Friday, October 9, 2009

Cooley Lake Sunset, plein air


"Cooley Lake Sunset"
a plein air landscape
9" x 12"
Watercolor on cold press paper

Sunset at the lake is pure magic, even in winter. I worked from my car in the rapidly chilling air as I watched the resident Canada geese come in for the night, chatting companionably to one another. Cooley Lake is an old oxbow of the Missouri River, slowly succumbing to the inevitable eutrophication process of filling in with mud and decaying plant matter, becoming ever shallower. It is a Missouri Department of Conservation natural area, now, and open to the public, a lovely place to watch birds, butterflies, and other wildlife, and spend time with your sketchbook or paints.

I chose prismatic colors the capture the chilly winter light, and worked very fast--darkness comes so early in midwinter!

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Mini-Demo

Sometimes you don't want to take time for resists to protect the lightest areas in a painting; when the light is changing so rapidly it just was not an option, so I painted around the sun's path on the water, using a bit of drybrush work to enhance the illusion of the sparkle of light on water. A few "ripples" added with a darker gray-blue and a small round brush reinforced the feeling of the still water.



You can see the prismatic color, above--I used mostly yellow ochre, cobalt blue, permanent rose, and a touch of granulating manganese blue hue. I was careful to preserve believable lights in the distant pools, as well, painting in the shape of the land once the first washes were completely dry.



A small round brush used barely wet with color and just skimmed over the surface of the paper suggested the bare trees in the distance, while wet-in-wet worked to capture the warmer distant shore.


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This sketch will come to you unmatted and unframed for ease of shipping; I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.

$155



Saturday, September 5, 2009

And the winner is...

We did the drawing for the free CD in this posts just now, and #2 is the winner--that's Leslie Reid Brasher, congratulations, Leslie!

Thank you all for all the wonderful comments and visits...

I'll probably do a different one next time, so if you're TOO disappointed, you can click on the CD in the column at right. If you were one of the people who commented, I'll give you a 10% discount--the offer's good for the next week!

(And of course it's always available in my Cafe Press store, along with all the other CDs for artists...)

This was fun! And again, Leslie, congratulations! I've written you privately for your mailing address...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Autumn ACEOs

Three Autumn ACEOS
2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
watercolor on cold pressed archival paper

Take one or choose them all--they work together as a set, but each one will stand alone, as well. Of course I will be happy to combine shipping if you want the set!

Note: Silhouettes is SOLD...


"The Watcher" peers out from between the grass stems--wary, or simply curious?

"The Watcher"

$25



"Silhouettes" explores the grace and variety of grasses in late fall and winter.

"Silhouettes" (this one SOLD, and thank you!)




"Brother Crow" appears aloof, but come a step closer and he's OFF!

"Brother Crow"

$25
To purchase, click this link.
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I've been fascinated by the tiny paintings called ACEOs for several years, and because of their small size and affordability, have been able to own original paintings from several artists whose work I admire a great deal.

ATCs are artist trading cards, and that's how the phenomenon started out--but many people who were not artists wanted to collect these little jewels, too. So ACEOs were born--still the size of a playing card, but "artist cards, editions and originals" to meet this need. Some ACEOs are prints and some are still original, as are these.

People are collecting and displaying these tiny paintings in ingenious ways--framed and grouped together, piled in baskets, in scrapbooks--however they want!

I hope the idea allows you to own an original work of art--get your feet wet...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Three Winter Night ACEOs--SOLD



ORIGINAL
watercolor on gessoed paper
3.5 x 2.5 inches

That was fast! All three of these are going to a good home, to be displayed together. Thank you!

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I was experimenting with painting with watercolor on paper treated with gesso--it makes a beautifully malleable surface and creates effects not possible any other way. I've used a variation on this technique for decades--it's exciting, unpredictable, and allows a great deal of lifting and restating. I did a large painting with this technique for my latest book, and this little card-size painting just for the experience.

I had prepared two sheets of good watercolor paper by slathering it with gesso, with loose, random strokes to encourage a variety of textures, even patting it with my hand here and there while it was still wet. Once the gesso dried, I painted over both sheets with watercolor, which sits on the surface and makes wonderfully interesting textures. I used one sheet for the larger painting in the book, and found particularly interesting passages that would make good backgrounds for the ACEOs. I cut them to size, then painted the tiny landscapes on them, lifting where necessary and flooding in the cadmium orange on the one with the owl.

