Saturday, May 23, 2009

Registration is now open!

I have just been informed that registration is now open to the general public for my next year classes. I will be dropping my Tuesday night watercolour class to give me more studio time, but will continue with the Monday and Wednesday classes. These are:

Paint Creatively with Watermedia! All Year -all levels-barcode 60729
Painting with Watermedia -All Year -advanced -barcode 60728
Watercolour -All Year -beginner to experienced beginner -barcode 60727

The course descriptors can be found on my website -please note these have been updated for next years classes. You can register by phone at 403-777-7200 (listen for the prompts), or online. PLEASE NOTE that these classes filled up in the first month they were posted last year, so please register soon if you are interested to avoid disappointment.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The teaching year draws to an end

This pin was attached to a lovely gift given to me by my watermedia students yesterday. We only have one more class to go before the semester ends and then we will have until the end of October before we resume again. Most of us can't wait for the break. It has been a great year all around with lots of new learning for both students and teacher! To all of my wonderful students, I want to thank you for bearing with me, for stretching me and for blessing me with your friendship and you great art works. I hope that you will be able to take something meaningful with you that will help you be able to see and experience the world around you in new ways, and to see the possibilities that are there in ALL of life when you ask 'what would happen if..."
Thank you!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Irises" -new watercolour

"Irises", 10 x 22", watercolour

This is a demonstration painting that I did for my advanced watermedia class. It was made with no drawing, just handling a 1" flat brush in a calligraphic style and then puddling in colours. In painting the leaves sometimes I dipped each edge of the brush in a different colour and made the twisting stroke, which gave me the twisted leaves. Reds are really difficult to photograph, the reds in this painting are actually more vermilion than rose coloured.

This painting will be one of 15 of my paintings that will be shown at the upcoming Clothesline Art Sale and Festival at the Leighton Art Centre on Sunday, May 31st from 10am to 4pm. This is a unique art event where artists hang matted artworks from clotheslines in tents on the Leighton property. Sales are brisk so try to come early for the best selection -having said that there is always an incredible amount of great art left at the end of the day. I will be there all day doing live demonstrations, so if you can come to this wonderful event, please stop by and say hello.

Monday, May 18, 2009

You're Invited!

This Wednesday from noon to 1pm I will be hosting a 'take-a-peak' event of my very wonderful and talented students' work this year. The location is Rosscarrock Elementary School, 1406 - 40St SW (2 blocks west of 37 St between Bow Trail and 17 Ave, just west of Westbrook Mall)-please enter by the south doors and proceed down the hallway to the last door on the right. To entice you and to make it more fun for us, we will be hosting a free potluck lunch as well. I had 62 students in all year watercolour and watermedia classes this year, and I expect about half of them to be present to show you their work and to talk to you about the classes. This will be of interest to anyone who is interested in taking my classes, or to any art student or art admirer in general. Most work will be available for sale, so if you are interested, please let me know.
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Another floral demonstration

This is the demo I did for my Wed morning class. For this one I had several photos of mixed flower bouquets to use as my source material. I followed exactly the same process as the last demo, except that I added reds to my palette. I splashed some water droplets into the damp wash to create some texture, thinking that perhaps if it looked like small flowers later, then I could incorporate some. I looked for flower shapes in the dry washes and did some drawing to show me where they could be.
Here the negative painting process has begun. I try to be careful not to take any one area too far at this point, and work all over the paper.
At this stage, most of the major flower forms have been found. I haven't done much inside any of the flowers yet, but have tried to give myself some large negative shapes where I can lay some more negatives to get more depth, so that all the flowers aren't on the same level.
"Flower Jungle", watercolour, 11 x 15"
This is the finished painting. You can see the negative areas are more developed as are the flowers themselves. My goal in the painting was to try to give the feeling of a mass of flowers, in varying shapes and colours, that flowed together to create a harmonious whole. I think I accomplished that, so I am happy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

New watercolor demonstration - continued

More work on tying the composition together. When this stage was done I rubbed out the pencil lines, which increased the feeling of looseness, as I had only defined parts of each flower, and this let them blend together a bit.

