Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Sketches

It's "Friday Sketches" time again, and this week I'm sharing a little cottage in the woods.  I've always had a dream of owning a tiny little getaway, somewhere surrounded by trees.  A place to just escape to with my family and do nothing but connect to nature...maybe one day!

This was done from a photo in my Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook.  It's uses watercolor and ink.  It's an expression of gratitude for the beautiful, peaceful, summer that I enjoyed with my children.  It's all memories now, but I'm grateful for them.

It's truly wonderful to see the diversity of creativity and work in progress. That you've been sharing as part of "Friday Sketches".  I love seeing what you're all up to.  If you'd like to share this week, please click the link below.

Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for checking in. xx

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Live Watercolor Classes

It's week five of my live studio workshop series, "Introduction To Watercolor". 

I love teaching live.  It's a great opportunity to connect with my students on a more personal level,
plus the interactions are dynamic and deeply rewarding.

This year I have joined the 'Instructor' team at the "Waterloo Center for the Arts" in Iowa,
and wow, what a beautiful facility. 

The visual arts studio is to die for, with two full walls of glass overlooking the Cedar River. 
What I wouldn't give for a permanent studio like that one.  But the next best thing is to be teaching in it.

The live classes are kept deliberately small, so the opportunity for interaction and connection
is wonderful.  It's amazing how, over the past few weeks, the participants have
gone from never picking up a paint-brush, to painting some extraordinary works.  

This week we're exploring blending and edging, and we'll be painting colored glass bottles.  

Starting November, I'll be teaching a new studio workshop called "Painting Watercolor Flowers",
so if you're in the Cedar Valley of Iowa, why don't you think about spending
an evening with me at the "Waterloo Center For The Arts"?  

Come spring time, I'll also be teaching some 1 and 2 day
masterclasses...stay tuned for all the info.

To see the current schedule of classes, and to sign up, please click here

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Quiet Autumn Day

Sometimes it's just so important to stop and enjoy those quiet moments.  Here in the mid-west, Autumn can put on quite a show, and this year seems to be more spectacular than ever.  By all reports, it will be heralding a rather cold winter, so in anticipation of that, we are capturing the sunny days as much as possible before we all go into hibernation.

My little family and I enjoy some lovely gentle autumn rituals not the least of these is making the most of the falling leaves, cooking pumpkin soup (that's my Aussie heritage), Saturday morning waffles, Sunday drives, and long afternoon walks through the golden forests.   

The weather on Sunday was one of those gorgeous, crisp, autumn days that simply had to be treasured, here are some images of our quiet autumn day yesterday.

Thomas took his sisters lead and found joy in kicking and jumping in the piles of leaves that Jay was trying to rake.

Pumpkin carving, although something new to an Aussie, was joyful fun this year.  It seems that Thomas is beginning to develop more of an awareness of what is going on around him and he was quite fascinated with the faces we made.  He played with them for hours.

Discovering our autumn garden has been as exciting as it was during spring and summer.  Garden's are so important to me and when we bought this house in February, we had no ideas the garden was going to be so glorious.  The established trees are no exception.

Megan is one of those kids who finds joy in everything, and I mean everything. Playing in the leaf piles was no exception.

Make the most of all those quiet moments, and thanks for stopping by. xx

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Sketches

Welcome to Friday, and Friday Sketches.  I hope you've had a great week. It's been another busy one for me, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I'll be up for air, so to speak soon.

I've had very little time for free sketching this week, so I thought I'd share this little scribble of some daisies I did some time ago.  I'm waving good bye to the last of the flowers in my garden and gearing myself up for the coming winter.

What have you been doing in your sketchbook or art journal.  Please share by clicking the link below, and remember to leave a link back here in your blog post.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for checking in. xx

(Linking to PPF & AJED)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Autumn Splendor

Welcome to a new week.  I hope you had a fabulous weekend.  I took a little break from my deadlines and classes this weekend to get my hands dirty with paint.  It has been a lovely weekend, thick with the smell of autumn leaves, soup simmering on the stove top, and the crisp blue autumn sky.  Everywhere I turn is another picture postcard autumn scene that is begging to be painted.  But it will all have to wait.   