A great exercise for the imagination!

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I've been fascinated by these tiny paintings for several years, and because of their small size and affordability, have been able to own original paintings from several artists whose work I admire a great deal.

ATCs are artist trading cards, and that's how the phenomenon started out--but many people who were not artists wanted to collect these little jewels, too. So ACEOs were born--still the size of a playing card, but "artist cards, editions and originals" to meet this need. Some ACEOs are prints and some are still original, as is this one.

People are collecting and displaying these tiny paintings in ingenious ways--framed and grouped together, piled in baskets, in scrapbooks--however they want!

I hope the idea allows you to own an original work of art--get your feet wet...

And again, a huge thank you to my buyer, whose excitement and enthusiasm are contagious!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A NEW CD GIVEAWAY!

Hi all! This was so much fun and had such an amazing response last time, I decided to do it again! I'm offering another Watercolor Basics CD, FREE, to the lucky winner.

This time we'll draw from the first 50 people to post here! (Please be sure to include your name or some way to contact you privately if you win.)

Above is one of my favorite paintings on the CD--done on the spot at Rocky Hollow Park, but still with a variety of techniques you'll want to explore.


This CD is full of information, examples, paintings, and step-by-step demos in PDF form--you can print them out to read whenever or wherever you are!

There are also lots of exercises to familiarize you with basic techniques and skills, or let you brush up if you haven't painted for a while! Even old hands have told me they've picked up some new info.

There are 14 in-depth instructional PDFs on the CD, plus a mini-catalog, artist's bio, and more...


Below are three new examples of the art you'll see:






Watercolor Basics normally sells for $16.99 on my website catalog--feel free to click the link to learn more about it!

I'll have Joseph draw the winner's name next weekend, and ship it to you Priority Mail at the first of the next week.

Good luck, and hope you like it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Watkins Mill Sunday--plein air sketch



Detail, below...



"Watkins Mill Sunday"
9" x 12"

a plein air sketch
watercolor and Prismacolor pencil on cold pressed paper

I love painting quick, fresh washes over a colored pencil sketch!

I did this one as part of a series at Watkins Mill State Historic Park, on a hot summer day. We don't often see sailboats on the lake, so it was a real treat to watch this one skim silently over the water. I think the pale waves and simple reflections really suggest the heat of this particular summer--it was often in the 90s or low 100s when I'd finally give up painting and go back to the AC!

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This sketch will come to you double-matted but unframed for ease of shipping; I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.


$50




Cooley Lake House--originally in The Artist's Magazine


"Cooley Lake House"

9" x 12"
watercolor on cold pressed paper

Did you ever have one of those times when everything just went right--things fell into place, your tools behaved as you wanted them to, and the colors of the world just sang to you?

That's how I felt when I did this painting--it just worked, for me.

The beautiful, honest old farm house with its broad, inviting porch is no longer there--it was on a new Missouri Department of Conservation acquisition, Cooley Lake Wildlife Area, and it was considered to be an "attractive nuisance," liable to be a danger or a target to vandals. I'm glad I painted it and its old barn before it was gone.

This is on an old oxbow of the Missouri River, before the channel moved, perhaps in the 1953 flood; what a view that would have been from the house! We've been there many times to watch the herons, ducks, and thousands of snow and Canada geese. It's much quieter now, as eutrophication has filled in the lakes until they're quite shallow, but it's still a great place to paint.

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Mini-demo

While watercolor is still quite damp, you can use the handle of an aquarelle brush, a cut-up credit card, or your fingernail to push color out of the way to make lighter areas.

Here you can also see a bit of spatter, some wet in wet work and even a tiny bit of salt to make the texture of the rough grasses whispering in the wind...





A figure, carefully painted, suggests the quiet and isolation. I scratched a bit of detail in the upper edge of the grassy area, can you see it?



Drybrush work with varied greens made good foliage; I connected the leaf masses with fine, dark lines to show the trunks and branches.


This is a favorite place to paint; I've done dozens at the wildlife area.

Painting in a series or in a specific locale helps to ground us, and there's never a reason to be bored--nature is too varied and interesting!