"Daffodil Jungle", watercolour, 10.5 x 14.5"
This is the final painting. I did some lifting to define some shapes rather than paint darker negatively as I wanted to keep the final painting light and airy. I found more flowers in the background washes -this works because if I set the context for the painting (daffodils) then anywhere the viewer sees yellow, they read daffodils, even though I haven't spelled it out to them. I laid in some more dark leaves both behind and in front of the flowers to create a pattern of darks to anchor the design. I like this approach as each shape flows into the next in places as not every leaf and petal is detailed. This prevents the 'cut out and pasted on' look that I dislike, and shows watercolour off to its best advantage IMHO.

New watercolor demonstration -Daffodil Jungle

This is a demonstration of a fun way to handle florals to ensure they remain loose and full of colour, plus it leaves a lot of room for creative exploration -which to me is why I paint. I began this painting with daffodils in mind, and I brought a small bouquet to class as an inspiration. I began by RANDOMLY wetting the paper in places, leaving some dry spots. Then I brushed and splattered azo yellow, gamboge hue, and some of the yellows with a touch of scarlet lake or phalo blue added. I paid no particular attention to where the paint went, other than trying to look for balance of colour. You can see where the random washes hit a wet area as then there are soft edges, and when the paint hit splatters of water, it created interesting shapes. Then I set it aside to dry.
The next step was to 'find' the daffodil shapes in the random washes. This takes some practice, but most of us can see animal shapes in cloud formations, and it is just developing that skill. I held one daffodil in my hand and where there could be a daffodil shape, I just turned the flower I was holding around til it seemed to fit and then drew it carefully onto the paper. It is critical to take your time at this stage as the painting will only be as good as the drawing is. I tried to make the petal shapes interesting and varied, whether or not they were actually like that in reality. Try to show the flowers from all angles as well as from the back for a sense of reality. After the drawing was finished, I began to bring out some of the flowers using negative painting as well as positively showing the bell of the flower from the petals. The goal here is to keep as much of the original paint untouched as possible to keep the freshness of the first washes.
At this stage I began to add in some background colour using ultramarine blue and quinacridone violet. I keep all the paint fairly light at this stage so I have leeway to do more negative painting if I choose later. At all stages of the painting I put it up at a distance to assess how things are going. If you only work at a close distance, you may lose the forest for the trees! My goal is 'how much do I have to do to enable my viewers to see a jungle of daffodils blowing in the breeze', and not a touch more!
Here I have begun to put in some positive darks to pop out the lighter flowers. Playing with calligraphy and my 1" brush allowed the leaves to twist and turn, without drawing the shapes on first and then filling in the lines with paint. This keeps some spontaneity.
More work on bringing out the flower shapes (notice the shapes along the bottom for example).
I will continue the demonstration in the next post...

Plein Air Workshop -Openings next Saturday

Hi all: I just posted that the May 23rd workshop at the Leighton Art Centre was full, BUT it was the June 20th workshop that is full and the one on May 23rd is the new one! Sorry if I confused any of you, but there is still room in the plein air pen & ink and watercolour workshop coming up NEXT Saturday, May 23rd. Please call 403 931 3633 to register.
Sorry about that, and hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Upcoming Plein Air Workshops

Many years ago (1995 to be exact) I began to take a sketch book, sharpie marker and a small watercolour kit on location to capture the beauty and colour of my surroundings when I did not have the time to commit to a full watercolour painting. Since then I have taught this technique to hundreds of artists and non-artists. I have NEVER had a person who was unable to do their own sketch that they were happy with. Of course, practice makes 'near' perfect! Once again, I am offering a plein air pen & ink and watercolour quick sketching workshop at the Leighton Art Centre. As the first workshop on May 23rd has filled up with a waiting list, I have agreed to do a second workshop there on June 20th. Please call the Leighton Centre at 403 931 3633 for more information or to register.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

End of wet-on-wet demo

I continued to work on making the frames more obvious, while at the same time linking the outside with the inside. I still don't think it is working -time to put on my 'what would happen if' hat...
I glazed a mixture of Quin Rose and Ultramarine blue over the outside frame, which definitely helped to separate the 2 frames, but I think the stripe connecting the 2 frames isn't working, so...

it gets a glaze also. This is working better, but it still doesn't have the look I was hoping for. This is a difficult format to work with when you aren't doing a landscape as it is so long and narrow (11" x 30"). It does work better when cropped into two individual paintings though. I think each one still needs something -perhaps I will go back into them with some pastels or pencil crayons, or collage -or just rip them up for future collage purposes???? Nothing is lost as each painting exercise, whether or not the final product is good, is a good learning experience.

