Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Dancer Painting

Here's my latest watercolor painting for "Upstage", a exploratory exhibition of dance. This is a group show with each of four artists working in their own style and medium. My focus in this series is the solitary dancer and the work and preparation behind the scenes. Each painting uses color, texture, and gesture to create a specific mood and emotion.

The exhibition will be in May, 2015 at Galerie Werner at the Mansions on Fifth, Pittsburgh, Pa. Details to come!

Quiet Persistance, watercolor, 23 x 20" before framing

Monday, December 1, 2014

Commissioned Pet Portrait

I rarely take commissioned pet portraits these days, but every once in a while a former client will return with a request for an additional portrait--usually because they have a new addition to the family.

Below are two paintings I did for a client: The top one is recent; the bottom one was done two years ago. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Painting from the Dance series

Coming this May, myself and three artists will be presenting an exhibition of paintings at Galerie Werner at the Mansions on Fifth in Pittsburgh, Pa. The theme is dance and we have some exciting artwork to share from four unique perspectives and a variety of media.

Stay tuned for more info as we develop the show. In the meantime, I will share a sneak preview of one of my paintings.

Solitary Pursuit, watercolor, 23 x 16" framed

Monday, November 17, 2014

Workshop Students' Paintings

I always encourage my students to continue working on their paintings after the workshop and invite them to send me their images. I received these after my last workshop in Charlotte and thought it might be nice to share them. 

The students were at all levels of experience and each had a different goal for their art. I love how they stayed true to their own unique style while incorporating what they learned. I try to emphasize that the workshop is not to teach students to paint like me, but for them to take what I teach and add it to their personal toolbox.

Below you can see that is the case. Aren't they wonderful?

KC, 1

KC, 2


Susan, color study


Monday, November 10, 2014

New Painting

Here is my latest painting from the Dance series:

"Willow Wisp"
25 x 17" before framing
mixed media on paper

Willow Wisp       $1062.00

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nifty, New Easel Setup

I'm pretty geeked out about my new easel setup for figure sessions or plein air. After researching easels and attachments for over a year, I've come up with a pretty nice system that is lightweight, easy to assemble, and perfect for watercolor.

This is the setup

The painting area has a cup holder for my water cup. There is plenty of room
for my travel palette, a roll of paper towels, and an area to mix paints.
I've attached a cup with a bungee chord to 
hold my brushes. 

Here is the easel without the painting supplies

These two arms did not come with the easel. My husband and I cut and stained
the wood to match. They are attached through the back with a wing nut and bolt.
I added velcro to keep the board from slipping around when I am painting.

This 12 x 16"  painting board was designed by a student's husband. It is a smooth
surface and ideal for mixing colors.It usually comes without the hole, but he
added it after I requested a cup holder. This board is also great for use as a
drawing board to tape your paintings or drawings. If you would like to order one, 
you can contact Enrique at enrique13@bellsouth.net

Monday, October 27, 2014

3-Day Watercolor Workshop in Charlotte, NC

I just returned from teaching a three-day watercolor workshop at Nancy Couick Studios in Charlotte, NC. It was a great workshop; the students were enthusiastic and willing to try new things.

I arrived on Thursday and gave a painting demo for 30 members of the Charlotte Artists Society. 

My demo after an hour and a half
 The finished demo. "Make Me" 11 x 14" watercolor

During the workshop, we worked on value sketches, color studies, and then proceeded to our larger paintings. The students did an incredible job with all the exercises and challenges.

A student self critiques her work for the group

The students' color studies in preparation for their larger paintings.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Watercolor Workshop in Charlotte, NC this Weekend

Leaving Thursday for Charlotte, NC to give a demo and to teach a three-day workshop at Nancy Couick Studios. The workshop, "Going Beyond A Likeness", will focus on solid design and color harmonies to create an expressive work of art, as opposed to a merely copying a photo. Above are thumbnail sketches, color studies and color strips that we will be working on. Stayed posted for an update from the workshop.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aqueous International

I was happy to find out that "Disconnected" won the President's Choice Award at the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society's Aqueous International at the Spinning Plate Gallery in Bloomfield. Thank you to juror Donna Zagotta for selecting a fantastic show.The Aqueous is an exhibition featuring the work of artists from around the country. The show runs through October 25, 2014.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Two New Studies in Watercolor

"Behind The Curtain" is a mixed-media study for an upcoming exhibition featuring dancers. I started with a wash of watercolor, followed by a charcoal and pastel drawing of the figure. I let the watercolor serve as the background and also peak through areas of the figure and her clothing.

