Category Archives: Teaching

Bittersweet Endings

Temperature Bias Color Wheel (Primary/Secondary Colors)

My summer watercolor class with Western Nevada College finishes tomorrow. The ending will be greeted with both relief and sadness. I have had a wonderful group of students to help me through my first semester of teaching college watercolor. I have wanted an opportunity to teach watercolor at the college level since I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2009.

While applying grades to art is stressful, both for the instructor and the student, I am sad because my “relationship” with this group now ends. I will miss them. Sigh.

Lesson on calligraphy strokes

I have taught a lot of watercolor classes in the private sector and found it to be quite rewarding. However, I have truly enjoyed being able to teach a more progressive approach to learn watercolor – where I can start with basics and build toward more complex concepts.  I had the opportunity to impart a solid foundation of techniques and concepts that students will hopefully build upon going forward. However hated the grade, it does encourage students to actually practice and comprehend the material.

Lesson on monochromatic harmony and value

“The White Lesson”

I won’t lie, creating any new curriculum means hard work; building lesson plans, designing assignments, a schedule, and a grading scheme takes much time and attention to detail.

The college has a fantastic learning platform for instructors and students, called Canvas. Inside the learning system, I create modules that include the assignment and resources for a given lesson. I can post my syllabus for easy reference. I can schedule due dates and submission criteria and time frames. I can track attendance, use a speed grader, communicate privately with each student about a specific assignment. I can make announcements to the class as a whole or communicate within a closed messaging system with an individual student. I keep learning more little tricks and new features in the system. I often miss selecting a required feature or forget to “publish” the module, or have the date set wrong. My first class group has had to help me work out the little kinks. If any of you are out there reading this, thank you!

I have tweaked and improved my “plan” as the semester progressed. I am scheduled to teach the same class for the Fall semester. Fingers crossed, the enrollment numbers will give me the opportunity to apply my lessons learned.

Lesson on analogous color harmony

The best feature of the learning platform? I can copy all the work, with all the lesson plans, files, settings, and announcements to the next semester – 90% of the preparation work is done! So cool! The hard work transfers! Yay!

Bittersweet. It is ending, but I had this experience, now, with these students. I hopefully imparted my passion for watercolor on to another dozen folks, who will perhaps become passionate watercolor advocates in Northern Nevada? I teach at a small college and live in a small town. Maybe I’ll see them again? And now I have a month off before the Fall semester begins. Carpe diem. Today is good.

New and exciting happenings are on the horizon, Stay tuned!

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

 

Teaching Day – Secondary Colors and Wet-into-Wet

Purple Beach

This is a wet-in-wet demonstration for my college watercolor class today.

We were also learning how to mix pretty secondary colors. For this painting, I used a cool red (Quinacridone Rose) and a warm blue (Ultramarine Blue).

The background just started as a purple study, but when I turned it vertical it looked like a sunset sky over the water. After it was dry, I added the deep water horizon, the hint of a faraway island, and the palm tree. “Purple Beach” 

If interested in purchasing this painting, click the add to cart button below. $50 without mat or frame. $4.50 shipping if paying through PayPal with a PayPal account or debit/credit card. Additional shipping charges for check payments or those who live outside the Continental U.S.

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“Purple Beach” $50 (no mat or frame)


Fire Lilies (maybe?) Paintings 22 & 23 for Direct Watercolor Challenge

Day 2 of “patio plein air.” Paintings 22 and 23 of the 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge. This time I had to paint the blooming orange lilies. I have had several discussions on social about the name of these beautiful lilies. Our best conclusion is that they are the “Asiatic Lily, Orange Matrix” version of lilies. Nice!

Stage 1

I had no video camera to record the painting process, but I did remember to take a few process photos.

Stage 2

I began on wet paper with no pre-drawing. Though, because of the dry Nevada open air, the paper dried quite quickly. I painted the centers of the flowers first with the two warmest yellows on my palette, Hansa Yellow Medium / Deep, plus Permanent Orange (Daniel Smith). I painted the ends of the lily petals with Quinacridone Coral and let the coral swim into the yellow. I then added Quinacridone Rose (cool red) to turn the petals around the bend.

