Friday, September 7, 2018

Watercolor Workshops for 2019

Workshops Descriptions 
 Please read: The Workshop Experience  
Negative Painting with Watercolor
Workshop Skill Level: Intermediate and beyond
Discover the exciting results of negative painting with watercolor! Negative painting is the technique of painting around a subject (the negative space) to define it in the composition. Build your confidence in handling glazes, wet into wet, under-paintings and painting into wet passages. Strengthen your understanding of pigments and how they directly relate to the complexed medium of watercolor. During the workshop you’ll learn how to create interesting shapes and depth of color with transparent glazes. Strengthen a painting with overlapping, interlocking shapes and linkage. Students will benefit from daily demonstrations, friendly critiques, and one on one help.   


Sketching Techniques with Watercolor 
Workshop Skill Level: All
Enjoy the charming, loose, and colorful nature of watercolor at its best, while sketching! Sharpen your observation skills, color awareness and learn simple design principles. Each day we’ll explore various sketching tools, techniques and papers. Learn how a sketch can be complete in itself, or a road map to larger studio paintings. Whether you want to improve your drawing skills, create travel journals or take that next step as an artist you will come away from this workshop excited and inspired about your artwork.  Students will benefit from informative demonstrations, friendly critiques, and one on one help.   


The Illustrated Journal with Watercolor 
Workshop Skill Level: All
The Illustrated journal is the creative process of merging images and words together on a page. In the workshop we will explore fun and exciting ways to be creative with images, words and page design. Each day we’ll explore different drawing techniques, watercolor, and ink. Whether you’re interested in creating an illustrated journal for travel, gardening, daily life…amazing things happen when you put images and words together. You’ll come away from the workshop excited and inspired about your work! Best of all your illustrated journal will uniquely reflect your style and creative voice. Workshop participants will benefit from demonstrations, encouragement and individual help.   



Plein Air Sketching with Watercolor------European and U.S. Destinations
Skill level: All
Explore watercolor at its best while sketching on location. Focus of the workshop will be the picturesque architecture and colorful gardens. Each location offers a multitude of views to please any artist!
Develop your observation skills and color awareness by observing from life. Enjoy the freedom of being able to move freely from one view to another with lighter sketching gear. Discover how to create watercolor sketches that expresses a feeling of place. Explore different techniques for drawing and painting. Benefit from daily demonstrations, friendly critiques, and one on one help.  My European workshops have included Provence, Spain, Tuscany...and in 2019 Belgium!  


~~  2019 Workshops ~~  2019 Workshops ~~  2019 Workshops ~~
Please visit website links and contact information for workshops.


January 4-6, 2019    Negative Painting with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
Schroeder Studio,Orange, CA

February 13-15, 2019    Negative Painting with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
Southwestern Watercolor Society, Dallas, TX, Contact: Lou Bono loubono5@gmail.com

March 4-7, 2019   Negative Painting with Watercolor, 4-Day Workshop
Daniel Smith Artists’ Materials, Seattle, WA
Contact: 206-223-9599

March 21-23, 2019    Sketching Techniques with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
California Watercolor Association, Walnut Creek, CA

April 8-11, 2019    Negative Painting with Watercolor, 4-Day Workshop
Scottsdale Artists’ School, Scottsdale, AZ

May 3-5, 2019    Illustrated Journal with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
Art Supply Warehouse, Westminster, CA, Contact: rebecca@artsupplywarehouse.com 

May 20-23, 2019    Plein Air Pasadena, 4-Day Workshop
South Pasadena, CA  Contact: Brenda SwensonsArt@gmail(dot)com

June 12-19, 2019  Belgium Plein Air Sketching Wait List 
Hosted by French Escapades

June 19-26, 2019 Belgium Plein Air Sketching 2 Spots open
Hosted by French Escapades

July 22-24, 2019    Sketching Techniques with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
the STUDIO, South Pasadena, CA, Contact Brenda: SwensonsArt@gmail(dot)com

August 12-14, 2019    Illustrated Journal with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
the STUDIO, South Pasadena, CA, Contact Brenda: SwensonsArt@gmail(dot)com

September 9-12, 2019    Negative Painting with Watercolor, 4-Day Workshop
the STUDIO, South Pasadena, CA, Contact Brenda: SwensonsArt@gmail(dot)com

October 2-4, 2019    Negative Painting with Watercolor, 3-Day Workshop
AGTV, Loudon, TN, Website: www.tellicoartguild.org 
Contact: Cindy Vermeersch, vermeerschci@gmail.com

October 7-11, 2019    Illustrated Journal with Watercolor, 5-Day Workshop
Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, Boone, NC

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Fountain Pens: The Beginning

I have been sketching for 20+ years. Drawing with pen requires I spend more time looking and observing. When I put the pen to paper I do it with a greater sense of awareness. I spend more time looking at my subject. Since I can’t erase I slow down and pay more attention to how I’m holding the pen, the pressure, the speed, the ink flow… All of these things mean I’m more involved with the experience. I draw slower and with a greater awareness. 

