Friday, March 21, 2008

International Artist Magazine competion finalist

I checked my emails this morning and there in my in-box was a congratulations email from my friend Penny Hill in San Diego. She had just received her copy of the April/May issue of International Artist Magazine and discovered my painting Mendocino Rhodies on page 13 along with the article I wrote about the painting.

To back track a bit, I entered a competition run by the magazine to find the best flower and garden paintings in December. For a month or more I watched all these wonderful paintings appear on the magazine's website as more and more entries came into the contest. My friend Kara Castro also entered the contest and I received emails from her husband mentioning one or another that he liked on the magazine's website. We often conversed about how tough the competition was, so you can imagine our shock when we learned that both Kara's and my paintings were among the 10 finalist! Our prize was that our paintings would be published in the magazine.

Now the magazine is finally published. My painting shown here is on page 13, Kara's beautiful painting of Daylillies is on page 18. Of course my copy of the magazine is not here yet (here in the country mail is slower), so I drove to my nearest Borders and bought 7 copies!

I was pleased to see that the reproduction in the magazine is not too far off from the original painting. It is slightly darker in the shadows and the variation in the backgournd does not show well. However, given my past experience with the printing process used in books and magazines, I was relieved to see that it looks this good.

The article I wrote about the painting follows a prescribed format given by the editor. However, the last topic Comments was omitted in all of the artists' aticles including mine. I presume this was due to a lack of space. So here is what I wrote that did not get printed:

"Follow your dream, your passion! I am.

Painting is my life-long passion. Teaching is fun and rewarding. Travel appeals to my sense of adventure and peaks my curiosity. I simply combined my dreams and created my dream job. Now I teach Watercolor Workshops in France, Italy, Greece, Bali and the USA. Like any good dream, it only happened because I believed in it, worked very very hard, and had the support of my family. Now I am living that dream! Have paints will travel!"

I have been encouraging my students to subscribe to this magazine, as it is such a marvelous resource for working artists. I love the fact that it is so global in its coverage of style, ideas, and approaches to art. I am very honored to have my painting published by International Artist Magazine.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Autumn's Abstract Patterns

Negative Painting is the subject of my watercolor classes in Sacramento and Auburn this month. It is one of my favorite painting techniques and I do it in watercolor, oil, and acrylic.

Negative Painting means creating the subject by painting around it. Or in other words you create the positive, by painting the negative space around it. It is easy to do once you get the hang of it.

Most of the time I use this technique for creating shapes in a background, as I illustrate in the two previous posts. However this painting was created entirely by negative painting. I started with splashing light value color all over my watercolor paper and letting it dry. Then I gathered leaves from our property and used them as the positive shapes that I painted around. To create negative shapes behind negative shapes you have to start with the one closest to you first. After I created the first leaf by painting the background around I let the paint dry, then painted the leaves behind it by painting the background behind them etc. After I had the entire pile of leaves created, I then painted the veins in some, but not all, of the leaves. If the leaf had a vein that was lighter in color than the leaf, I created the light vein by painting the leaf in between the veins (negative painting again).

When organisations hire me to teach Intermediate level workshops this is one of the topics I teach that the students really enjoy when they finally "get it". It is confusing at first, but when you get it, you will enjoy this painting technique.

Harvest Time

In this painting I wanted to create the effect of leaves disappearing into the background so I created the background leaf shapes using negative painting instead of positive painting. Can you figure out which leaves were positive painted and which were negative painted?


Lilium is a watercolor that sold years ago, but I post it as an example of using negative painting to create more interest in an otherwise blaw background. If the background was just the same dark value everywhere the painting would have way too much background and too little interest. I painted the background in layer after layer of glazes, and about half way through began painting around (negative painting) imaginary shapes of leaves and stems then kept painting more layers always painting around those shapes. That is why the leaves and stems in the background are of lighter value then the rest of the dark background, they simply have fewer layers of paint.

Monday, March 10, 2008

An Inspirational Trip to Arizona Galleries

As you may have noticed I have not been posting lately. I have been working on a very complicated floral watercolor painting, (almost done) updating my website, doing paperwork etc. etc.

I believe it is instructive, inspirational and always fun, to take a day and visit galleries once in awhile. I call this an "Inspiration Break". And when you have the opportunity to visit galleries in another city or state all the better.

My husband was working a Trade Show in Arizona this past week so I decided to take an "Inspiration Break" and join him and visit galleries. I spent one day in Scottsdale and another day in Sedona. Here are some things I learned:

You can create fabulous effects with very thin oil paint on panels, runs splatters etc. Then layer very thin varnishes over it, let it bubble too quite cool!

Met a very talented painter and photographer named Marcia Myers who convinced me I have to visit Pompei on one of my trips to Italy. I liked her one woman show at Gebert Contemporary Gallery in Scottsdale.

Only saw watercolors by two artists in Scottsdale. In Sedona I saw Tom Lynch's landscape watercolors on canvas and I really like them. Very luminous and great not to have to frame with glass.

My favorite galleries in Scottsdale were on Marshall Street. I loved Ron Richmon's work at Marchall Gallery. Wow!

Mark Gould has some wonderful paintings that straddle the fence between abstract and realism and in colors that I love to paint in myself. His work is at Lanning Gallery in Sedona, where I met a very gracious artist named Debby who was working there. We had a great time discussing technique etc. I love that gallery as they were showing a collection of really creative artists, certainly not the same old thing I saw over and over in the more "touristy" galleries.

I also liked the work at James Ratliff Gallery in Sedona, especially the large African painting by John Dawson. Another artist who straddles that fence between abstraction and realism. I love that!

I promise I will post my new tropical watercolor as soon as it is done and photographed. I left a note next to it in my studio at Elliott Fouts Gallery that said "Work in progress... Needs a title, any suggestions?" Several visitors on Second Saturday left me their ideas, and I chose "Aloha" from the list. Great way to title a painting, think I will try it again next time I need a title!

So for now, Aloha