Stage 3

I added some foliage indications with Sap Green (Daniel Smith) and Ultramarine Light (Holbein). I added the Lily buds first with sap green and then the added Permenent Orange in the middles. While the paint was still quite wet, I put in the lily bud centers with one calligraphy line stroke and let the line diffuse.

Trying to paint so many lilies on such a small surface (7.5″x5.5″) left me confused as to where one flower ended and another began. Whew!

I added some light wet yellows and oranges to the top left to hint at more lilies beyond and added hints of new lily underbellies with the Red Rose and Red Coral in the bottom right.

“Fire Lilies” – Final Painting

After the painting dried back a bit, I added the stamen ends with the cool red and a new color Rose of Ultramarine (warm violet), stems with the coral. I couldn’t see the pistils, so I did not paint them. I added some of the Rose of Ultramarine to the foliage and ends of the petals.

I did not care for the painting while painting it, so I set it aside and painted another, focusing on larger flowers, painting one complete flower before moving on to the next.

Fire Lilies Too – Stage 1

Fire Lilies Too – Final Painting

I used the same colors and sequence as the previous painting.

For this one, I left the foreground indistinct instead of the background, painting the colors wet into wet in the foreground.

I let this one be more of a vignette and left the background white and untouched.

After a few days of “staring time,” I quite liked both paintings.

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

 

 

Summer Solstice

Pots and Blooms

I do not know how it dawned in your neck of the woods, but in Carson City, Nevada, Mother Nature gave us a beautiful midsummer day on June 21st

Note, this blog post is a bit delayed. Those of you who watch the calendar will note that this posted on June 24th? Though, I did paint the 21st painting of the 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge on June 21st. I just have to catch up on the blog-0-sphere.

We experienced a perfect day with a temperature of about 78 degrees (F), a slight breeze, and blue, blue skies. If you have not experienced a clear blue sky in the mountain west of the U.S. (Nevada, Utah, Idaho), you have not experienced a blue sky.

Anyway, on this midsummer day, I could not bring myself to paint indoors. I took myself and my art supplies out to set up on the back patio table instead. Our backyard flowers happened also to bloom in midsummer glory; mini petunias in pots, coreopses, fire lilies, geraniums, snapdragons, roses, daily lilies.. all in splendiferous bloomage.

Stage 1

I attempted to capture it all but failed. So I flipped the paper over and just painted the coreopses, which were definitely the garden prima donna on this day. I just tried to capture the feel of them swaying in the wind. As a little girl, my favorite crayon color in the 64-pack was yellow-orange. Coreopsis!

I first just splattered Hansa Yellow Deep, Medium, Permanent Orange, and Sap Green (all Daniel Smith) in big splats on a slightly wet surface. I held my paper vertical, sprayed with my misting spray bottle underneath the splats to create drippy stems. (I only remembered to take a few process photos, since I did not want to drag a video camera out to the patio also).

Stage 2

I added more orange and green at the bottom of the yellow splatters and painted some foliage indications using pull-push calligraphy marks. I added some Ultramarine Light (Holbein) to blue down some of the leaves. I added more stem and leaf details and indicated some buds and “old” blossoms (darker orange and smaller).

Stage 3

I gave some of the flowers a little more shape and petal detail, but decided to leave most of the details out. I wanted to capture the overwhelming joy of the yellow-orange crayon colored flowers that greeted my eyes as I slid open the patio doors.

Summer Solstice – Final Painting

In the end, the painting made me happy.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting for a mere $150 (with a gold frame and white black core mat), just click the Add to Cart button below. Pay with a PayPal account or a credit/debit card for $15 shipping charge). Those who wish to buy with a check payment or living far, far away from “CONUS” will incur additional shipping charges. Save the shipping charges and buy it off the gallery walls? Taxes additional.