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This painting will come to you matted but unframed for ease of shipping; it also allows me to keep costs down and make art available to more people!
I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.


$175




Saturday, August 8, 2009

And the winner is....

Thanks to all of you who entered the drawing for my tutorial CD, above! You may have seen it in THIS post and I really appreciated all of you who visited and threw your hats in the ring!

I assigned numbers as the requests came in, made little slips of paper with each number on it, shuffled them well and had Joseph draw the winner from HIS old Scots bonnet--

And the winner is..........Jesse/Joan, in Las Vegas! Congratulations! Joan (or Jesse?) you sent me your email address, so I'll write you there for your mailing address.

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I WILL be doing this again in the next few weeks, so keep watching this space...not sure if it will be the same CD or another one.

Someone asked if they could still get a CD if they didn't win, and of course you can! There's a link at right, or they're all on my CafePress shop, here: http://www.cafepress.com/cathy_johnson

Thanks, all, for the wonderful response!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stunned at the giveaway response!

I had no idea the response would be so overwhelming--I'm humbled and amazed!

Sooooo...I'll be doing this again in a few weeks, with this or another CD. So do check back and thank you SO much, all who have left comments.

Watch for the winner on Saturday!

A Watercolor Basics CD Give-away on my Blog!

This CD is just chock-full of information, examples, and step by step demos--lots of exercises to familiarize you with techniques and skills, or let you brush up if you haven't painted for a while!

There are 14 instructional PDFs on the CD, plus my bio, a mini-catalog, and more...

I just discovered I have a few extras of this CD, so I'm giving one away to the lucky name I draw from the first 30 people to post here! (Please include your name or some way to contact you privately.)

Below are three examples of the art you'll see:



Watercolor Basics normally sells for $16.99 on my website catalog--feel free to click the link to learn more about it!

I'll have an impartial party (oh, OK, Joseph!) draw the winner's name over the weekend, and ship it to you Priority Mail at the first of next week.

Good luck, and hope you like it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wren Sketch


"Wren Sketch"
4" x 6"
watercolor and ink on paper

This is a quick gesture sketch of a wren we saw near home, singing its bold little heart out! And sometimes ALL you have time for is a quick scribble, with a bit of color added later, from memory.

I found much more on the little wren--a Bewick's wren--in my bird books and online--and posted it in our Sketching in Nature blog, HERE.

If you love nature and enjoy learning about it, feel free to join us at Sketching in Nature--it's an international group blog of terrific artists, learning from the best teacher there is, Nature herself. It's here: http://naturesketchers.blogspot.com/

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Watch for our next mini-demo here, later in the week!

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This painting will come to you unmatted and unframed for ease of shipping; I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.


$20

SOLD, pending arrival of check

Friday, June 5, 2009

"Desert Storm"


"Desert Storm"

original watercolor pencil on paper
9" x 11 1/2"

I updated this post, since I rediscovered a demo I did for it! People seem to enjoy them, so I added two new detail shots and put the demo below. It seemed especially appropriate since I'm in the middle of teaching my online class--on watercolor pencil.

I've done several workshops for the Nevada Watercolor Society, and a field trip into the desert with my sister and brother-in-law brought me to this beautiful redrock outcropping with the storm lowering over it near Mt. Charleston. The colors of the high desert landscape were intensified by the storm...rich blue shadows in the still-snowy mountains, the burnt sienna of the redrock, and the gray-green of sage and other desert plants. I love the scent of the desert, and the coming of rain intensified that too--fresh, spicy, wonderful.I wish I could share that with you as well...

This is an original work, using the versatility of watercolor pencils , done on cold pressed paper. It was a challenge, but all painting worth doing IS...

This was originally in my North Light book, Watercolor Pencil Magic--it's one of my favorites--so I put it on my new CD, Watercolor Pencil Workshop...it's part of Lesson 3.

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MINI-DEMO

Here, you can see the progression from dry pencil on paper to the first washes--you can do the pencil work in the field and not worry about carrying water with you, if you like. They're lightweight and versatile...



The careful application of clear water softens and blends the pigment on the paper...I was careful not to blur the edges where colors touch,where I preferred a crisp edge. I let this dry before adding the foreground layers.



