Tag Archives: watercolor

Traveling in Spain

Recently I had the good fortune to travel to Spain with a group of 13 fellow artists on a Plein Air tour of Madrid and Barcelona. Well, most of us were artists, and we did do some painting; but mostly we saw as much as we possibly could! Now that I’ve had two months to begin processing the experience, I’d like to share some of the paintings I’m working on. I’ve included above preliminary sketches: let me know which ones appeal to you.

I took 1,000 or so photos and did several sketches as we visited Madrid, Toledo, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Monsterrat and Cadaques. We saw many excellent museums, cathedrals, and city neighborhoods, ancient and modern. It was a satisfyingly wonderful trip!

My favorite place: the seaside village of Cadaques; my favorite museum: the Thyssen in Madrid; my favorite environment: Retiro park in Madrid. In close competition, respectively: Toledo; Museum at Montserrat; the Montserrat pudding stone needles/mountains.

For those of you planning a trip, here’s what I did:

April 28, Friday, Madrid
– arrive 8am, drop bags at hotel: Mercure Madrid Centro, Calle Lope de Vega, 49                  – hotel check in 3pm                                                                                                                             – Sofia Museum: Picasso, Pity and Terror                                                                                         – Sketch at the Crystal Palace  in the Retiro Park (east of Prado)                                                 – early evening wine & cheese reception at hotel
April 29, Saturday, Madrid                                                                                                                    – Prado Museum                                                                                                                                     – Caixaforum – Ramon Casas exhibit                                                                                                 April 30, Sunday, Madrid                                                                                                                       – Plaza Mayor coin/stamp market; street flea market                                                                     – Palace plaza, Temple Debod                                                                                                              – Thyssen Museum                                                                                                                                – 90 minute hop on, hop off bus, Puerta del Sol                                                                                May 1, Monday, Madrid                                                                                                                       – 8am coach  to Toledo (1 hour drive): cathedral; TrainVision Tourist Train
– Royal Botanical garden                                                                                                                 May 2, Tuesday, travel                                                                                                                           – 9am coach to Barcelona
– 3 hours to Zaragoza, Cathedral-Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar tower elevator, lunch
– Barcelona hotel: Avenida Palace, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 605                             May 3, Wednesday, Barcelona                                                                                                             – El Born Market                                                                                                                                     – Picasso Museum                                                                                                                                   – El Born Cultural Museum                                                                                                                  – Gaudi Cascade                                                                                                                                      – Arc de Triomf                                                                                                                                 May 4, Thursday, Barcelona                                                                                                                – 8am coach to Montserrat: Monastery, Museum, funicular                                                         – Stroll La Rambla, visit art supply store                                                                                       May 5, Friday, Barcelona                                                                                                                       – Park Güell, picnic/paint, Gaudi museum                                                                                        – 7:30 flamenco dance performance                                                                                           May 6, Saturday, Barcelona
– 8:30am coach to Cadaques                                                                                                                 – timed entry to the Dali House                                                                                                           – flea market via metro                                                                                                                   May 7, Sunday, Barcelona                                                                                                                     – Sketch in area of hotel
May 8, Monday, departure

Is it done yet?

Bon Air Artists’ Association’s Artful Healing Show is this Sunday!! Hope you can come by the University of Richmond’s Jepson Alumni Center between 10 am and 5 pm. You’ll be glad you did! 70 artists will have their works on display. I’ve got my pieces framed and ready to go. The photos above are of the last one out of the studio. Actually, what you see here are two versions. The first one was critiqued at our last BAAA meeting. I received several helpful pointers, and gave it another go. I like the composition better. It could use some improvement, but I’m done with this iteration.

Journal Wrap ups

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Several of my handmade journals are finishing up about the same time! Here’s a quick overview. First up in the slide show is a half fold journal with 120 lb paper, fusible vinyl on the cover. I’ve enjoyed this paper immensely – not quite as heavy as watercolor but stands up very well to that medium. I followed the facebook prompts for Art Every Day in May and June and feel energized for the Summer!

The second journal in the show is made from gessoed canvas from an old project, with watercolor and drawing paper. I liked the one sketch per page format. These were studies for larger works. Still a few sketches in this one to finish.