This painting will part of the featured artist show with Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in July 2018. I hope you can stop by.

 

 

“Summer Solstice” $150 (Framed)


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I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

 

Quail in the Bush – 20th Painting for June 20th

Quail in the Bush – Watercolor 5″x7″

This cute “Quail in the Bush” painting had to be another compromise with my competing painting requirements; challenge vs watercolor classes. He started as a demonstration for my community education watercolor class, where we are focusing on the fundamental topic of texture. This week we played with adding cheesecloth, alcohol, bleach, lifting, wax, scraping, and more, to watercolor pigment. After doing some texture inspiration studies, we did a “paint along” using a photo of a quail my husband and I saw on a walk the other morning, as our reference.

During the walk, we had our super zoomy lens on the camera. Those quail do scurry fast away from scary humans. With the zoomy telephoto lens, he didna even know we caught him in the act of being super silhouetted in the morning light.

Source Photo

I do not have images or video to illustrate the painting progression, as usual, so we’ll just have to rely on descriptive text this time.

To begin, we decided on a small format (5.5″x7.5″) Arches 140 lb cold press paper. We taped the edges all around, ’cause we knew we were gonna get wet! The only pre-drawing was a soft diagonal line to indicate the distinction between the foreground and the background. I like to set up elements on a diagonal to create a sense of movement. We also penciled in an oblong diamond shape for the quail placement. I could have done a better job of keeping the bird out of the center, but in the end, the plume is placed quite nicely at the golden mean cross-section of the whole composition. Nice! I wish I could say it was intentional. ha!

We used wax resist sticks to save some random twigs and dots for the highlights on the bushes, and to save the critical highlight on the back of the quail’s back and head.

We painted the background wet-into-wet. We wet the area above the diagonal line with clear water, then dried the paper back slightly. We caressed in some Ultramarine Light (Holbein), Hansa Yellow Deep (Daniel Smith) into the wet. We let some blue and yellow show independently but created soft blends of the two for a nice olive green blur.

After the background dried slightly, we puddled some blue, yellow and Pyrrol Red (Daniel Smith) into the bottom left corner, then pushed cheesecloth (with the strings “pulled about” for an organic look) into the wet paint. We dabbed strong pigment (all three colors) on top of the cheesecloth to make it “stick.”

We blew with a straw into the runny pigment, up and to the right to create some twigs and branch effects. We puddled the same mix of colors into the lower right of the painting and blew a bit more with the straw. We splattered with all three colors over all the foreground. Some of the splatters crept into the wet background, creating some unintended water bursts. It was tempting to “fix” them, but we just let them be.

We mixed up a strong (milky strength) dark pigment with the blue and red and painted in the dark mounds for the quail to rest. The wax application kept us from losing our highlights. So far, we just pretended the bird wasn’t even a part of the painting.

Stage 1 – Quail in the Bush

After drying the painting slightly, I painted the silhouette of the quail into the penciled diamond shape. I took care now to create the curves. I saved the bird’s plume for last. I tried to do it with just one “smush” calligraphy stroke, but I ended up doing it twice because I didn’t have a good paint load on the brush. Now the plume was too big. Sigh.

We added some hints of branches, twigs, and grasses on the shadow side of the white wax highlights. We dried back the painting again and added a darker middle to the quail plume. We scratched a little with a sharp knife to connect some of the “blobs” of wax.

That is where the class demonstration ended. We discussed removing the wax and softening some highlights.

After returning to my studio, I removed the wax by placing the painting face down on some Viva clothlike paper towels, put a lint-free cloth over the back and ironed the painting. The paper towel “sucks” the wax out of the paper. I have video of this process (with a different painting) posted on my Youtube channel, click the link Wax Resist Removal.

Also on my Youtube channel you can see my studio adjustments (Or just click the arrow below).

If you’re interested in purchasing this sweet little painting, it can be done for a mere $150 with frame.