About 7 years ago I wanted a pen that would do more than simply get the job done. I’d grown tired of cheap pens and wanted something that was enjoyable to hold, look at and responsive to my touch when sketching. I started exploring fountain pens. Little did I know how big the fountain pen world was...I was lost! So many new terms, filling mechanisms, ink, nibs… That's when I stumbled upon Goulet Pens. At last I was able to make sense of all the terms, option, nibs, inks... The company is amazing, website is great, technical support, videos, how to, tips and great prices!

At his point I’ve got to say, I love sketching with fountain pens BUT I'm hesitant to recommend specific brands when asked. It's difficult to know a person's skill level, if they’re hard on things, personal style, price range…and nib size. Goulet Pens are some of the best folks I know for: information, tutorials, videos...and purchasing pens.

If you're new to the pen world or even if you've been around for a while I think you'll find this video very helpful, I did! Fountain Pen Nib Size Overview 

My first fountain pen was a LAMY Safari. At $30.00 these pens are great starter pens and won’t break the bank. You can even buy replaceable nibs. Last time I looked LAMY replaceable nibs were $15.00. You use ink cartridges or bottled ink. You’ll need the cartridge adapter for bottled ink. It's a good pen to learn with and you’ll also learn how to care for a fountain pen. Yes…fountain pens require care. 
My next fountain pen was a step up. The Pilot Falcon (previously known as the Namiki Falcon) is an iconic pen. It’s most famous for its 14k gold soft nib, which provides line variation with your writing/sketching pressure. The pen is wonderfully responsive and gives line width variation. 


Sketch of my LAMY Safari and Pilot Falcon
When (and if) you decide to move up in the fountain pen world you’ll want to view this video. Top 5 Entry-Level Gold Nib Pens

And then I was in Italy…Florence to be exact.
I was scheduled to teach two workshops in Lucca. Before the workshop I spent a fews days in Florence sketching and painting. I was staying at a hotel just walk across the Ponti Vecchio on the right hand side at the first street. My room over looked a sign that said, PINART. Now 
seriously, did you think I would pass without going in? Once inside, I met Federico Pineder, the shopkeeper. He was friendly, knowledgeable and let me try a few many pens. If you’re ever in Florence be sure to visit PINART


Did I buy a pen that day? Of course...a beautiful Visconti, Rembrandt, pearl white. And that's the beginning of another story...

Happy Sketching!
Brenda

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Art Theft


I feel an apology coming on… but I didn't do anything wrong. 


The last two weeks have been miserable. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to reclaim my artwork. Most people know better than download or print images off websites, blogs, Facebook… But some people do it knowing they’ll never get caught and others do it for personal gain. Whatever the reasons are and whether or not someone gets caught…wrong is wrong! 
In the last two weeks I've had 9 images stolen off my blog. And these are the ones I know about! 

A website stole 7 images from my blog. The website said: “Elegant Negative Paintings by Brenda Swenson”. They offered free downloads of my art. What people didn’t know is this..they would be downloading more than a free painting. They would be downloading a virus! I was horrified! After a lot of work and filing countless reports for copyright violations the 7 paintings were removed.

Two weeks ago I was emailed by a so called teacher in Long Beach, CA named Moira. She was going to teach her students my approach to negative painting… She thought I'd be flattered she had printed my artwork to share with her students. What? I asked, why she printed my artwork? She has a copyright posted on her website. She obviously doesn’t want people taking her artwork. Why is it okay for her to download and print mine? She was pissed off that I questioned her. The conversation went downhill after that.

She had never met me in person, attended a demo, a workshop, watched my DVD, read one of my books. And she was going to teach my technique? Really?????  She attached a photo of her prep-demo. She was using Cadmium Red Light, Sap Green, Lamp Black, Raw Sienna and Ultramarine. She had no idea what she was doing. Why would I want her to associate my name with something that she was doing all wrong?

My blog has always been a teaching tool. A way to share knowledge, experience, tools, techniques…and life experiences.  It’s my connection to a bigger community of artists’, students and friends. I love the conversations I have with you and the opportunity to share the gift of creativity. Just because I shared this information “FREELY” doesn't mean anybody has the right to take it from the site! My lessons and my artwork are to remain on my blog. Not to be downloaded and/or printed. I thought having my signature on my artwork and/or having my copyright posted at the top of my blog would deter people. I was wrong….