The third journal was made from a single full sheet of watercolor following the video tutorial by Cathy Johnson. I wasn’t sure about this format at first, as the backside pages turn kind of wonky.  But the front side works well, and gives you a wide format perfect for panoramic layouts, without a gutter in the middle.  I’ve done various subjects in this journal, some freehand and some traced from photos. The paper was an old watercolor of a winter woodland scene – I used that for journaling.  I’m so pleased with it that my next effort is a 16 page folded journal from a full sheet of watercolor paper – gives a larger work area.  Already have some pieces I want to sketch.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this journal tour!  Get out, draw, paint!!

Carytown, Fast and Fresh


Thursday I tested my gear and did my first water color on the easel. Friday night I gathered paints, papers, binder clips, water, etc. and stashed it all near the door. Saturday morning I woke up to rain!! I taped a smaller piece of watercolor paper to cardboard so I could work in the car if necessary and added a couple of large pieces of clear plastic to the pile. By 8:30 am I was cruising Carytown and the rain had stopped. I parked at MacDonalds (easy access to food and facilities!), my original choice for set up. After checking in and looking around, I moved the car up the block to right across from the bright lime green building. The photo I’d taken of it the week before caught my artist daughter’s interest and she suggested it could be an good subject.
9:30 am – time for the shotgun start!! I tried really hard to make a good sketch and paint well, keeping in mind that it had to be finished and framed for judging by 11:30. Nothing like a little pressure. I cannot believe two hours can go so quickly! I was under the overhang of a restaurant with top 40 tunes blasting over the sidewalk – shaded and serenaded, the good life. Folks wandered by and chatted, watched awhile, took photos and videos, and reported on some of 40 or so other artists they’d seen. In no time it was after 11 am – time to finish up! About that point a couple stopped by and said ‘that looks just like Carytown! is it for sale?’ And my painting sold!!
Thankfully I thought to take photos, which you see above. Looking at the pictures last night, right off I saw at least five areas for improvement. Next time out…
On reflection, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Plein Air Richmond – Fast & Fresh

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I took a stroll along Cary Street this morning thru the area known as Carytown. Most of the shops were closed but restaurants were setting out chairs and preparing to open for brunch and early lunch. I was easily able to find parking – not always the case! And still there were folks on the street – its a lovely area of Richmond!

I was there to scope out possible plein air painting locations – Plein Air Richmond starts tomorrow with 30 invited artists from around the country, and will culminate next Saturday, June 25th, with a Fast and Fresh 2-hour painting session open to all in, you guessed it, Carytown! Let me know if any particular images in the slide show above appeal to you. Come out and paint, and/or support your favorite artists!

My plein air skills have a good ways to go before they top out, to say the least. I need every opportunity to practice. My easel, given to me by my resident design consultant many years ago, is checked out and ready. Just have to get papers and mats together and top up my palette! This will be a good warm up for the Cashiers, North Carolina, Plein Air Art Festival in July. They’re having a similar general participation paint out on July 15, which just happens to coincide with my summer jaunt to the mountains.  I can’t wait!

 

 

Water Colors Accepted!

Another sunny, chilly day in central Virginia!  Here’s a look back on last summer and fall, thru water color.  These are the five pieces I submitted for Bon Air Artist Association’s February jury process. To exhibit with the group, you must be juried in for the media you wish to show.  I was successful on my first attempt with photography. Watercolor, however, has been a challenge.  I think I finally wore them down, or maybe I’ve improved – take your pick!  Now I have to get serious!  I kept a journal over the past six months of sketches for possible larger pieces and I feel that really helped my composition.  If it doesn’t work small, chances are its not going to work large.  There is still much for me to learn.  I found this great quote from Robert Wade: “Watercolour is a lifetime pursuit…mostly uphill.” Another one I like from Selma Blackburn: “In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you’re in trouble.”

On my list for this week is a visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to check out their exhibit of watercolors by John Singer Sargent and Edward Hopper. To close, here’s a quote from Edward Hopper: “If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”

 

 

 

Watercolor Adventures Continued

In August (gosh, almost three months ago now) I did a couple of more water colors for my portfolio in anticipation of jurying for the Bon Air Artist Association.  I’m pleased with these two, and need to clear my table and get back to work!  Realizing that I still have a ways to go with the media, I hedged my bets and also submitted photographs.  As it turned out, I was accepted for photography, but not for exhibiting watercolors with the group.  Oh well!

So I’m gathering photos (see new header for this blog!) to include in their upcoming March fundraiser for the World Pediatric Project.  In February I’ll take another go at the watercolor jurying. Meanwhile, in preparation for my next expedition into water media, I’m working my way thru Pam Carriker‘s Celebrating Art at the Speed of Life.  More on that in a coming post… Mixed Media rules!