This little guy will be dressed up in a frame and hanging on a gallery wall for my Featured Artist’s Show with Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in July 2019 (unless sold prior to the show). Artist’s reception July 18th from 4-7pm. I hope you can stop by?

If purchasing with a PayPal account or a credit/debit card through PayPal, you save a ton on shipping ($15). Check payers and those living outside of the continental U.S. will incur additional shipping charges. Nevada residents also have to pay sales tax.

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

Quail in the Bush $165 (w/ frame/mat)


 

19th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge – Dangling Rose

“Jedi Rose”

For my 19th painting in the challenge, I had to combine two interests competing for my time. I am teaching “value” in my college watercolor class today. The students are required to do a monochromatic painting that combines washes (a flat wash as well as either a graded or variegated wash), calligraphy strokes, and general “light touch” brush strokes, that I call the “S-caress.” The final painting also has to show at least 4 levels of value; light, medium light, medium dark, and dark. I have the students decide on a theme for the semester as well. I usually choose one of the students’ themes whenever I do a demonstration painting. One student has roses as a theme. Which, if you know me, and have followed my painting progress on social media at all, you know I paint a LOT of roses. Easy choice. Ha!

I took this photo of a drooping rose the other day on my morning walk.

The small painting is on Arches 140 lb cold press and I used only my #14 Lowe-Cornell round brush.

I used a warm (quinacridone coral) and cool red (quinacridone red), which are both medium to high-value reds. I first painted a light variegated wash on a wet surface (dried back to damp), without any pre-drawing. As you can see in the first photo below, I did not quite let the paper get to damp, as my bead was running on the left. I had to work fast to catch it with each pass. Starting with a wet surface helps to alleviate stripes between bead passes.

I dried the painting off completely, then drew in my first value layer with 2B graphite, or pencil (Sorry, this is where I had to diverge from the challenge conditions of direct and wet-into-wet). I then painted the shapes inside the lines for the first layer of value.

After the painting was completely dry again, I repeated the drawing process for the second layer of value. One more layer of drying, pencil planning and I now had the required four distinct layers of value. I did add a few pull calligraphy strokes to indicate the edge of the branch and the side of the rose, but I purposefully left untouched areas for lost and found edges, which I find to be much more interesting than outlining with a solid line all around.

I had to have some pull/push calligraphy strokes to satisfy the requirements of the assignment, so I added some extra leaves with the same strength of pigment as the final wash.

I then found a #8B (really dark) graphite pencil and drew some contour lines, just because… I may erase the pencil layer. I’m not sure… still pondering. Your thoughts?

Photos are screenshots of video clips. I cannot make them behave and align with the text. I’m not sure why?

Stage 1a

Stage 1b

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Stage 5

I do have narrated and edited video of the painting process. Shoot me a comment or send me a message if you’re interested in the $6 video link.

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

Jedi Rose – Final

Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up with all these freebie lessons, eh? No worries. I don’t even know if anyone subscribes, let alone who. It is all very private and stuff. I could be just talking to myself. Which is… not a bad thing. I tend to listen.

18th Painting 30×30 Watercolor Challenge – My Neighbor’s Roses

“My Neighbor’s Roses”

Continuing with my Facebook group’s 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge, I painted this little study of the roses creeping over our back fence from the neighbor’s bushes. Now some might think this an intrusion, but each June we welcome the beautiful color. For this painting, I enjoyed the purple cast shadows resulting from the early morning light. My brother actually called my attention to the scene before he headed off for work. I have two amazing artistic resources in my household. My brother, who also paints, and my husband, who points a camera lens around to great effect. Both have taught me much.

I began painting without any drawing, with a wet surface, using my trusty #14 Lowe Cornell round brush on Arches 140lb cold press paper. I used a photo reference.