As I was working away at my computer, my daughter came in with a glorious bunch of autumn leaves from our maple tree.  What a delightful gift, and as she handed them to me she said "Mum, you have to paint these." Sadly I didn't have time to paint them all, so she chose just one for me to scribble.

I forget how desperately I need to just sit at my drawing table and paint, especially when I've been up to my eyeballs in deadlines.  But letting loose and just making a quick watercolor sketch in my journal is so energizing.

I have so much going on right now, it's head-spinning, but totally uplifting as well.  Sometimes I just want to switch off all the technology and loose myself in the unconstrained creative process completely. I get very stale when I am not painting regularly, and I find myself yearning to become the student again.

I'm also feeling at a bit of a crossroad with my art lately, and knowing I need to make some decisions about what direction I am going in.  When my current class commitments are met, I'll be taking some time out from teaching and focusing on my illustration work.  I have several opportunities to move in different direction, and I need to decide what I'm going to take a chance on.  

It's tough, stepping into the unknown, especially in the world of illustration, but I know some of these opportunities will help me become a better artist.  I guess I'll see what the future holds, but for now, I'm going to focus on my blog and try to sharpen my own creative skills.  Look for me in some of the awesome online classes that are around right's my turn to just play amongst you all.

Enjoy your week, and thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Sketches

Welcome to Friday Sketches.  This is my weekly random sketch that I like to share, and if you feel so included, then you too can share what you've been creating this week.

As next week is my husbands milestone birthday, I thought I'd share a sketch I did from his birthday last year.  We were in Australia, and to celebrate his birthday we took a trip along the "Great Ocean Road" in Victoria to the "Twelve Apostles".

The "Twelve Apostles" is a collection of massive limestone stacks off the cliffs of the Port Campbell National Park, by the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.  It's majestic and awe-inspiring, and I actually stood on the bridge between the cliff-line and one of the stacks to sketch this. It's done in watercolor, watercolor pencil, and ink.

What have you been creating this week?  Please share your Friday Sketches by clicking the link below. And remember to put a link back here in your blog post so you readers know where to find you.

Thanks for checking in. xx

(Linking to PPF & AJED)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Glittering Fuchsia

This week I've been immersed in my "Watercolor Pencils" online class and haven't had a lot of time for blogging.  I've also been busy teaching live classes at the "Waterloo Center For The Arts" in Waterloo Iowa.  But as things on the class front begin to settle down I am beginning to turn my mind to the backlog of projects and deadlines that have been piling up in my studio.

Several of these projects involve reviewing a number of new products that I have been asked to take a look at.  Several of them are new to me and I can't wait to show them to you over the coming weeks.

But, it's no secret that I love what was "Luminarte" products, and with my focus on watercolor pencils lately I haven't had as much playtime with these beautiful jewels that I would like. Luminarte have changed their brand name to "ColourArte", but their flagship products have remained unchanged.  

Twinkling h2O's and Silks Acrylic Glaze are still as exquisite as always.  In fact, they have just released several new colors in Silks and some wonderful color packs in the Twinkling h2O's.  I haven't had a chance to really get my head around the new Silks colors, but I did manage to have a little play with.

This fun page was done quickly in my Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook.  It is a mix of Matte Acrylics, Watercolor Pencil, and Silks Acrylic Glaze combined with different acrylic mediums.  Just have a look at how the page littering shimmers with its own light source and the texture pops off the page.  That is the Silks over the acrylic and mediums, and when you look at it from different perspectives, the page seems to dance with light and color.

But the most amazing find is that "Epsilon" Sketchbook took layer after layer of paint and medium, without any problems at all.  It's amazing because the Epsilon in only 100lb and designed for pen, ink, and light washes.  I think it's testimony to the quality of the paper and the the quality of the sizing.

Anyway, we've been painting Fuchsia's in my watercolor pencils class, one of my favorite flowers, so I thought I'd show you this simplified rendering of a fuchsia I did using all these products. 

Keep an eye out for more product reviews coming up, I've got some fun stuff to show you.  

I hope you're having a great week, and thanks for stopping by. xx

Friday, October 3, 2014

Friday Sketches

Welcome to Friday Sketches.  This is your opportunity to share what you have have been doing in your sketchbook this week.

