Friday, July 31, 2015

Summer Sketching: Rambling Garden

Quick sketching, although never as aesthetically pleasing as more considered sketching, is still vitally important to maintaining your habit and sharpening your observation skills.  This quick summer sketch was of the first lily to appear in my rose garden.  I just loved the contrast between the deep rich roses and the riotous, vibrant lily. I think it took me only 20 mins to capture this moment, but it was worth it.

This is watercolor in my Stillman & Birn "Alpha" Sketchbook.  And guess what...I've had a sneak peek of something new and exciting coming soon from Stillman & Birn.  I can't say anything yet, but stay tuned.

And don't forget, in celebration of my upcoming 50th birthday, the Mastering Twinks Online Classes (Part 1 & Part 2) are on sale for a very special combined price until August 24th.

For more information, click here.

Thanks for dropping by. xx

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Sketching: Chocolate Factory

Not every day offers opportunity for summer sketching.  There have been days when the either with weather has not cooperated or there is too much going on.  It's on these days that I find photos and use the opportunity to practice.

Architecture and perspective are not my strength.  I struggle drawing straight lines so I look for simple perspective images that are a little forgiving.  Like this inaccurate and incomplete sketch of the Ghirardelli factory in Europe.  If you know the factory, then you will see that this is inaccurate.  But it was fun nonetheless.

This is watercolor and ink in a Stillman & Birn "Alpha" sketchbook.

Have a wonderful day. xx

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Sketching: Rail Bridge

Iowa is a remarkable place!  Misunderstood and underestimated, like fine wine, she is an acquired taste.  I think the reputation of her winters dominates people understanding of Iowa, and that brutal reputation is well-deserved.  However, Iowa truly shines in the warmer months.

When I first came here more than 10 years ago I was rendered speechless by the intense, almost blinding green of the summer months.  But it is the evening twilight that is the hidden secret.  Still warm air that is literally glittering with the twinkle of lighten-bugs.  I stupidly thought for most of my life that a fire-fly was a mystical creature, much like unicorns.  Then one night I saw them for the first time and was simply gobsmacked by their beauty.  I can only say that they have to be seen to be believed.

Iowa also contains perhaps the cream of American's storybook scenes and beautiful bridges, (Think, "The Bridges of Madison County" and "Field of Dreams", yep, both Iowa).  Cedar Falls is no different.  The Cedar River runs right through the center of town and the many bridges that connect it's north shore to the south are begging for sketching.  This little sketch was done from behind the Ice House Museum, looking east toward the rail bridge,just below the weir. It is watercolor, watercolor pencil and white ink.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Friday, July 24, 2015

Summer Sketching: Sweet Rose

If you've been following my blog for a while, then you'll no doubt know that I love to paint flowers.  In fact, they are my favorite subject to paint.  I often have to force myself to explore other subjects, just to broaden my skills and perspective, but I always come back to flowers.  And of all the flowers in the world, roses are my favorite.  Their complex form and beauty is breathtaking.  This little beauty bloomed beside my bird-bath in late June.  It was intense red-ish, orange-ish, pink-ish, almost glowing against the deep green leaves.

The roses in my garden have been extraordinary this year and I have many photos of them that will sustain my need for floral painting right through the brutal winter.  This was done in watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Don't forget, in celebration of my upcoming 50th birthday, the Mastering Twinks Online Classes (Part 1 & Part 2) are on sale for a very special combined price until August 24th.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Sketching: Rocky Outcrop

Yesterday in my "Watercolor Sketchbook" class we sketched and painted natural surfaces, with particular emphasis on rocks.  Rocks are remarkably forgiving in a sketchbook ad can make a scene very interesting when they are included.  This is one of the views of the ponds in the Cedar River Exchange Park where my class is being held.  I've had such a joyful time this summer, getting out and about and just sketching the moments and scenes I find myself in.  I guess that is the essence of keeping a watercolor sketchbook, or an artist's journal.