This time, I began painting positively with the figure, rather than the ground. I used four reds, Pyrrol Red (warm), Quinacridone Red (cool), Pyrrol Crimson (cool and dark), and Quinacridone Coral (warm). This time I used Sap Green (warm) and Ultramarine Light (warm) for the foliage. All pigments are Daniel Smith brand except the Ultramarine Light (Holbein). I used the Pyrrol red for the light side of the roses, and Quin Red in the shadows. This for the bunch at the left that was in the light. I wanted to indicate the right bunch was in shadow, so I used Quin red and Pyrrol Crimson for that grouping.

Stage 1

Stage 2

I mixed up a neutral brown with the Sap Green and Quin Red for the background fence. I skewed the green to blue for the shadow areas of foliage. I left a white edge on the left to indicate light direction, and let the shadow side bleed into the fence. I added straight Sap Green into some areas of the red for foliage indications. Adding the green on to of the red had the effect of neutralizing the leaves to olive green, but some areas showed bright and warm. I tried hard not to lose all the white sparkles.

Stage 3

For the cast shadows (my favorite part of the painting!), I waited until the paper had dried back some. I mixed the Pyrrol Crimson with the Ultramarine to achieve a nice violet mix. When I touched the shadows on top of the brown fence, the intensity was knocked back a bit. I loved the resulting violet tones. I added some boards and planks on the fencing using the same violet tone. For the light side of the angular support plank, I dry-brushed some Ultramarine Light.

Stage 4

I let the paper dry back even more, and indicated some petals on the rose bunch in the light with Pyrrol Red and Quin Coral. In the shady bunch, I used Pyrrol Crimson to indicate shadows. For these strokes, I almost just “scribbled” with the tip of my brush.

A note on the process images. I usually videotape when I paint. It helps me remember my sequence. It is a great learning tool, both for me and my watercolor students. But I really don’t have time (or the storage capacity) to edit every video of every painting, so this is a nice compromise, right? These process images are screenshots taken from the video clip, hence the blurry quality. The photo of the final painting was taken with my SLR camera, though, and shows the details a bit better.

My Neighbor’s Roses – Final Painting

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, it can be had for the low, low price of $150 (she is all dressed up with her mat and ready for a show). Shipping is $15.00 if you live in the Continental U.S. and pay through PayPal with a PayPal account or a credit/debit card. Check payments and shipping to those in distant lands will incur additional shipping charges. Nevada residents have to pay sales tax (sorry).

My Neighbor’s Roses $150 (w/frame & mat).

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

 

#17th Painting 30×30 Watercolor Challenge – Sidewalk Grace

Sidewalk Grace

To continue my Facebook group #30x30DirectWatercolor challenge, I found inspiration on my walk with my husband last Saturday. A beautiful bush of coral roses was overhanging the sidewalk of a corner house. This painting is based on a reference photo taken then.

I wanted this painting to be quick and impressionistic. And I pulled it off this time! It took me only 20 minutes to complete. Yippee! After wetting the paper and drying it back to damp, I added some clear wax scribbles to make sure I did not lose all the white sparkle. Yes, you can add wax when the paper is wet. Thank you to Cheryl Keaveney for discovering this in one of my classes!

I used three reds, Quinacridone Coral (Warm), Quinacridone Red (Cool), and Pyrrol Crimson (dark cool), and Cascade Green for the foliage. All were Daniel Smith Colors.

Stage 1

To begin painting on the damp surface, I mixed up the gray by combining Quin Coral with Cascade Green. I painted around the flowers to call out the figures from the ground. See Stage 1 photo.

Stage 2

Stage 3

I began painting the roses using the Quin Coral, leaving white spaces in addition to the waxed scribbles. I touched in the Quin Red at the back of the flowers, in this case on the left of the blooms, since I wanted to have the light coming from the right. I then added the darker Pyrrol Crimson behind the Quin Red.

Stage 4

I painted in some stems and leaves to connect isolated blooms to the bush, and painted with the green over the top of the reds, leaving some of the red areas to peak through.

I dried off the painting just a bit and added some stronger coral in short curved gentle strokes to indicate the petals on the roses.

Stage 5

I added a few more darks and details and called it done.

