My sister (the artist) was in town from Florida….and just like a whirlwind, she is headed back home.

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We each started a painting while she was here. She would like me to finish hers, and I will post the before and after once I have a good feeling for her artistic vision for her piece. Wanted to share mine with you today. And I just want to say……Florida, why you have to be so far away?

It was nice to see them and my girl came home too, so yay! It does kinda make you long for the day when extended families all lived together, though, huh?    This is my largest acrylic ever, on an 8 x 10″ stretched canvas.    I really enjoyed it, and I’m glad there are more where this one came from!    Maybe I really can work large!    Who knew?!   I need a title for this, any thoughts?    Also, I have a new favorite color.   Quinacridone burnt orange.    I hope it exists in watercolor too!

Peace to all of you fine people. Enjoy your Sunday and hug somebody tight, for me and for D.   ❤

An Abstract Collaboration

After a recent collaboration of two artist bloggers, Sharon at Monday Tuesday Wednesday and Jodi at Life in Between, who both painted Jodi’s photo of her Mother’s Day lilies, Sharon chatted to me that it would be fun if we both did some abstract art.   I am always up for that (of course!), so I asked Sharon to pick the colors, and we both went for it with the lovely hues of pink, green and purple.

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This was done on 6×6″ acrylic canvas paper by Strathmore, which is a heavy paper textured with a canvas pattern.    (I am now a Blick affiliate, and your purchases from this link may result in commission to help support my site.)   I really enjoy the surface, but I found this quite a challenge!    I love all three colors, but had an easy time making mud with them too, and so this painting was quite a little journey.    It took quite a few tries with many mediums.  I first tried Tombow markers, thinking of Sharon’s lovely way with them, then moved on to Neocolor crayons and finally wound up with this little acrylic piece.     I was thinking of something a little brighter and cheerier, but heck, it’s Friday, so we’re all in good cheer anyhow, huh?

I hope we are all dancing our way into the weekend today!   Take care of each other.   Hug, rinse and repeat.   😀   Peace.