Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Invitational Challenge...

"Snail Mail" -- Chris Beck
watercolor, 6" x 6"

"Ghost Mail" -- Pablo Villicana Lara
watercolor, 6" x 6"

"Saumons en Papier avec le Romarin"
Jelaine Faunce -- oil on canvas, 6" x 6"

I was thrilled when Jelaine asked Pablo and me to join her, M., and Otto for their March challenge, but I had a moment of sheer terror when she told us the subject -- a simple white envelope. Fortunately, a few remnant brain cells took up the cause and I ended up having a lot of fun with this. Sadly, M. was unable to participate this month due to some scheduling difficulties. Otto is having some sort of technical problems and cannot send his painting tonight, but we hope to include it tomorrow.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Ta-Da Moment...

Ruddy Ducky, watercolor, 4" x 4"

Today marks the first anniversary of my blog!! When I started this, I had no idea where it would take me. At first, it seemed that I was dropping pebbles into a bottomless well. Other than a few friends who subscribed, there didn't seem to be anyone reading what I wrote. Worse, I was self-conscious about chatting with a world of strangers, telling them about my work and my life. But somewhere along the line, I relaxed and began to enjoy writing, I got some subscribers, people started leaving comments, and out of all this, I made some new and valued friends.

This small painting of one of my silly salt shakers is my way of saying thanks for joining me over the past year. Sometime this coming week, I'll draw a name from the pool of people who have left comments on my blog this year and the winner will get this little painting. I'll announce the results of the drawing next weekend.

I'm also going to have a big surprise for you this coming week. Please be sure to stop back Tuesday to see what's up!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A lovely blog award...

I got to know Rhonda Carpenter several months ago -- another one of the wonderful friendships that has come out of this online community. Rhonda is most definitely passionate about painting and she has honored me by passing her well-deserved "Passion for Painting" award on to me, as well as to several other artists. I had hoped to post a thoughtful list of things I'm passionate about, along with choosing some recipients myself, but today was one of those days when nothing went as planned. So for now, I'm going to acknowledge the award, but I'll have to postpone the lists for a bit. Thank you Rhonda for your friendship and for your enthusiastic appreciation of my work!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I've mentioned several times how lucky I am to have contact with so many wonderful watercolorists. Judy Welsh is another local artist I'm very privileged to have as a friend. I knew all along that she was an excellent painter, but she's so modest that I only recently discovered the many well-deserved commendations she's received for her work. Please click over to Brush-Paper-Water to see her wonderful paintings.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ready. Set. Toast!!

Just Ducky

The Bread Art Project is a joint venture between the Grain Foods Foundation and Feeding America. This is a great way for artists to contribute. For each "slice" of art uploaded to the gallery, GFF sends $1 to Feeding America. There is no charge to the artist.

The Bread Art Project has a fun website showing slices of virtual bread with art images "toasted" into them. When you go to the galleries, click on the menu selector under the slices of bread at the bottom of the screen and go to "most recent" to get the entire gallery -- in 20-slice views. Each time you reach the end of one gallery, clicking on the arrow at the right of the screen will load the next "loaf."

You can make your own slice of bread by clicking on the "Make Art" button at the lower left side of the screen. It takes you to a "workshop" with an easel and a bunch of interactive tools. You can play around, clearing the canvas as often as you want until you get something you want to save. You can also upload art images. You can leave the bread untoasted or choose between several shades of toast. When you've got a piece you like, you save it and publish it to their gallery.

Ready. Set. Toast!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Give a little green...

Green is the color of the day today, March 17. Many of you will be wearing green and I'm sure there will be plenty of green beer flowing in the pubs. For all I know, they may still dye the Chicago River green, too.

I'm talking about a different kind of green -- the stuff in your wallets. Back in December, I put out a call to donate to your local food bank. The needs are still there, in fact more pressing than ever considering the state of the economy. So please, take a minute today to find your local food bank and make a donation. In most cases, you can donate online in the form of groceries or cash and pay with a credit card. So simple.