I DID want a soft edge to suggest clouds--you can see I kept the application of blue pencil much lighter in that area, then was careful to blend softly.



Scribbled marks worked well to suggest the desert scrub...dots here and there suggested smaller plants. They blended just enough...

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$125

Pay immediately via PayPal (button below) or contact me if you prefer to pay by check.

This painting will come to you unmatted and unframed for ease of shipping; I wrap with care and send via Priority Mail for most dependable shipping.





Thursday, June 4, 2009

"Window on the Past"--SOLD

"Window on the Past"
5" x 7"
original watercolor, marble dust and polymer medium
on archival cold-pressed paper
matted

(Click on the image to see it larger...)

There is something both inviting and mysterious about a window, particularly one that has looked out upon the world for so long. This is an adobe window in the American Southwest, set into the thick walls that help keep the intense desert heat at bay.

I did this small painting to explore some techniques for my upcoming revision of
my 20-year-old North Light book,
Watercolor Tricks & Techniques: 75 New and Classic Painting Secrets

I tried out some of the new texture mediums, and then decided it would be more challenging and interesting to invent my own--so I borrowed some marble dust from a friend who paints with pastels, and mixed it into matte polymer medium for a somewhat rough texture, then painted it onto the paper and allowed it to dry.

Rough strokes approximate the texture of my subject.

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MINI-DEMO

The polymer medium sits on the paper surface, and allowed me to lift color with a damp brush, blotting away the loosened watercolor easily as you see here on the edges of the window frame.




I lifted more color to suggest the glass in the broken window, then used an Exacto knife to scratch the sharp edge of the glass, below--I was delighted with the way this helped suggest the dark mystery beyond.



Here, I chose granulating paint--Ultramarine Blue--which settled unevenly into the marble dust-created texture. When all was dry, I scraped paint away from the surface here and there to show the weathered quality of the old building and used a bit of spatter to further add the sense of great age.



It is a very atmospheric little piece!

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Most of the paintings offered here are unframed, both to save on shipping charges and to allow you to suit your own taste and decor.

Doing so allows me to keep the prices down
and puts original art in the hands of more people!


$75


SOLD, thank you very much!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Changes...for the better!

Hi all...

I hope you like all the new changes on this blog...I wanted it cleaner and more open, and finally took time to resize the banner and simplify the sidebar information. I'll keep working on that for a bit till I get it where I want it, but I do hope it makes it easier to see the art and to navigate, as well!

I'd be delighted with your feedback on this, too...

Miss Lara and the Yatates-SOLD


"Lara and the Yatates"

8" x 10"
ink on Bristol vellum

Yatates are wonderful Japanese traveling paint kits--they have been in use for well over 400 years, and were part of a Samurai's basic equipment. Yatates come in many shapes and sizes--I have four in my collection, all thought to be Edo-era, 1603-1868. They are FUN to use in the field! Mine were all quite inexpensive, considering, and are made of brass and copper--virtually indestructible, though I DID panic when I left one of them in a restaurant in the next town! They had no idea what it was, but they kept it safe in the office till we could get back over and retrieve it.

There is ink-saturated cotton, silk or sponge in the bowl, and the hollow handle holds a brush for writing or drawing in the Sumi-e style.

Here's a photo of the same two yatates...lovely, aren't they?

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MINI-DEMO
detail from the ink painting above

It just seemed right somehow to use the Sumi-e brush and paint without preliminary drawing with pencil, as the Samurai might have done. I do find I tend to hold my breath a lot when I work that way, though!

Brushes of this sort often come to a lovely point so they are good for drawing, writing, or painting...I just paid close attention to shapes and relationships as I worked, using the tip of the brush for lines and details, and the body of it for Miss Lara and the soft gray shadows.


I diluted the ink with water for the halftone grays on the yatates, but left it full strength for our beautiful black cat, Lara. (She was named after the heroine in Dr. Zhivago, since she too was shot and thrown into a snowbank to die. My husband's daughter found her, rescued her and brought her back to health.)

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Most of the paintings offered here are unmatted and unframed, both to save on shipping charges and to allow you to suit your own taste and decor.

Doing so allows me to keep the prices down
and puts original art in the hands of more people!

$100

SOLD, and thank you so much!

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