In just a few short weeks my family and I are heading off on a camping adventure.  We're going to make our way out the the Pacific Northwest where my daughter was born.  We'll be stopping at lots of wonderful national parks along the way, including "Mt Rushmore", "Devil's Tower", and "Yellowstone".  I am over the moon excited about sketching some of these places and adding to my legacy of illustrated and treasured memories.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Sketching: Goose Feather

The woodlands and parks around Cedar Falls/Waterloo in Iowa are a blaze with wildlife.  Particularly the Canada Geese who seem to stay for most of the year.  They are beautiful creatures, large and silky.  Right now there is an abundance of adolescent goslings bounding around and any of the views along the Cedar River contain a sweet little goose family meandering along with the current.

Sketching them is never easy, they simply won't sit still.  But this week in my "Watercolor Sketchbook" class we'll be attempting to sketch and paint them.  But for now, I'm settling for sketching the gorgeous feathers which are everywhere.  The downside to a gaggle of geese is the copious amounts of droppings, which makes for sitting in the grass rather difficult.  This feather was done in watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Sketching: A Pool for the Pixies

Earlier in the summer we had a lot of rain, and one morning I wandered out into my garden, tea cup in hand and no shoes to be found.  I often do this in the early morning before everyone stirs.  Well, this particular morning I was amazed to see this huge and fabulous mushrooms sprouting up on the front lawn.  Their cups were upturned and each of them was filled with rainwater.  It looked so amazing, I swear if I didn't know better there would have been pixies running around having a pool party.  After I sketched one I tried to find out what type of mushroom it was, but for the life of me I couldn't find anything like it.  If you know what type of mushroom it is, please let me know. This sketch was done mostly in watercolor pencil with a splash of paint.

Don't forget that the Mastering Twinks Classes (Part 1 & Part 2) are on sale for a very special combined price until August 24th.

Enjoy your day and thanks for stopping by. xx

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Sketching: Pond & Pier

This week in my "Watercolor Sketchbook" class we painted water and trees.  The park that sits behind the boat-shed where we meet is truly gorgeous.  It sits along the Cedar River but also has several ponds.  So in preparation I thought I would share some of my practice done from some reference photos I found on the Internet.

Water is very unpredictable and leaves itself wide open for interpretation.  It's mood is determined by the sky above and the strength of the breeze.  Capturing the mood in water is always fun and much like humans, it's never what it seems.  This sketch is watercolor, watercolor pencil, and ink.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mastering Twinks Part 1 & 2 - Special 50th Birthday Price For A Short Time Only!

Several years ago I created a beautiful online class called Mastering Twinking h2O's

Twinkling h2O's are mica and crystal infused pots of watercolor made by ColourArte.  They are simply sublime and have been a major part of my art process for a long time now. 

Due to the huge popularity of this first class I went on to create a follow up class, Mastering Twinkling h2O's Part 2.

Part 1 is a glittering, shimmering discovery into the world of luminescent watercolors. The class consists of 5 jam-packed lessons that teaches you all about these beautiful paints, along with technique, pdf downloads, projects, exercises, and loads of high quality video. 

Part 2 takes your twinkling journey to whole new level .  In this beautiful 5 lesson class we explore a myriad of ways to get the most from Twinkling H2O's on different surfaces, with mixed media, and by expanding your watercolor skills.  

Both of these classes combined form the ultimate journey into luminescent watercolor technique and expression.  These classes will also help ramp up your skill through the many drawing lessons peppered throughout.

So, because I'm turning 50 next month I thought I'd share the celebration by offering these two extraordinary classes together at the drastically reduced price. 

For a limited time only you can purchase a "Ultimate Twinkling h2O Class Package" for only $165 for both!  Normally they are $135 each, but until my birthday on August 24th you can get both classes combined for only $165.

Plus, you get indefinite and ongoing access to the classes and all the materials. This means you can take your time, and come and go as often as you like, even redo the lessons and projects over and over again. Each lesson is jam-packed full of learning so there is no pressure to complete the classes within any prescribed time frame.  