As I've been a little busy with my "Watercolor Pencils" online class, I thought I'd share a quick and simple sketch I did of some delicious Raspberry Bran Muffins that my 8yo daughter and I happy baked together.  I guess my ramblings here are about spending joyful time with both my children and the struggles of juggling the necessities of life and the desires.

This sketch was done in a Stillman & Birn "Epsilon" Series Sketchbook using watercolor and ink.

What have you been sketching this week?  Please share your Friday Sketches by clicking the link below. And please put a link back here in your post so people know where to find us.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for checking in. xx 

(Linking to AJED & PPF)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Watercolor Pencil - Some Student Work

A snapshot from the final project of Lesson 1 of "Watercolor Pencils" online class.

"Watercolor Pencils" online workshop is underway and I am so amazed at the courage and enthusiasm of so many of the participants taking this class that I just had to share some of their work from the first lesson's project.

In Week 1, we cover a lot of ground getting to know how watercolor pencils work, and examining such areas as work area set-up, basic technique, and color mixing with pencils.  There is a lot to absorb, and by the end of the lesson students use what they have learned to render a painting of a hot air balloon.

Many of these students are total beginners to art in any form, and some have explored creative pursuits, but may have never used watercolor pencils before. So the experience is something different for everyone. But the part that I love the most about this process is seeing people completely amazed at the work they find they are capable of producing. Their astonishment in being able to paint something they never dreamed they could do is the ultimate for me. 

Learning a new medium is a challenge and sadly in this day and age so many people are looking for that quick fix when it comes to art.  They expect to sign up for a class and be able to paint extraordinary work within the first week. 

So I spend a lot of time in all my classes teaching people to slow down, to explore the technique first and then apply it to painting in ways that are cohesive with their own skill level and style. Some people resist this process, they would prefer to rush through without spending the time refining their skills, they expect to be spoon-fed every element of the creative process without learning to make decisions for themselves, they expect to be able to paint like a master without doing the work.  Yet others become slave to their fears of not being able to do something, they worry what people will think or they convince themselves that they are not capable...they are wrong.  Everyone is capable, everyone has artistic skill, it just needs to be unlocked.

And for those who slow down, open themselves to the learning journey, overcome their unfounded fears, and methodically work through the processes and techniques presented, their excitement and amazement at what they find themselves capable of producing is profoundly both me and to them!

There are hundreds of participants taking the "Watercolor Pencils" journey, from all walks of life, with all types of skills and expectations. So I wanted to share just a handful of some of the extraordinary work that they are producing from our first weeks project.

"Hot Air Balloon" by Andrea

"Hot Air Balloon" by Catherine

"Hot Air Balloon" by Diana

"Hot Air Balloon" - by Donna

"Hot Air Balloon" by Janet

"Hot Air Balloon" by Kathleen

"Hot Air Balloon" by Kristeen

"Hot Air Balloon" by Maria

"Hot Air Balloon" by Poornima

"Hot Air Balloon" by Puneet

This is just a snipped of the work being produced and I am so excited.  Please show your gratitude to these courageous creative beings and leave them an encouraging comment.  If you'd like to join in this extraordinary journey, there is still time.  

Copyright on all these images in held by the original artists and they reserve all rights.

Thank you for stopping by. xx

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Sketches

Welcome to Friday Sketches.  This is a weekly blog event where you get the chance to showcase what you've been sketching this week.  It's open to anyone and you are welcome to share not only your sketchbook or art journal, but whatever you've been creating.

This week, I'm sharing a page I did in my sketchbook a few weeks ago. It celebrates "The Jewels of Autumn" which are dropping from the trees around me in abundance.

It's done in acrylic and watercolor pencil in a Stillman & Birn "Zeta" Series Sketchbook.

If you'd like to share your Friday Sketches, click the link below and enter your blog post URL (not your general blog URL), or you can enter a link to your Flickr or Facebook photo file.  Then select and image from you post to share here.

Make sure you put a link back to Friday Sketches in your post or your photo comment.

Please take the time to visit other participants of Friday Sketches and leave them a comment letting then know you appreciate their work.

If you like to see what was shared last week, please click here.

Happy Friday and thanks for sharing.  Hugs xx

(Linking to PPF & AJED)