I have never wanted to put a watermark over my artwork. (1) a watermark looked like I was paranoid and (2) I don't like the look of a watermark over art. Unfortunately this will change.

It’s NOT OK to download images or print images from my blog, website, Facebook, Instagram…period. If I have offended any of my followers I am sorry. If the tone of my post or my language seems harsh please know I’ve been through a lot of angst in the last couple weeks. It makes me very sad…


Brenda

Friday, July 20, 2018

Rewards of Curiosity

Mi-Teintes paper. Gouache in sky.
Pitt White Marker on building.
I like to sketch and paint on all kinds of paper surfaces. From the very slick to rough, from light to dark, cheap to expensive. Some of the papers are NOT intended for watercolor. So why do I do it?  I love responding to what’s happening on the surface. I don’t like doing the same thing again and again… I’m very curious.

Most tinted/toned surfaces are not intended for watercolor. But I discovered amazing results with pastel paper. For example, I’ve found that the Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper handles watercolor beautifully. The paper has a 65% rag content, 98 lb. weight and is gelatine sized making it sturdy. The paper has two distinct surface textures, one side smooth and the other grainy. I like the grainy side. The paper is highly receptive and easy to work on with a little warping.

Canal Montreal paper, Gouache and ink
Some papers are VERY absorbent and harder to work on. I came across a paper that had a nice texture and a wonderful color. So I bought a pad to try. The paper is made by St Armand and called the CANAL Montreal. My first attempt with the paper wasn’t impressive. It was VERY absorbent. But since I’m stubborn I didn’t give up. My persistence paid off. I had to dig deep and discover what the paper liked. I ended up loving the creative stimulation and a new approach. I’m curious and stubborn. 

A few things to keep in mind when working on a tinted surface…your colors will look different, especially if you are using transparent watercolor. The paint will be influenced by the tint/tone of the paper. 

Mi-Teintes, Sharpie Extra Fine
Since the paper is tinted/toned you won’t have any whites. White isn’t always necessary. But when I want to add a highlight or sparkle I have two techniques. White gouache-I keep gouache a small lip gloss container (screw on lid) in my sketch bag. I don’t keep it on my palette as it dries quickly and becomes useless. White marker/pen. Recently I found the White Pitt by Faber-Castell. It’s a water base marker you don’t have to shake. The tip is chunky and the white really covers well. https://www.cheapjoes.com/faber-castell-pitt-big-artist-pen.html For fine lines I use the Sharpie, Water Based, Extra Fine.

Canal Montreal Paper
 Pitt Marker in sky and road
 Sharpie Extra Fine for 
text
I imagine a few folks are raising their brows when they read, white paint! I’ve heard people say,“white is cheating”. If you are entering a transparent watercolor show…it’s cheating. There’s only two transparent societies in America today, Watercolor West and Transparent Watercolor Society of America. All other watercolor shows allow white (along with pastel, acrylic, collage, ink…). Purely transparent painters have a unique skill and their paintings deserve a show of their own. I am a signature member of Watercolor West. I’d say 90% of my paintings and sketches are transparent watercolor. The other 10% I break the rules. If white was good enough for Sargent, Homer, Turner…it’s good enough for me.

I’ve included links to the supplies if I know them. If you don’t see a link you’ll have to do a little research on your own. It's worth noting I take the tinted papers and use them in the sketchbooks I make. Details here

Mi-Teintes, Pitt White Marker

Canson Mi-Teintes Pad with a nice assortment of colors: Buff, Champagne, Light Blue, Moonstone, Steel Grey and white. 

St Armand, CANAL Montreal: I found this paper at the Artisian Art Supply in Santa Fe.


Sharpie, Water Based, Extra Fine



Hope you have a great day...now get out and do something creative!
Brenda

Friday, July 13, 2018

Part 5 A Friend for Boone

Handsome Boy
I left off at...Come out, come out wherever you are!
I was in Santa Fe teaching a workshop. Everyday I called home. This time I could tell something was going on. Mike said, he was worried about Boone being lonely. So what did he do? He went to our veterinary office (TLC Animal Clinic) and asked if they had a kitten that needed a home. As it turned out they had a young male kitten the same age as Boone. The clinic received this kitten three months ago and…he was feral! While living at the at the clinic he became acquainted with people and being touched. He spent 3 months in a cage. I know that sounds sad but before the clinic stepped in he has going to be euthanized. Now they felt he was tame enough to be placed in a home. 

Mike brought him home. I asked him how it went? Mike said, he cried the entire way and darted under the bed. He hasn’t come out yet. 

