Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't throw out your old watercolors! [feedly]

Don't throw out your old watercolors!
// Gurney Journey

Instead, seal them in big glass jars. I've got mine in four jars: "Juicy New Tubes," "Semi-Dry Tubes," "Dried Out Tubes," and "Pans Full and Empty." The airtight jars keep the tubes from drying out any further.

I use the new tubes for refilling empty pans. If the semi-dry ones are still squeezable, they can work even better for refilling, because they don't drip liquid. You can cut open the dried out tubes with a sharp knife. The pigment is often tar-like in consistency and can usually be scraped out with a palette knife. A little water pressed in with an old spoon is usually enough to reactivate them. If you're handling toxic pigments with your fingers, remember to wear gloves.

My jar of pans is a graveyard of colors I've dumped from sets because I wasn't interested in them. Sometimes I change my mind and give those refusés another try. Every six months or so, I change my palette selection to keep myself off balance.

If I'm sure I don't want an old pan color, I pry out the color so that I can fill the empty pan with a new tube color. After refilling it, I put it on the sill of a sunny window and let it dry out for a week or two. If it cracks after drying, just fill in the cracks with more liquid color and let it dry again (thanks Jobot).

To cure the pigment from drying too crumbly, add a little gum arabic to it. Gum arabic is the binder or gluey stuff that holds watercolor together. You can get it in powdered form and it's non-toxic. It's also used for gluing cigars and making royal icing more shiny. You can even use gum arabic to make your own watercolors out of your dry eye shadow or dry pigments. (thanks, DKVision and Jobot).

Check out my video:Watercolor in the Wild by James Gurney
Big post about materials

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Mick McGinty (update 2014) [feedly]

Mick McGinty (update 2014)
// lines and colors

Mick McGinty
I'm delighted to say that after a hiatus of three years, painter/blogger/illustrator Mick McGinty is back to posting his small paintings on his blog Twice a Week, and offering them at auction.

Presumably, McGitnty has been busy in his other role as an illustrator, but it's great to see him once again posting his plain air paintings and other small works on his blog, which I have been following since early 2007.

I have this painting by McGinty, which I managed to snag at a low auction price back in 2008 (while everyone else was apparently sleeping), hanging in my living room.

When viewing his blog, bear in mind that it's one of the older Blogger layouts, in which there are no "Previous Posts" links at the bottom of the page. Use the monthly links in the right column to browse back through McGinty's work from past years. Also, be sure to click on the images to see the large versions of his work, the painterly nature of which is not always evident in the smaller reproductions.

For more, see my previous posts on Mick McGinty, listed below.


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Editors Pick: Botanical Flowers in Watercolor [feedly]

Editors Pick: Botanical Flowers in Watercolor
// Artist's Network

KingFlowers3My mother loves to give people flowers. We have dinner together often, and it's all very spur of the moment, but every once in a while, she likes to observe a little formality of bringing a hostess gift in the form of flowers, even if it's a simple bouquet from the grocery store.

My mom knows my favorite flowers (lilies), but she also brings me what happens to catch her eye; a bouquet of daisies or sunflowers; sometimes gladioli or yellow roses. My mom doesn't worry about the language or meaning of flowers, she just brings what makes her happy. Inevitably, the flowers bring us both pleasure; I always find myself wanting to paint them. I find that it's great inspiration when I haven't picked up a brush in too long, as well as a great live subject that stays still for long periods of time.

Because the flowers are never the same each time, I can get a lot of practice painting and employing the various painting techniques and approaches to flowers. And there's no better resource for painting flowers in watercolor than Bente Starcke King's Beautiful Botanicals.

KingFlowers1In these art lessons, Bente Starcke King demonstrates how to paint flowers, introducing you to several watercolor painting techniques, along with working with colored pencils and pen-and-ink. Working from fresh flowers and plants, Bente Starke King shows you how to paint tulips, primroses, daffodils and lilies step-by-step, tackling potential problems such as capturing the beauty of white flowers on a white background. This video is a must for all who have an interest in painting beautiful flowers, and who want their bouquets to last longer than the flowers themselves.

Preview Beautiful Botanicals with Bente Starcke King now, then head over to ArtistsNetwork.tv for the full-length video, reviews, materials and more!