It had a lovely little experience painting these almost abstract roses for some “Sidewalk Grace”

The painting is 7.5″x5.5″ on 140lb Arches cold press paper. I used only my #14 Lowe-Cornell round brush, except for my signature. I signed the painting in coral with my liner (rigger) brush.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, it’s YOURS for $100 with white black core mat, plus $7.00 shipping to continental U.S. customers, paying with a credit/debit card or with PayPal. Check payments and customers living in faraway lands will incur additional shipping charges. Taxes additional, where applicable (NV residents).

Sidewalk Grace – Final

Sidewalk Grace $100 (with 8×10 mat)

I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.

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16th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge – Mrs Cluck

Mrs. Cluck – Final Painting

Mrs. Cluck continues my efforts for the Facebook 30x30DirectWatercolor Challenge.

This is a small work created on Arches 140lb cold press, painted without any drawing and wet-into-wet. I used my #14 Lowe-Cornell round brush throughout. Pigments used are Raw Sienna Light, Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Pyrrol Red and Cobalt Blue (all Daniel Smith).

Mrs. Cluck – 1st Stage

I saturated the paper, then dried it back with a towel (see previous blog posts). I began by painting the shadow side of the bird with Raw Sienna and Hansa Yellow Medium.

Mrs. Cluck  (Headless chicken) – 2nd Stage

I then found the bird by painting around with a background color, using the cobalt and pyrrol red, then dropping in some of the raw sienna as well. This created a silhouette of the main subject. In some places, I purposely let the yellow color bleed into the background color, in other areas I kept a white “reservoir” edge.

Mrs. Cluck (She found her head) – 3rd Stage

To find the chicken’s comb and wattle, I dropped in the Quinacridone Red while the yellow pigment was very wet. After hinting at the head wet-into-wet, I had to let the painting dry back a bit to the damp stage.

Mrs. Cluck – 4th Stage

After the paper was damp (not wet), I painted some darker shadow shapes in an around the chicken’s head.  I added some soft shadow indications in the feathers, legs, and feet.

Mrs. Cluck – Final Painting (Click on image for a larger view)

After the painting had dried some more to almost dry, I touched in some more shadow details to finish the painting.

Mrs. Cluck, 7.5″x5.5 watercolor.  If interested in purchasing this painting, it can be had for a mere $150 (with frame & mat). In July, “Mrs. Cluck” will be “goin’ to the show.” She will be a part of my featured artist show with Artsy Fartsy Art Gallery in Carson City. Check payers and those who live far, far away will incur additional shipping charges. Taxes additional, where applicable.

Mrs. Cluck $150 (with frame & mat)


I appreciate all comments, questions, and suggestions.

Thank you for stopping by.

15th Painting 30×30 Direct Watercolor – Jonesy Boy

Jonesy Boy

I couldn’t resist. This is my second painting for June 15th. I am now caught up! with the 30×30 Direct Watercolor Challenge! If I post this today, it will show the 15th painting on the 15th day of June.

I will not expound on it too much on the painting process. I will just say it is a 5.5″x7.5″ direct (no pre-drawing), wet-into-wet. The paper had dried back significantly before I finished, but it was done all in one go, no glazing.

I used Pyrrol Red, Phthalo Blue and Raw Sienna Light for the fur and background. I brought in just a bit of Hansa Yellow Medium for the eyes. All Daniel Smith Brand pigments. It is on Arches 140lb cold press paper.

After staring at this for a bit, I felt compelled to make a few adjustments. The nose was too long and he was a bit narrow between the eyes. I couldn’t “really” fix it, but the few changes helped, me thinks. You?

To purchase this painting for $150 with a black frame and a white black core mat (plus shipping), click the “Add to Cart” button below. Check and international payments incur additional shipping charges. Taxes additional, where applicable.

Jonesy Boy – After a few adjustments

Jonesy Boy $150 (w/ frame & mat)


I appreciate all comment, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for stopping by.