Monday, April 21, 2014

The Elements of Design

One of my favorite classes to teach is how to use the Elements of Design.  The are the building blocks that make up your painting.  The ones that I like to work with are: Value, Color, Shape, Line, Texture, and Pattern.  In each class we focus on one of the elements and emphasis that element.
Value is a good one the start with.  Value is simply the lightness or darkness of colors.  Using value pens we make small value sketches of our subject.  Here is an example of a value sketch.  Notice that it is just a simple sketch using white, grays and black.  This shows me where I want to emphasis the values in my painting.
Next we paint our painting using one color and just focus on getting lights and darks with that one color.

Here are some photos from our fun value class.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Treasure Hunt Continues

The Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat Treasure Hunt continues.  Every week you can collect new words from the teachers blogs.  Grand Prize = one free tuition!  One lucky winner will win my book!
NOTE:  You will have to be registered to have access to the site.  The registration fee is $5 and will give you access to preview all the classes.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Treasure Hunt!

Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat is hosting a blog hop treasure hunt starting today, April 2, 2014!  Today is the first day of the treasure hunt and my blog has one of the secret words you will need to solve the final puzzle.  There are many prizes to win and the grand prize is a free workshop of your choice!  

To learn how the treasure hunt works and to see the prizes please visit Artful Gathering Online Art Retreat.  If you would like to sign up for the NEWSLETTER, you will get weekly updates on where to find the next treasure hunt words.  

This is my second year teaching watercolor classes with this unique online workshop.  You will paint along with me in the comfort of your own home with my personalized videos. 
This year I am teaching two workshops:  Watercolor Toolbox and Watercolor Fun.  Watercolor Toolbox is perfect for someone that wants to start watercolor painting.  Watercolor Fun will take your watercolor painting skills to the next level.So start your treasure hunt here on my blog page.  Look for the secret word.  I hope you have fun and will keep my fingers crossed that you win the free workshop grand prize! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Painting Ideas

Colorful Spring! Spring makes me think of colorful flowers, bright blue skies and birds singing in the yard. What a wonderful time to do some watercolor painting! I have been busy writing magazine articles to inspire you to fill your world with color! Grab your watercolor supplies and join me as I walk you through some fun painting ideas. Watch for my upcoming articles in these magazines:
 Searching for Shapes, April 2014 Issue of  Art Journaling by Somerset Studio
A Day in the Life of - a Photo Story, Summer 2014 Issue of Studios Magazine by Interweave Press

Water-Soluble Pens in Journaling, Summer 2014 issue of Pages Magazine by Interweave Press
Black-and-White Journal Pages, Summer 2014 Issue of Pages Magazine by Interweave Press
The Colorful World of Flora and Fauna, July/August 2014 Issue of Cloth-Paper-Scissors Magazine by Interweave Press

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cover Art for Art Journaling,

I was so surprised and honored to find out that my art was chosen to be the cover art for the spring 2014 issue of ART JOURNALING magazine!

It will be on in stores available for purchase on April 1, 2014.   My article is about using shape to design journal pages.
This photo did not get into the article so I wanted to share it with you here.  Here is what I write about this page in my Patagonia watercolor journal.

One of my favorite journal pages is one where I painted a meadowlark and a vista behind him.  The meadowlarks were plentiful and darted about the brush flashing their red bellies.  I often heard their melody as we hiked.  Instead of just painting a scene with a meadowlark in it, I wanted to try a different point of view.  I painted him much larger than the vista and had him placed off to one side to help frame the page. He is looking back over landscape as if to say he is the guardian of this remote area.  

I hope you enjoy this new issue of Art Journaling!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here is a Fun Warm-up Exercise

Here is the post that I did for this month's Sketchbook challenge.
Warm and cool colors are something that I think about all the time in my painting and enjoy playing warm colors against cool colors to create vibrate and dynamic watercolors.  Here is a fun exercise that you could do with warm colors or cool colors - your choice!  I did mine with warm colors.  You will need your watercolor paints, watercolor brushes and a Gold Leaf Pen for this exercise.
Start by drawing big shapes in your journal with the gold leaf pen.  I drew my initials JN.  Make sure you go off the page here and there.
 Then add smaller shapes within your large initials.
 Pick a color scheme warm or cool.  I chose a warm palette so I painted all my shapes with yellows, oranges, reds and combinations of these colors. The gold leaf pen lines will act as a resist to the paint.

This is my final page in my watercolor journal

Check out my Daniel Smith Watercolor Kit for great deal on watercolor paints.  If you are just getting started, this is the kit for you!  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Time to Relax

The thing about the warm southern sun, tropical breeze and bright sand, is that it just makes you slow down, relax and enjoy.  Coming from snow and cold winds, makes it next to impossible to paint out-of-doors in the winter so I love being in this Mexican warmth and painting what is in front of me.  On our whale watching and kayaking trip I enjoyed painting the following scenes in my watercolor journal.....

Friday, February 28, 2014

Art Journaling: Whales, Birds and a Little Tequila

Ok, well maybe a lot of tequila!  We are off on a camping/wildlife adventure with wonderful guides provided by Mar y Adventuras.  We camped on beautiful white sandy beaches on two different island in Baja California, Mexico.  
Our guides took very good care of us, offering lots of tequila, fresh fruit, and fresh caught fish.  Happy hour awaited us every day when we returned from a day of bird watching, whale watching, hiking and kayaking.
 I added at least 15 new birds to my life list.  I started this list as a young teenager in Alabama so you can imagine how exciting this is for me.  I finally see blue-footed boobies!  

Zoom in to see the blue feet!
I see two birds that are endemic to Baja California, the Belding's Yellowthroat and the Gray Thrasher.  

The drive to Magdalena Bay, for gray whale watching, is a four-hour van ride through a land of cactus, lizards and turkey vultures, bare and hot. We stopped at a tiny cafe for fresh empanadas and quesadillas, which were served from a rancher's kitchen.  

There is no menu and we satiate our appetites by ordering from the kitchen window.  The rancher's wife quickly warms up our food on a wood burning stove.  Delicious!  We all order seconds.  I wander outside to find meat hanging to dry like freshly washed laundry.  Surprising, there is a flock of brightly colored yellow birds.

 I take photos and identify them as Lesser Goldfinches.  Off in the distance at the tip of a cactus I take a picture of another, not so colorful bird and find out that this is a Gray Thrasher found only in this region.  All this is wonderful inspiration for painting in my Arches watercolor journal that I brought on this adventure.  I had to pack my traveling light kit, as I knew there would be limited space.  Here are some photos of how I prepared my small Winsor Newton palettes.  I filled one with my warm colors and another with my cool colors.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lots of Wildlife!

Did you know that I am an avid bird watcher? Part of going to a new location is the joy of spotting a new species to add to my life list. I thought it would also be fun to incorporate all the birds I have been seeing in Baja, Mexico into my watercolor journal.  Here is a watercolor painting of a Brown Pelican.... they were everywhere!
 This is a photo I took of a Black Crowned Night Heron who was doing some fishing right in front of our restaurant on the water in La Paz, Mexico.... (a painting waiting to happen!)

A Page in my journal showing a map of Baja with a painting behind it
Here is a photo of one of the Whale Sharks we swam with.  Thanks Michi for sharing this awesome underwater photo.  Look at those fabulous polka dots!!!