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N. C. Wyeth ~ The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter ~ Published by Scribner's 1921 [feedly]

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Creating Abstract Art: How to Paint Abstractly | NorthLightShop.com [feedly]

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Getting Trashed [feedly]

Getting Trashed
// Artist Daily

I've heard of painting for yourself, for school, for work, but painting for the trash can?! Artist and watercolor painting instructor Jean Haines explains why working this way isn't rubbish at all. Enjoy!

The aim of being an artist is to create. But with this desire of creating wonderful paintings that can be framed or exhibited comes an enormous amount of pressure. We expect to always succeed in our goal to capture a scene or subject. I strongly believe it is this stress factor that can put off the beginner or lead to gaps in a professional artist's practice, times when they simply don't feel like they can pick up a brush and be successful. Or it becomes a point of despondency because one thinks he or she will never able to reach his or her goal.


I painted this watercolor exercise (with cadmium yellow and French ultramarine blue) for fun, for the bin, and with the aim of simply achieving vibrant fresh color on paper with texture effects for added interest.
I painted this watercolor exercise (with cadmium yellow and French ultramarine blue) for fun, for the bin, and with the aim of simply achieving vibrant fresh color on paper with texture effects for added interest.
In this watercolor painting for the bin, pigment is breaking up by use of simple water application. I refer to this watercolor painting technique as "water flow." Indigo and French ultramarine blue formed amazing patterns in the experimental wash.
In this watercolor painting for the bin, pigment is breaking up by use of simple water application. I refer to this watercolor painting technique as "water flow." Indigo and French ultramarine blue formed amazing patterns in the experimental wash.
Abstract result from purely experimenting with watercolor and textural effects.
Abstract result from purely experimenting with watercolor and textural effects.

In my studio I start and close each day with color experiments that, over time, have improved my art and my knowledge of the watercolor painting medium. In my watercolor art workshops I encourage everyone to experiment similarly with color first rather than always aiming to create a masterpiece straight away. Many experiments don't turn out right the first time, and it's alright to toss them in the bin (which is what we call the trash can in Britain). But while I am painting for the bin, I often unintentionally create pieces that are perfect for framing.

The key is to create a fun and light mood while experimenting, which is what I try to do during my watercolor painting lessons, and the results are incredible. I sometimes get the feeling many artists are too serious about their work and that they have forgotten how wonderfully enjoyable the experience of creating can actually be! Having fun with this process has aided my own growth and led me to completely new and exciting discoveries in watercolor painting techniques.

I constantly challenge myself by looking for new color combinations and pigment reactions, and I am fascinated by the reactions of artists attending my demonstrations. The joy they express when told not to paint a subject but to simply love working with color is amazing. I think possibly being given permission to "play" instead of always aiming for that special painting frees our inner artist and pushes us on our own road of discovery.

So the next time you don't feel like painting, how about letting go of all your inhibitions and self-imposed restrictions and free yourself by doing this exercise:

Paint four scraps of paper with different colors. Set yourself the challenge of making each one unique. Increase the challenge by not allowing yourself to use your favorite shades. Look out for great experimental results and use them in your more serious compositions. And remember to simply paint for the trash bin and take the pressure off of your shoulders.

I was once told if your bin isn't full, you haven't practiced enough! Although be warned, this exercise can become completely addictive, and that means taking out "the trash" more often!


I love Jean's energy and unself-conscious approach to her painting. As a watercolor artist, she's definitely shown me that color is king and that a sense of play is an absolute must. If you are looking for more on how to paint watercolor without forgetting the fun, we have our available Chinese Watercolor Premium Palette for you now--a kit of inspiration for incredible artwork that reminds all of us how freeing and fun our art should be!



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Tweet from Freelancers Union (@freelancersu)

Freelancers Union (@freelancersu)
Artists' brains are structurally different, study finds: bit.ly/1zXSDKt pic.twitter.com/bhjfxNC9G6

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Tweet from Winsor and Newton (@winsorandnewton)

Winsor and Newton (@winsorandnewton)
'If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint' - Edward Hopper #ArtQuote

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Summer Mural: Volunteer Info

Tweet from blauereiter (@blauereiter)

blauereiter (@blauereiter)
Art and Craft: A Documentary about Mark Landis, One of the Most Prolific Art Forgers in U.S. History thisiscolossal.com/2014/08/art-an… via @Colossal

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tweet from Anna Ridley (@lookbookreport)

Anna Ridley (@lookbookreport)
Latest issues of OKIDO, The Loop and Anorak magazines have landed! No excuse for boredom now bit.ly/1oG4HHR pic.twitter.com/BF5cxHcwqS

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gurney Journey: Easel-Mounted Diffuser

Gurney Journey: Easel-Mounted Diffuser: Getting the best light on your artwork while sketching outdoors makes a huge difference for seeing color. Ideally you want soft, diffused...