Feeding America is a national network of over 200 food banks serving the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Enter your zip code in the Food Bank Locator in the sidebar on their homepage and it will give you a list of food banks in your area. If you live near me, the Santa Clara/San Mateo county food bank is Second Harvest and this link will take you directly to their website.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Small Works...

Heirlooms, watercolor, 10" x 10"

The Richeson 75: Small Works show has been posted a bit ahead of time. One of my favorite paintings was accepted into this show. Click on the Small Works link near the top of their homepage.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Sandy Maudlin is one of the gems I've discovered in my blogging ventures. She is a fabulous artist herself -- always pushing her work to new boundaries -- and very supportive of other artists too. We live half a continent apart, but I think if I could walk down the block and meet her for coffee, I'd feel like we'd known each other for a lifetime.

I'm issuing another "wild card" for Sandy. Although she uses transparent watercolor in many paintings, she often paints on Yupo -- a slick synthetic surface that presents a novel challenge to a watercolorist -- and she also works in fluid acrylics as well as employing unusual techniques such as wax batik on rice paper. I invite you to see more of Sandy's work at Brush-Paper-Water.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Challenge #3...

Colonel Mustard
Chris Beck
watercolor, 6" x 6"

Singing in the Rain
Pablo Villicaña Lara
watercolor, 10" x 8"

Pablo and I are fairly casual when it comes to picking a new challenge topic. We float a few ideas and the one that appeals to both of us is the pick of the month. This month we came up with "containers." Pablo stretched the concept a teensy bit, but nobody's complaining because he came up with such a great painting!! In parts of Mexico, frogs are said to bring rain. Do you suppose it's just a coincidence that we've had rain the whole time he's been painting these little music-makers?

My painting features a small pot that I assume was meant for mustard, since it's a bit too small for jam. Another one from my rather largish flock of ceramic birdies, but I've jazzed up the color a bit.

Doing the happy dance...

Fe Fi Faux Fowl, acrylic, 30" x 30"

I went a little off-the-path last year and did a few paintings in acrylic. This one turned out so well that I just had to enter it in The Artist's Magazine's first All-Media Online Competition. I heard about a week ago that I'd won an honorable mention for this painting, but I didn't realize it would be displayed in the online exhibit. Check out the other great paintings in their show too!!

In other news, I will have paintings in several watercolor shows around the country between now and mid-summer. My painting "Moonlit Cactus" will be showing at the Western Colorado Watercolor Society's exhibit at the Center for the Arts in Grand Junction, CO. "Morning Glorious" will be hanging in the Watercolor Missouri 2009 exhibit at the Winston Churchill Memorial & Library in Fulton, MO. I will have a painting in the exhibition book for the Richeson 75: Small Works 2009 show. And last but not least, "Heirlooms" will be hanging in the Transparent Watercolor Society of America's show at the Kenosha Public Museum in Kenosha, WI. Stop in for a look if you're nearby.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Go green...

Don't worry -- my blog has not become a satellite office for the home shopping network and this is not intended as a sales pitch, but I got a pack of these cute little disks as part of a gift exchange and promptly discovered how useful they are for watercolor painting.


The disks are about the size of fat nickels and weigh almost nothing. Wetting the disk allows you to unroll it. The cloth is a decent size -- about 9" x 9" -- and you can wipe your brushes on it or use it to blot up paint as you lift it from your paper. You can rinse it clean, squeeze it damp dry and it's good to go again. It's sturdy enough to last for multiple painting sessions and it doesn't appear to leave lint, unlike facial tissues. Plus, they're cellulose, so they're biodegradable. I'd bet that a few of these tossed in your plein air kit would be enough to keep you going for hours.

My friend picked up this 12-pack for a couple of bucks at The Container Store, but you can buy them in bulk packs of either 100 or 500 online. Tell them Chris sent you!! (joking, joking...)