Best of Friends!
When I returned home from Santa Fe my first impression of him wasn't the best. I'm accustom to picking up our cats but every time I picked him up I was left with scratches down my arms. He was very skittish and had a wild streak. I had to change my approach with this kitten or I was going to have a problem. I had to remember how far he had come from being feral and give him enough space to feel safe. I spent a lot of time coaxing him with toys and treats…he began to settle in. After a few days I decided to name him. I called him, Lync. Why you ask? The little guy is taunt like in wild lynx cat. And he is part of a bigger chain of cats that have come through our home. So far we have rescued 16.

Watching Boone inner act with Lync was…surprising. At first I thought he was just being a spoiled brat. He wouldn’t share toys, pounced on Lync constantly and even attacked! Poor Lync had no clue what was going on. I was getting worried about leaving them alone…not good. As it turned out, our spending extra time with Lync, to help him adjust had made Boone jealous.  Once we figured it out, peace was restored in our house.

The good news…In time Lync settled down. He fills safe, happy, playful...He still doesn’t like to be picked up. I’m okay with that. Lync has an athletic streak and loves to jump and twist in the air, a sweet personality, like to chase toys, back rubs, play in the sink…and eats like a horse! Boone loves his friend, too! 
A short video of the boys at play. Boone is a couple months older now and less bossy. You can see how he wanted to be the center of attention! Today they are the best of friends!

If you’ve missed earlier parts of this story please read:

Next week I'll be sharing a fun and creative post on sketching!

Happy Sketching!
Brenda

Monday, June 18, 2018

Watercolor Artist Magazine

Double Page Opener

Cover
Forgive me for a shameless plug BUT I'm so excited I have to share. I'm featured in the current issue of Watercolor Artist magazine! A full 8 pages!!! Can you feel the ground shake? No, it's not a earthquake. It's me jumping up and down with joy!

Not only is the artwork mine but I also wrote the article. So it's a double winner. Most of my life I've felt very inadequate when it came to writing. Since I've begun to share my artwork and writing with you (my blog followers) it has helped me to build confidence. I'm far from a fast writer (probably takes me twice as long) but now I can get my thoughts into words. Thank you for being encouraging followers and cheerleaders along the way.

Would you like a copy of  Watercolor Artist magazine August issue? Here's a link: Watercolor Artist

Happy Sketching!
Brenda


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Sketching with a Stabilo Pen

I like to use a lot of different drawing tools: pencils, pens, fountain pens, markers, bamboo reed pens and more. Using one tool or technique for too long begins to feel like a creative rut. When I switch out my drawing tools my work feels more spontaneous and fresh. 

So what have I been up to lately? Stabilo Pens! One of the really great things about these pens is the way the ink responds to water. The ink is “soluble” which means it moves with a wet brush. BUT there’s more! Once the ink dries the ink is fixed. What does “fixed” mean? It won’t move any more. So why is this so great? The pen is great for drawing and I can also establish my shadows with a damp brush before I begin to paint. Once I establish the light and shadows the majority of work is done and the painting portion comes easier.

It’s worth noting if you look through my artwork you’ll notice the effects of light and the presence of shadows is really important to me. More often than not it’s the effect of light and shadows pattern that excited me to sketch or paint a subject.

For this demo I used the Stabilo point 88, color 45. The pen comes in a huge range of colors. I made a few samples to show how much the line moves when wet. 

This demo was was done on location at Pasadena City Hall. It's a beautiful location with a variety of views and ample shade. I sat in the court yard. 

(1) Pen drawing
(1) I drew directly on Saunders 140lb watercolor paper with the Stabilo pen. I didn't do any preliminary drawing with a pencil.  You'll notice an "X" in all four corners. This is to remind me not to paint into the corners. Why? Because I was doing a vignette. You can learn more about vignettes by clicking on the highlighted text. I was careful to pay attention to the shadows and the shapes they created on the building. I stated the shadows with additional lines. 

(2) Dissolved line with water
(2) I used a brush dipped in clean water to dissolve the ink and define the shadows. You'll noticed how much darker the ink became when wet. The reddish-brown really came through!

(3) I made sure let the dissolved Stabilo ink was completely dry and the ink was fixed. Now I was ready to paint. This step of went rather quickly. All the preliminary work was done and now I got to have fun putting paint down.

(3) Painted
The Stabilo 88 pens are readily available. Take a look on line and you'll find lots of places that sell them. Pick up a few colors and start playing. 

I like to start with something simple when exploring  a new technique or tool. Below is a pen and bottle of ink using the same technique but this time I used the green color 63. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

~Happy Sketching!
    Brenda


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