Sunday, February 20, 2011

Watercolor Workshop

Seven students are taking my current workshop and yesterday we were able to cover 2 important lessons: working wet using a spray bottle to help move the paint, and building wash layers to create a greater sense of depth.  I always need to revisit these lessons because acknowledging what we are doing with the paint continues to help me recognize the wonderful qualities of watercolor. This morning I was able to complete yesterday's first demonstration painting.

"Howling at the Moon", watercolor, 30" x 22"

The wolf is still on my mind and after last weekend's encaustic paintings (all wolf themed) I am still inspired by these wonderfully mysterious creatures. I also could not help but notice the full moon the past 2 nights, did you see it?

Next weekend we will work on more traditional landscape painting however my hope is that we will incorporate many of the watercolor techniques we practiced yesterday with a more impressionistic landscape as an end result.

setup and working 

2 of the 7 are repeat students who were familiar with the wash lesson. We all used painters tape to mask out white areas in the painting. They worked quickly and are allowing me to share their work.

Betty Dumas's birch trees on the easel, and Judith Eskin's painting is flat on the table.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


This must be the week of sketch book practice...  other bloggers I follow also wrote about sketching (DanSherry, Celeste). I have only had time to sketch briefly while out and about this week, until today when I am teaching an all day watercolor workshop. It's all about making time (any amount of time) to practice and not feel inhibited.

I liked viewing the sketches on both the front and back side of the page, there is interesting white of paper remaining on the back side... the watercolor painter in me always recognizes white space. Sharpie markers are easy to transport and do not require any setup, quite a change from watercolor or encaustic.

Sketches from Thursday:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Wolves... I am dancing now!

Yesterday I painted the gray wolf portrait, but today I wanted to incorporate the wolf theme into landscapes. I worked small which allowed me to have more fun and enjoy quicker results. Now I need to decide which of these will make the best gift for my niece, which would you choose?

"Gray Wolf Howling", 2.5 x 3.5 encaustic

"Brown Wolf", 2.5 x 3.5 encaustic

I always float and mount my small encaustic works on watercolor paper, sign with my chop stamp instead a traditional signature, and put the work into shadowbox frames. This protects the wax and helps create even more dimensionality (* the brown wolf image below is truer color than the image above).

Yesterdays work below, "Gray Wolf", 6 x 6 encaustic painting; this does not need to be framed because it is painted on a 2 inch deep cradled birch panel, I just need to wire it.

And one last image to share... I was a substitute teacher on Friday in the high school art department and what a pleasure to be with students that were there by choice busy working on assignments, although very few of them needed my help. I spent most of my time doodling with paints in between classes and decided to share one of my paintings with you. If I worked at the high school full time, I would insist on a student grade watercolor paper. The students are painting mostly with acrylics and tempera, and using an inexpensive sketch paper with paints. I used a tray of watercolor in square blocks, the same kind distributed in elementary school, then added india ink for outlining and thin permanent marker for details.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


It was time to lighten up - no thoughts about competitions or entering juried shows, just having fun with my paints and remembering why I love being an artist. I chose a completely different theme, the gray wolf. 

My one and only dilemma was whether I wanted to build up layers of clear wax medium on top of the pigmented wax, but I didn't want to loose the texture, instead I fused with heat to seal the paint. I may continue with the wolf theme tomorrow; there is someone special that will be receiving a wolf painting for her birthday next week!

"Gray Wolf", 6 x 6 encaustic

Friday, February 11, 2011

Strike Two

Today was the day I would have received notification if any of my submissions were accepted to the most recent competition I entered, and let's just say I did not receive notification (which means I was not accepted). I can't say I am terribly disappointed but it's never fun accepting rejection (although over the years I have gotten much better at it!) I did second guess the work I submitted, I always do, because all 3 pieces were impressionistic encaustic paintings and in my opinion, encaustic as a medium is misunderstood unless you are an artist working with it.

This weekend should allow me time to work on small image transfers followed by the watercolor workshop I am teaching at Montserrat College on February 19 and 26. In the meantime, I am posting an older watercolor that was sold several years ago. The image inspires me with feelings of peace and tranquility. I tried to re-create a similar feeling using encaustic paint several weeks ago; practice practice!

"Ocean Dreams"

"Hidden Sunset"

Monday, February 7, 2011

Balancing Act

This past December I signed up to substitute teach in the local school system. I have been trying to figure out ways I can supplement my art income because my sales were down in 2010. Fortunately, I have been called regularly to cover classrooms, anywhere from high school English and History, to middle school Special Ed., to elementary school Art. Unfortunately, this has been a huge distraction from my art-making process in the studio. My hope is that I continue to substitute teach until the end of the school year, then I will be more qualified when I apply for full time positions this summer. I still teach watercolor workshops at the local art college but it's just not enough. My creativity has been side tracked for now and rather than forcing myself to paint when I have time (a day off like today) I am taking a break from new works, just until I have found a better balance in my life.

Sometimes I wonder how everyone else finds a balance with the "art" world vs. "real" world. 

After my last post... in retaliation from show rejection... I decided to subject myself to more torture (kidding) and I applied to a juried show but this time it was out of state (and a last minute effort). I will hear on Friday whether my work was accepted or not; my expectations are low bordering non existent. I found the prospectus in an email generated from Professional Artist magazine aka Art Calendar email. Do any of you submit work to those listings?

My submissions were 3 new encaustic paintings, I will hear via email whether I was accepted to the show or not, wish me luck.