Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ready, set, paint...

I started work yesterday on a new painting that I hope to finish by the weekend for my latest challenge with Pablo. Due to the upheaval in my personal life, I haven't been getting much studio time in lately and my palette has been sitting untouched for longer than I'd like to admit. However, some years ago I discovered a great way to store my palette, so when I opened it up this afternoon, it was in perfect condition and ready to use. Here's the scoop:

I wouldn't dream of discarding paint after each painting session -- it's too expensive -- and this method of storage keeps it fresh and workable. I fill the wells in the palette at least half full or even a little more, then spray the paint lightly with distilled water and stir each one (with a toothpick) to spread it out in the well. I cover the palette (cover not shown here) when I'm not actively painting and I spray the paints with distilled water if they start drying out while I'm painting, and also before I cover my palette and put it away at the end of a painting session. When I pull it out to paint the next time, I stir any of the paints that appear to have separated, but generally don't have to spend much time on that.

The secret to this success is a Masterson Artist Palette Seal. Before I found this solution for paint storage, I used to keep my palette in a large plastic zipper bag. It was helpful, but a bit bulky since the bag was much larger than the palette. Still, by providing an extra barrier, it helped keep the paint moist.

I prefer my old Creative Mark palette over all the others I've tried, so I modified the Masterson box by slicing off the posts, as you can see in the small inset photo. With that adjustment, you can store any palette up to 12" x 16" x 1" in the Masterson box. (Although the working area of most watercolor palettes is 12" x 16," the edges of some palettes make them just a bit too large for the storage box. Measure your palette carefully if you're thinking of trying this setup.)

If you have a favorite way of keeping your palette ready to go, please share that in the comments.

Happy painting!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award for Brush-Paper-Water

Paul Kasmir has very generously bestowed the Kreativ Blogger Award on me for my watercolor showcase blog -- Brush-Paper-Water -- but because I restrict that blog to features on other artists, I am going to accept it over here. This has been a great week for that blog in other respects as well -- it's now had more than 11,000 visits and the number of subscribers increases each week. On top of that, I discovered that Technorati ranks it as one of the top 100 art blogs. So thanks, Paul, for your enthusiasm and your vote of confidence for my efforts.

One of the conditions of the award is to list seven things about yourself, and also pass the award along. I'm going to reveal those seven factoids in a second, but instead of limiting myself to only seven bloggers, I'm going to suggest you visit all the fabulous blogs on my blogroll. I have a great collection of incredible artists on that list and you won't be disappointed!!

Now, on to those little details you've all been waiting for...

1. I love the smell of Winsor-Newton's watercolor paint Rose Madder Genuine. Even during the years I wasn't painting, I kept an old tube of it around for an occasional sniff. Very benign!! No need to call the DEA, folks!!

2. I love the name and the color -- Chartreuse.

3. When I was a child, I used only red crayons for several years. I suppose mental health professionals would have their take on this, but I'm quite sure it was because I was so enamored of the intense red tulips in my Grandmother's garden.

4. Godzilla and the Michelin Man are engaged in a perennial face-off in my studio. Oh, Godzilla thinks he's tough, but the Michelin Man just puts his hands on his hips, puffs out his chest, and stares Godzilla down. HA!!

5. When I was at my parents' home a few weeks ago, I found the Christmas exchange gift I got in 4th grade!! I don't think we coined the word "packrat" but we certainly tried our best to live up to it!!

6. I went to the site of the Haunted House that we used to visit when I was a teenager -- a moonless night was guaranteed to be scary. It's now a county park and nothing of the house remains these days. Sigh.

7. But I did see lots of fairy rings at that park. Contrary to superstitions held worldwide in the past, fairy rings have no supernatural source -- unless you regard fungi as alien creatures!! Fairy rings are simply circles of mushrooms which grow ever larger as the center of the ring becomes unable to sustain them due to loss of nutrients or changes in the soil chemistry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Sunlit Afternoon, 30" x 22"
Jeannie Vodden

Jeannie Vodden was recommended to me by a longtime art friend whose judgment on matters of art has always been reliable. As I looked at Jeannie's website the first time, I knew that my friend had chosen wisely once again. Jeannie's love of textures is beautifully integrated into her wonderful paintings, whether figurative or still-life, and her work presents a strong impression of the magic she finds in our daily lives.

Please buzz over to
Brush-Paper-Water for a look at more of Jeannie's work.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

I'm taking a short break from the watercolor showcase as our family gathers to remember my father. Look for a new feature in two weeks.