Thursday 27 November 2014

Sharing Knowledge

I started painting in 1997 and within the year I was displaying my work at markets and art shows. Every display there were viewers saying things like ' I've always wanted to paint' or 'I wish I could...' So, in 2000, I started teaching Beginner Art to share an activity that gave me so much pleasure and to spread the wonder of art.

I wanted to give people the chance to explore a few different media without spending lots of money only to find out that  - for instance, they hated watercolor painting. The classes were an 'introduction' to the different media and students where welcome to continue with more classes after the basics were done.

basic shapes example
We started with pencil; working with basic shapes to draw everything from landscapes to teapots to cows. Students learned about light source, shading, composition and perspective - all things they would need whatever medium they chose.

Autumn Splendor
Next was watercolor! Students learned color mixing - on paper and palette, negative painting, tonal values in perspective, flat and gradated washes and so much more.

Wild Tulips
We moved on to acrylics and students worked on paper, canvas, fabric and wood. I wanted to show the versatility of the medium as well as the different techniques needed for different surfaces.

For my group classes I also taught the basics of charcoal, pastel and pen & ink but I found that most students wanted COLOR so I decided to stick with pencil, watercolor and acrylic.

I have been lucky over the years that a number of the paintings I started in demonstrations turn out good enough to frame and sell - even the ones I paint up-side-down.
Home in the Country

Or the ones where I am learning along with the student - lol
Let it Snow
And then there are the subjects that take me back to my first year of painting when so many of my paintings were of flowers.
Little Pansies
I mostly teach private classes now as I like working one on one with the students but I do offer workshops in my area for interested groups. Check my web page for information about workshops -

Whether I am teaching one person or a number, I really enjoy sharing what I know and seeing the eyes light up when a student holds up a finished work and it looks GOOD!

Thursday 13 November 2014

Practice, Practice, Practice

Last winter I was playing around a bit with Oriental style brush painting and this year I am going to work at it even more. Practice, practice, practice and more practice because I am finding it a lot more complicated than seems.

First there is the paper!

There is Masa, Mulberry, Awagami Fine Art Paper and a couple that I don't have names for because the paper was given to me. It is all rice paper but each one is different! How do you know which is best?

Then there are the brushes and the books! So many to choose from - Chinese, Japanese, fat brush , thin brush! At least I don't have to worry about the inks too as I just use my watercolours.

 Now is just a matter of practising! So many different strokes to learn. Then there is loading the brush with more that one colour or tone - not too wet or too dry  because the paper just soaks it up!
Fortunately, every once in a while a practise piece turns out pretty decent so I am encouraged to continue with my studies.

Three Little Fishes

Favourite Flower
 I think all artists continue to learn and practise new things although many of us always continue to prefer a favourite. But, we often approach the old with a new freshness just because we tried something new.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Paper Towels and Other Things

This afternoon I read a blog post by a Google+ friend Sheila Delgado - and it got me thinking about how I use paper towels.

I use paper towels to blot, lift, mop, dry brushes, wipe my palette, sometimes to create a textured look and a number of other things as well. I have a pile of half or quarter sheets ready by my hand whenever I paint. When painting in watercolour these used papers go right into the trash because the colours are usually washed out but when I paint in acrylics - WOW

A great range of colours: some soft but most bright enough to jump off the page.

Painted paper towel coated with gloss medium for strength and some 'flowers' made with medium coated paper towel. Lots of fun!

And, of course painted paper towel can be use in mixed media.

Circles - 6 x 12 mixed media
 Painted mat board, painted paper towel, painted cheesecloth and some "leather" on gallery wrap canvas
Paper Flowers in Purple - 7 x 9 mixed media

Paper towel flowers and leaves with coloured pipe cleaner on painted mat board

 I learned these uses of paper towel from a local artist Win Dinn (see more here - Win is an expert at trying different things to create interesting effects - like cheesecloth and dryer sheets!

painted cheesecloth and painted dryer sheets

One of these days I will get back to playing with my paper towels and mixed media - so much to do and so little time!