Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Peeps challenge...

What Did You Expect from Marshmallow Eggs? - 6" x 8"
watercolor by Chris Beck

Me and My Peeps - 7" x 9"
watercolor by Pablo Villicana Lara

Late Bloomer - 6" x 6"
oil on cradled hardboard by Jelaine Faunce

There's nothing quite like a challenge to get the old brain cells fired up for painting -- doesn't matter if it's a serious subject or something as silly as Peeps. I've been wanting to do something with these critters for years, but I really needed some co-conspirators. Enter Jelaine and Pablo -- the best compadres you could ask for. It's such a treat to see their inspired creations!!

Like Pablo, I struggled with this painting -- some defective paper set me back not once, but twice -- and like Pablo, I wondered if my original title had somehow offended the universe. We won't go into details here -- just in case!!

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Masking techniques tutorial - part 3...

I'm back at last with another installment of my tutorial on masking techniques. Today I'm going to give you information about using frisket film and Con-tact paper, as well as a novel way to use masking fluid, and I also have some additional information on tapes. One of my happy discoveries -- the Nichiban tape shown above -- is explained in more detail later in this post.

I covered the common uses of masking fluid back in January -- you can see the posts here, here, and here. I also looked at various types of masking tapes in another post later in the month.

Guy Magallanes prefers frisket film (a sheet of low-adhesive transparent film) for masking larger areas. He explains his approach in this post. Connie Williams recommends using low-tack, clear Con-tact shelf paper in place of frisket film. It's inexpensive and the light adhesive won't mar your paper. She's written a wonderful tutorial here. I tried frisket film for the first time and, as you can see here, had a problem with a paint leak because I didn't get the edge of the film completely sealed.

Deb Ward uses a technique developed by Steve Blackburn for pouring masking fluid as a design element. Her posts showing this technique are
here, here, here, and here.

Tape is one of the tools in Sandy Maudlin's painting kit. She creates some amazing textures and scenes using Manco masking tape. Sandy generously shares many of her paintings
here. Unfortunately I haven't had any luck finding Manco tape in California and my online searches haven't been successful either.

Back in January, I discovered that my favorite tape for masking the edges of my paintings was actually the worst performer of all the tapes I tested (see the blog link in the second paragraph). But visually I prefer the white tape over the better performing blue masking tapes.

Fortunately, William Hook mentioned during a discussion online that he found Nichiban tape to be absolutely superior as a masking tape. I found it at New York Central Art Supply.* Although it's a bit more expensive than generic masking tapes, it does work incredibly well. For the sake of testing, I bought one roll each of four different widths, but I think I will probably make most use of the 1/2" width. I can protect the edge of the painting with that narrow strip and then make the border wider with my old white tape. The wider Nichiban tapes may come in handy for masking shapes within paintings.

As you can see in this image, the Nichiban tape protected the right side edge of this painting completely, while my old white tape -- 3M 256 -- allowed paint to leak under the bottom edge. (The paper had been soaked for approximately 5 minutes prior to stretching, but was completely dry when I applied the tape.)

*(A brief note on NY Central Art Supply -- you download a PDF of their catalog and then call them with your order. I found them very pleasant over the phone and they shipped promptly. They also called to let me know that one of my items was backordered -- a level of service that has disappeared in most cases these days. I recommend them highly.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nosey Mouse...

I'm pleased to introduce Nosey Mouse. She arrived this afternoon and has been exploring the studio. When she settles down, we're going to work on a challenge painting.

Sculptor Steve Worthington has asked approximately 20 artists to participate in a challenge using their choice of one of five bronze mice he's created. When all the paintings are finished, he's going to gather them into a book which he plans to publish this summer and he'll donate the proceeds from the book sales to animal shelters. I'll post updates here as things progress.

I can't encourage you enough to explore Steve's blog and website -- he has some fabulous sculptures of mice, frogs, and toads, to name a few of his critters. And his short videos are very quirky and fun to watch!!

And to those patient souls who have been waiting (endlessly, it must seem by now) for my follow-up post on masking techniques -- please bear with me. It's just been a bit chaotic here and I haven't had the energy to compose the material into a coherent post.

I'm also working on another challenge with
Pablo Villicana Lara and Jelaine Faunce (and possibly a fourth artist) and will be posting the results next week. We've got a great subject -- very timely as you will see -- and I'm dying to see what my fellow painters have come up with.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Paul Jackson

I think one could reasonably claim that the name Paul Jackson is virtually synonymous with watercolor in our time. Recognized early for his virtuoso paintings, he has sustained a level of excellence and productivity ever since. And just when you think he has taken his work to the highest level, he surprises you with even more amazing paintings. A master of color and composition, as well as a superb painter, his portfolio covers wide territory -- from landscape and architecture through interiors and still-lifes featuring everything from colorful glass to insects.

Please jump over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Paul's work and link from there to his blog and website.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Monday!!

Hollyhocks Too, 15" x 15"

I'm honored to be the featured artist today over at Charley Parker's blog "lines and colors" -- Thank you, Charley!!

It is almost an understatement to say that lines and colors features a wide range of visual art. Charley's posts cover everything from classical paintings and drawings to contemporary comics and concept art. It's always a treat to see what he shares. Check it out!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Clearing away a few cobwebs...

It's been a while since I've posted any personal blog news, so I guess I need to do a bit of housekeeping here!! Let's work backwards in time.

I learned last week that my painting "Snail Mail" will be featured on the cover of the upcoming Best of America, Watermedia II book published by Kennedy Publishing. I owe a big thank-you to my buddy Pablo Villicana Lara, who pushed me to enter this competition. In a totally marvelous turn of events, he will be featured on the cover of the second book in this set (it's divided alphabetically). You can learn more about the Best of America series here.

Hollyhocks, 29" x 12"

Back in February, my painting "Hollyhocks" was accepted into the Missouri Watercolor Society's annual national show, which qualified me for signature status in that organization. MoWS also sponsors online shows for members and publishes an informative quarterly journal online.

Dippy Duck - the Sequel, 8" x 8"

I also returned to teaching in February, conducting my first workshop for a group in Capitola, CA. At their request, we spent our day together painting this little ceramic duck. Thanks to all the gals who made this a very enjoyable day for me -- in addition to being wonderful painters, you could open your own restaurant. Thanks for the great lunch!!

And last, but not least, Paul Kasmir bestowed a Sunshine Award on my blog. After discontinuing his previous blog featuring whimsical art, Paul has reappeared and is showing his new abstract works. Please go to his blog and have a look around -- he's got some wonderful new paintings and also a bunch of links to other sections of his site. Rather than passing the award along to just 12 others, I'm going to ask you to pick any of the excellent blogs on my sidebar and pay them a visit.

That's it for tonight. I'll be back soon for the long-promised followup on the masking tutorial.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This week at Brush-Paper-Water...

Peppers with Zest
watercolor, 23" x 17"
Sarah Bent

I came across Sarah Bent's painting of a gerbera daisy in Watercolor Artist magazine's presentation of the Watermedia Showcase Competition award winners (February 2010) and was immediately drawn to her dramatic use of light and the sumptuous color in the flower, as well as to her wonderful sense of design. While she frequently paints floral or botanical subjects, she is equally at home with still-lifes, capturing the most humble fruits and vegetables in a way that reveals their unique properties -- whether translucent peppers or papery onions.

Please click over to Brush-Paper-Water to see more of Sarah's work and get the link to her website.