So here they are as individual paintings; what do you think?


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Continuing with the wet-on-wet demo

OK, I have now decided to superimpose 2 boxes (making 2 frames of reference; in a box or outside of a box) onto the painting to 'hold' the rock scenes. I made them different widths to add interest. Then I decided which rock shapes would be wholly contained on one or the other boxes and which would overlap the two frames. This sounds confusing at this point I know, but it was done to hold my interest, and hopefully the viewers. Here I have begun to play with the frames, in some cases painting inside the edges of a box, and at others painting outside the box, to make a counter-change.
Here is the initial start of the painting. It is hard to see at this small size I know, so I will continue to show you the two views.
Here is the left side developed a little bit more. I 'found/invented' a twig form in the upper part just to add variety.
A longer look at this stage. This is as far as I went on Tuesday night; saving the right side for the demo on Wednesday.
Here I have done more work on both sides. I added some leaf forms to the right side. I am not happy at this stage as I don't feel you can tell what's going on. It's amazing how different it looks from 8" away, where it all makes perfect sense. As blogger will only let me post 5 images in one post, I will later on what happened next.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You HAVE to see this!!

I was just browsing my favorite blogs (while my painting was drying) and found this wonderful video clip of my all time favorite figurative oil painter, Karin Jurick. Just click on her name to see the video of "Life Should Be a Beach". If I did that wrong, please go to her blog and scroll down to March 30th to see it. I think these are all small paintings from 8x10" down to 4x4" -amazing.

new wet-on-wet demo

This is an idea that I got from Karlyn Holman in her excellent books on stretching the possibilities of watercolours with play. This is a half sheet of watercolour paper, cut on the long side (11 x 30") which I wet on both sides, and then began to drop wonderful pure colours into. When I was finished with that fun, I placed pieces of wax paper cut out to look like rock shapes, pieces of oriental lace and unryu papers, cheesecloth stretched out to make interesting patterns, sprinkled a bit of table salt into some of the uncovered areas, and then some scrunched saran wrap on top of all that, and left it to dry in the sun. (no peeking or you will upset the mark making!)
This is a close-up of the left hand side of the sheet so you can see it a bit better. You have to make sure you get your colours dark enough as the sheet is very wet and will dry a lot lighter. (You can click on each of these photos to see them enlarged)
This is what the sheet looked like after it dried and all the stuff was pulled off.
Here is a close-up of the left side of the painting so you can see the subtle textures better. Karlyn glues the oriental papers onto the paper, but I removed mine so I could keep it as pure watercolour. In my class tonight and tomorrow I will work on this by painting both negatively and positively to bring out the rock shapes from the texture. I can't wait as it is so much fun to work this way. Will post in progress pictures on Thursday.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

New acrylic painting

"Opabin Imaginings", 12 x 16", acrylic on paper

This is the demonstration painting that I did at the FCA show on Saturday. It is based on my plein air oil study from last September at Lake O'Hara (see post Sept 27, 2008 for the study). I chose an unusual colour triad that I just love (also in post Feb 20, 2009) of orange, yellow-green and violet. I used Golden Fluid Acrylics and worked quickly; the entire painting took less than one hour. That is the result of having a great plan and sticking to it, and not getting bogged down in the details.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Sunflowers from wet on wet demo

"Sunflower Time", watercolour, 11 x 11"
This is the result of a wet-on-wet demonstration that I did for my class on Wednesday. The composition could have been better if I would have had more time to think about it, this is a crop as it is. However, it was more important to show the process than it was to get a masterpiece!
I am in a Federation of Canadian Artists show on Saturday -click the link to find out more information. I hope to see you there if you are in town.