Sunday, October 5, 2014

Watercolor on Tinted Paper

I sketch and paint on papers not intended for watercolor. For example, I’ve found that the Canson Mi-Teintes pastel papers handle watercolor nicely, with a little warping. Mi-Teintes has a 65% rag content, a 98 lb. weight and is gelatin sized making it very strong. The paper has two distinct surface textures, one side smooth and the other grainy. The paper is highly receptive and easy to work on. 

 A few things to keep in mind when working on a tinted surface…your watercolors will look very different, especially if you use transparent watercolor. The paint will be influenced by the tint of the paper. And use less water so the paper doesn’t buckle too much. Since the paper is tinted you will have no whites to bring a sparkle. I don’t always feel adding white is necessary. I have a small lip gloss container filled with permanent white gouache in my sketch set-up. I don’t keep it on my palette as it dries quickly and becomes useless.

Right now I imagine a few watercolorists are raising their brow when they heard, “WHITE PAINT”. In many circles this is a NO, NO! Well guess what? In my sketchbook anything goes. Here is where I am free to play and break all the rules. One of the great joys of being an artist is experimenting with new subject matter and materials. 
I like to paint on ALL kinds of paper (tinted, stained, rough…) and this is only a few of them. A few companies make tinted watercolor papers, but I find the expense unnecessary.

The images you see are from my trip two weeks ago to Santa Fe & Taos, New Mexico.
Soon I leave for Tuscany and I plan to work on tinted paper along with watercolor paper. I look forward to sharing my sketches and adventure when I return.

Happy sketching!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Sketch Collage

Have you ever felt one image on a page wasn't enough to tell the entire story? I often feel this way. This is when I sketch multiple objects on a single page. I call this a "Sketch Collage". I feel these sketches tell a bigger story/picture of what I was seeing and experienceing

The very word "collage" means collection or gathering...which is perfect for this approach. The challenge with a "Sketch Collage" is arranging the elements in a way that the page feels organized and balance. 


*Any theme will work (travel, garden, event, animals...). I might complete a Sketch Collage in one sitting or I may add images to a page over the span of the trip.  

*Don't worry about objects being true to size in relation to each other (key can be bigger than the house).

*Have objects such as people or animals pointed in and not out of the page.

*Have some objects overlap each other.

*Use a pencil to layout your ideas.

*Use a border to tie the images together.

*Have a variety of shape and size variety

*With or without words.

Happy Sketching!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Negative Painting with Watercolor

Last weekend I taught a Negative Painting Workshop for the Mountain Arts Network, in Lake Arrowhead. The final day I began a painting demonstation but got busy helping everyone complete their paintings and didn't finish my demo. I don't mind, since the reason I was their is to help my students learn.

I thought it would be a good teaching opportunity to show where a painting starts and the final piece. The pencil drawing is on Arches 140lb cold press watercolor paper. The underpainting is done wet into wet. The three colors in the under-painting are: Quinacridone Sierra (Daniel Smith), Leaf Green (Holbein) and French Ultramarine (Daniel Smith). The underpainting stage of  painting is the least control-able and the most exciting!

View the short video below to learn more and see the final negative painting.
If you experience a problem viewing the video use this link:

Happy Painting!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Just Start!

3 Minute Contour Drawing
In my workshops I often see participants so worried about the end product that they can’t even begin. To grow as an artist it is essential to keep moving forward…no matter how scared you are. Fear is crippling…if you let it control you! To master your fear JUST START! Even if you have to paint your way out of a mistake…at least you're moving.

In my watercolor sketching workshop I use this technique to get the creative ball rolling.

Line & Watercolor, 20 minutes
When students arrive (especially the first day) I find they are hurried, tense and very self conscience. This is not the mindset to be solution is using a timer. We start with multiple pen drawing exercises (3 minutes) and quickly move into color. The timer has a way of keeping the group focused and moving forward. It is amazing to see how quickly people begin to laugh and most importantly…relax. It only takes 20 minutes (or less) to feel the energy in the room become positive and creative. This is when great things begin to happen!

Teaching is a privilege I take seriously. I am always looking for new and 
different ways to teach, inspire, and encourage. When I see the light go on in student’s eyes...I've done my job!

Happy Sketching!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Farewell to Dad

You may of noticed I've been posting less lately. To say I've been through a rough patch would be an understatement. On Father's Day my step-dad was hospitalized and the diagnosis was aggressive cancer. A few day later I left to teach a workshop in WI, returned home to teach another workshop in Santa Barbara, then Sketchbook Skool... In between each workshop I was spending time with dad and trying to share meaningful final hours with him.

The life of a step-child or step-parent has many pitfalls and we experienced our share. But it's the love we shared and the memories we cherished that tied us together (wounds and all). I love him and he loved me. Yesterday was his memorial and I know he would of been proud of us "his girls".

Remembering Dad...was written by my sister Angie. He had a sense of humor as you will see below.

 Jere Young was born in Harrisburg, PA, May 5, 1934. He was drafted into the U.S. Army kicking and screaming, but not to sound too clich, serving in the military was one of his most worthwhile life experiences (barring the food). From his earliest days Jere was a picky eater. After being drafted by the Army, his weight loss accelerated because the mess halls rarely served food Jere

liked. You might wonder how he has sustained himself all these 80 years. It's simple, Burgers, Oreos, Cheez-It's and Spam (must be an Army thing), but to his dying day, he took pride in the fact that he never once ate a taco. When he first came to California he was a dance instructor at Arthur Murrays where he met his one and only wife. On February 10, 1962, he married La Verne Ann Daugherty (Annie). Back when the Ventura County Star was called the Star Free Press, they employed Jere in their sales department, and later he became a freelance writer for the Star. He was the Marketing Director for Centerpoint Mall in Oxnard and a Service Writer at Woodland Hills Honda. Jere's likes: bluegrass music, playing drums with the Ventura County Concert Band, driving his '73 Mustang and riding his Goldwing motorcycle with sidecar. Jere's dislikes: vegetables and yard work.

Life Lesson (in his words):
Never play cards with someone named Lucky. Bet on the gray horse. Always be on time. Never let your tank get below quarter full. The truth will set you free. I am certainly not a victim; I am where I have chosen to be. Treat elders with respect. Loving your children is an all-consuming emotion and wonderful to experience. Remember, whining is completely non-productive but revenge and vilification have some wonderful benefits, however fleeting. Yes, bad things CAN happen to good people.

I have rarely regretted keeping quiet. If you have an ace, play it. A life of LOVE and SERVICE trumps all.

A gun in the hand beats an operator on the phone. Carrying a grudge is vastly overrated. It isn't my place, any more, to point out anyone's shortcomings. I can't change anyone. Acceptance. Be of service to others for fun and for free. Take responsibility for your actions. Have a pet so you don't have to think about yourself ALL the time. To love someone means to wish them no harm. Put a smile on your face.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Helpful Hint

Watercolor Palette
Does the paint on your palette has a tendency to bead up? This can be frustrating if your trying to get colors to mix. This tip may be just for you! With a soft cloth gently clean the mixing area of your palette with a mild abrasive liquid cleanser (Soft Scrub, Liquid Scrub) or Baking Soda mixed with a little water to make a paste. Be careful not to leave any residue of the cleanser behind. 

This works on new or old palettes, plastic or metal. 

Happy Painting!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Watercolor Tip - Spray Bottles

Here's a short video on how I use a spray bottle to move paint on my paper and keep my paints moist in my palette.

Happy Painting!