And to top it all off, all registered participants get a ColourArte 15% Off Coupon when they register. This coupon can be used to buy ANY ColourArte products when used directly through the ColourArte website.  Perfect if you're new to Twinkling h2O's, because you can use your coupon to purchase any of the Dion Dior Twinkling H2O Color Packs put together especially for these classes. 

Over the years these classes have helped hundreds of artists find their inner sparkle, now it's your turn.  

This offer is only available until August 24th 2015.

To Register for this one time special offer, click the Buy Now button below.

Mastering Twinks Ultimate Class Collection

Thanks for stopping by xx

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Sketching: Sprigs of Beauty

I have this wonderful set of friends who are all nature lovers.  Once a week we meet up on a Thursday evening and ride our bikes along the many miles of recreation trails in the Cedar Valley area.  It's ladies only--gentlemen by invitation--definitely no children!

Iowa has seen a very wet and humid summer so far and I have been amazed by the beauty of the nature foliage and wild flowers.  So I went out on the trail early and sketched this little beauty.  I also snapped some pics of this gorgeous plant.  The flowers were a little pinker than what I painted here, but I did this one some weeks ago when they were just appearing.  I did it very quickly because I wanted to capture them in the little time I had available.  Perhaps I'll use my photos as reference for a larger work one day.  Who knows?

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer Sketching: UNI Campus

As many of you know I have an Autistic son.  He's joyful, fun, and filled with love, but that doesn't mean as his primary carer he and I don't need a break from each other occasionally.  I have a lovely person who comes and spends time with him every now and again, and for that I am very grateful.  Thomas is high energy and needs a lot of love and focus, so it's important for me to take time out to spend with my 9yo daughter.

Over the summer months, Megan and I load up our bikes with sketching supplies and head out into the beautiful Cedar Falls area.  The University of Northern Iowa is a favorite sketching location of ours and we spend many joyful hours in each others company capturing the beauty of the campus gardens.  This sketch is the western corner of one of the many green-houses littered around the campus.  We liked the spot where we sat, so we sketched whatever was in our range of view.  It was a beautiful day, although a little breezy and that made for fast drying paint and fluttering pages...all part of the experience.

I try to do a lot of fun stuff with both my kids, but the quiet moments Megan and I share, sitting on little stools, sketching and painting our world is by far the most joyful.  We chat about amazing subjects and I am forever fascinated at the workings of her mind...or we sit in utter silence, with no need to interrupt the music of nature.  In-situ nature sketching is an experience not to be missed, so I encourage you to grab a sketchbook and get outside.

Thanks for stopping by. xx

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Sketching: Bleeding Hearts

Today I am sharing another of my spring sketches.  The first plant to bloom in our spring garden is always the "Bleeding Heart".  It is truly one of natures wonders as the little sacks inside each bloom are transparent and when caught by just the right light, glitter as if they are filled with diamonds.  They are one of my favorites and our bush seemed to bloom well into summer.  The late summer blooms will be showing themselves soon and it's always a great time for sketching.

Enjoy your day.  Hugs xx

Friday, July 3, 2015

Summer Sketching: Amethyst Beauty

On Mother's Day this year my children gave me this beautiful Clematis.  It's called "Amethyst Beauty", and it lives up to it's name, that's for sure.  We planted it by a fence where it can climb happily, but I fear it may be getting too much sun.  As the summer moves on, it seems to be wilting more and more.  Hopefully it will perk up next spring.  This page was done in watercolor and watercolor pencil.

Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for stopping by. xx

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Sketching: Always Pears

Welcome to July!

When I teach technique classes I usually always include a pear of some kind.  The reason for this is that pears are not only glorious subjects to paint, but they are easy and always work.  Students gain enormous confidence when they tackle a pear in the early part of their classes.  I particularly love painting pears on the branch and have many sketchbook pages filled with all kinds of them.  This was a quick, splashy rendering I did in one of my spring classes.  It's watercolor and ink.  Sometimes, the quick splashy pages are the most fun.

Thanks for stopping by. xx