This watercolor study is from a 3-hour pose at figure session. The model was a very young girl who was a bit wiggly throughout the session. It made for some very interesting paintings and drawings that night!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Demo And A Study

I gave a painting demo for the Beaver Valley Arists in New Brighton, Pa last week. It was an hour and a half demo, which did not give me enough time to finish. I worked on it another half hour the next morning and this is the finished painting.

Below is a watercolor color study from the weekly figure session I attend. It was a 3-hour pose, which works out to about 2 1/2 hours of painting. I spent the first hour sketching with pencil and the final 1 1/2 hours painting.

Monday, September 15, 2014

More Watercolor Figure Studies

Here are a few more watercolor studies from the Long-Pose figure sessions at Panza Gallery. We work from one pose for the entire three-hour session. Both studies were done in watercolor using a very limited palette of three colors each.

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Mettle", step-by-step of a painting

Taking a painting from initial concept to finished artwork takes many steps for me. Below is the condensed, step-by-step process.

Steps One and Two
I start with small, black-and-white thumbnail sketches so that I can view the impact of the design. Once I select my design and format, I proceed to 5x7" color studies to find my palette. 

Thumbnail sketches and color studies. I settled on a primary color 
palette of Red, Yellow and Blue (right), with Yellow as the dominant 
color, Blue as the secondary, and Red as a discord (or accent) color.


Step Three
When I am planning a large painting, I will often do a smaller one to work out areas I am unsure of. Below is a 19 x 13" painting that is headed for the recycling bin. I worked and re-worked areas until I had a design that I liked.

19 x 13"c color study

Steps Four to Six
The final painting is 29 x 19" (30 x 29" after framing). I made a few design changes in the drawing then started with loose washes in the background.

I continue coming forward from the background, covering big areas. I try to keep the background looser, saving the details for the foreground and figure.

I work my way down the painting, often referring to my original color study for guidance.

Step 7
Finished up the details in the foreground, made a few changes to the background, and it's done!

Mettle, 33 x 23", watercolor

Monday, September 1, 2014

Quick Color Mixing Tutorial, part 2

Last week I demonstrated mixing color on the palette versus directly on our paper. This week I will show dropping in (or charging) and glazing.

Dropping In
Dropping in color, or “charging” as it is sometimes called, is similar to mixing on paper except that, instead of brushing the second color next to the first, you drop your second color right into the first color while it is wet. This extra pigment results in an exciting mix of color and edges.
Try it:
Select two colors. Paint a swatch of your first color on dry or wet paper. While it is still wet, add a loaded brush of your second color. Watch as the heavier of the two colors pushes the other color around. Experiment with different ratios of water and paint. 

Permanent rose dropped into
ultramarine blue.

Glazing Color
Glazing refers to layering washes of transparent color over dry paint. Only use transparent paint for the glazing.

Try it:
Paint of swatch of your first color (either transparent or opaque) and let it dry completely. Gently paint a thin wash of transparent color over the first. Vigorous brushing can disturb the bottom layers of your glaze, and, if you add too many layers, the effect can look muddy. 

A glaze of ultramarine blue added
over permanent rose.

This is an excerpt from my book, "Watercolor Made Easy: Portraits", available at most major bookstores and Walter Foster Publishing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quick Color Mixing Tutorial, part 1

Watercolor is such an exciting medium to use because of its wonderful versatility. It can be controlled and precise or spontaneous and fluid, depending on how you apply the color.

Palette vs. Paper
Mixing your colors on the palette gives you more control and a consistent color. On the other hand, letting the colors mix directly on the paper allows the colors to mingle and mix in a random manner. You have less control, but the end result is more dynamic. 
Try it: 
Select two colors. Below I've chosen phthalo blue and raw sienna. First, mix your colors on your palette and paint a swatch on your wet or dry paper. 
Phthalo blue and raw sienna mixed
on a palette.

In a different area, wet a swatch of your paper and add one color. Then, while still wet, add the second color by brushing along the edge of the first. Watch the colors mix and mingle. Try moving them by tilting your paper in different directions.

Raw sienna and phthalo blue 
mixed directly on the paper.

Next week I will demonstrate dropping in and glazing color. Stay tuned!

This is an excerpt from "Watercolor Made Easy: Portrait". Available an most major bookstores and through Walter Foster Publishing.