Gurney Journey: Your DIY Watercolor Pochades

Gurney Journey: Your DIY Watercolor Pochades: Mike Aspengren says: "I hope you share the construction plans for your watercolor sketchbook pochade contraption. I've already ord...

Gurney Journey: A. L. Garcia Fights the Crowds

Gurney Journey: A. L. Garcia Fights the Crowds: Contemporary realist Antonio López Garcia (b. 1936) paints everything from direct observation. He works on large canvases, and he is a patie...

Gurney Journey: Pocket Easel or Monopod

Gurney Journey: Pocket Easel or Monopod: The pocket easel or monopod is a clever lightweight solution for the watercolor painter or sketch-group artist who wants something more por...

Gurney Journey: Plein Air Tip: Go Vertical

Gurney Journey: Plein Air Tip: Go Vertical: Here's a helpful tip when you're painting outdoors. Try to arrange the angle of the painting surface to be: 1. Vertical (or perpe...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mind Blowing Watercolour Art Lessons with Joseph Zbukvic


Color Wheel Collage
Color spikes
Making color viewfinder
Analogous "how green" is the grass?
Arranging color chips
Color chip matching
Matching color chips under reflected light
5x6 Color grid warm-cool
3d experiment, matching cyan-red
Scavenger hunt
Coloring book page - color harmonies
Music "color" swatches
Film swatches
Mood swatches
Seasons composition
3d Color Spikes- Product Swatch
Candy Cards

Chopped Straw [feedly]

Chopped Straw
// Gurney Journey

Some painters of the nineteenth century had a way of building up tones with crosshatched strokes, which they referred to as "chopped straw."

John Henry Hill, "Plums," Watercolor
The technique gives a fuzzy effect reminiscent of engravings of the period. The term was coined by British art critic John Ruskin, an artist himself, whose advocacy of the patient study of nature inspired artists in both England and the USA. Ruskin wrote:
"If a colour is to be darkened by superimposed portions of another, it is, in many cases, better to lay the uppermost colour in rather vigorous small touches, like finely chopped straw, over the under one, than to lay it on as a tint, for two reasons : the first, that the play of the two colours together is pleasant to the eye ; the second, that much expression of form may be got by wise administration of the upper dark touches."
The Elements of Drawing, page 157

Henry Roderick Newman, "Wild Flowers," 1890, Watercolor, 15x10 inches.
Henry Roderick Newman (American, 1843-1917) admired Ruskin's writings and visited him in England. Newman liked to paint close-up views of flowers and plants in their natural setting. In this one, the textures gradate up to a delicate stippled tone at the top. The effect is quite different from what you would get with overlaid wet washes.

Painters used small overlaid strokes not only for grass-like textures, but for other textures as well. One of the strategies is to vary the color from one set of strokes to another. In this detail from a watercolor by William Trost Richards, the small strokes vary a bit from warm to cool, giving the surfaces some chromatic vibrancy.

Ruskin said, "The use of acquiring this habit of execution is that you may be able, when you begin to colour, to let one hue be seen in minute portions, gleaming between the touches of another." He advised his students to work slowly and delicately, using the point of the pencil or brush "as if you were drawing the down on a butterfly's wing."

Here's some real chopped straw as a point of reference. 

The look wasn't restricted to watercolor painters. Andrew Wyeth used a similar approach in some of his egg temperas. Aaron Draper Shattuck laid down a scrubby earth-toned underpainting in this detail of an oil painting, and then placed green strokes over it.
I learned about this term from the book The New Path: Ruskin and the American Pre-Raphaelites
Related post: "Small Touches"


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Jean Lurçat (French, 1892 – 1966)  The Fabulous Bestiary,... [feedly]

Jean Lurçat (French, 1892 – 1966)  The Fabulous Bestiary,...
// The Curve in the Line

Jean Lurçat (French, 1892 – 1966) 

The Fabulous Bestiary, 1948

Only 164 copies of this book of calligrams were published in 1948. Poems by Patrice de La Tour du Pin. 


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kafkasapartment: The Melancholy of Departure, 1916. Giorgio de... [feedly]

kafkasapartment: The Melancholy of Departure, 1916. Giorgio de...
// The Curve in the Line


The Melancholy of Departure, 1916. Giorgio de Chirico. Oil on canvas


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Autumn Landscape Demo with George Shipperley [feedly]

Autumn Landscape Demo with George Shipperley
// Artist's Network

This demonstration is from "Familiar Sights That Never Were" by BJ Foreman in the July/August issue of The Artist's Magazine.

"Autumnal Tonalities" By George Shipperley

I base my landscapes upon years of observation of the natural world, but the particular scenes I depict come from my imagination. For the painting that would be Pathway, I saw in my mind a dense forest with a path going straight through.

1. Draw horizon line: Generally, when I paint a landscape, I establish a basis for the composition by first determining the horizon line. I did this in a dark color, ultramarine blue, and then added lines indicating a path.


2. Mass shapes: Still using ultramarine blue, I began massing in the shapes. I used the same color for the sky, tree, and ground masses so I could establish an overall tonality.


3. Add darks: I increased the darkness and density of the tree and ground masses, adding black to the ultramarine blue. This created a contrast with the sky and added depth to the trees. Many artists in other media avoid using black, but I find it very useful with oil pastels.


4. Blend with medium: Here you can see that the linear markings in the sky, trees, and ground have begun to disappear because I rubbed those areas with a Scott paper shop towel moistened with Winsor & Newton Liquin Light Gel medium. This blending of the marks introduced more tonalities.


5. Add trunks; subtract darks: I added the trunks and branches, which I thought of as directional compositional elements rather than as trees. I was working with an arrangement of negative and positive spaces as I established the more important, solid tree trunks. Besides drawing in the trees, I also rubbed out some of the dark mass with medium to give the appearance of light coming through the trees. In the image you see me blending the sky color and softening the edges of the trunks and branches with a shop towel. I also added some gray tones to the path.


6. Begin foliage; harmonize colors: I then introduced the ochres and yellows, making this a fall scene. At this stage I was setting the overall pattern of foliage, taking the fall colors all the way to the ground, which established how much foliage I'd add and where I'd place it. This step also helped me determine where I would put the highlights and other tonal variations. Notice that I still let quite a bit of the blue sky show through. At this stage I also began adding browns to the trunks to make them more harmonious with the foliage.


7. Add values: Applying stroke after stroke, I increased the sense of depth with additional color values—two or three different shades of the ochres and golds and yellows. At this point, much of the sky had disappeared, although I was careful not to cover all the blue; we see the sky through the trees, no matter how dense they are. I also began the tree shadows.


8. Harmonize colors; soften edges: I continued to work with the foliage. I also made the ground color and trunks more harmonious with the colors of the forest and then blended the edges of the shadows, thus finishing Pathway (oil pastel, 20×23).


In the midst of his 30-plus-year career in industrial sales, George Shipperley and his wife, Lois, opened the Henrich Art Gallery and Custom Frame Shop in Aurora, Illinois, which they ran successfully for 34 years before closing the operation in 2011. Shipperley wasn't able to focus on his own art until he retired from sales in 1994. He's taken classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and studied under Ruth Van Sickle Ford and Marianne Grunwald-Scoggin. He's the first artist to have been awarded signature membership in the Oil Pastel Society; he is an award-winner in The Artist's Magazine's 2011 Annual Art Competition and 2014 Over 60 Art Competition. He's also a 2014 inductee into Illinois's Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame. Edgewood Orchard Galleries (Fish Creek, Wisconsin), Maggie Black gallery (Galena, Illinois), Proud Fox Gallery (Geneva, Illinois), and Artisan Gallery (Paoli, Wisconsin) represent his work. He also teaches classes and workshops. For more information, go to www.georgeshipperley.com, and be sure to order your copy of the July/August issue of The Artist's Magazine.


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