One of the ways I’ve been tolerating the COVID quarantine is by hanging out in my garden. I love all the colorful flowers that pop up in the spring and summer. I thought I’d try my hand at painting them in watercolor but with a twist. Instead, I grabbed my iPad Pro and Apple pencil and taught myself to sketch and paint them using the app Procreate.
Digital Watercolor Flower Paintings
I started with some California poppies. I grew up in California, and they have always been a favorite of mine. Their happy orange faces make me smile. I was disappointed that the digital watercolor brushes that came with Procreate didn’t give me very realistic watercolor edges and blending.
So I did some research and found a fantastic set of digital brushes, The Watercolor MaxPack (for Procreate) by Max Ulichney. He’s a genius. I’ve posted a sample of a few of the marks I can make with this set ($25 at GumRoad.com). I’m especially impressed with the watercolor bloom and the waxy colored pencil.
The iris watercolor painting was next. This painting was better but still didn’t look like an actual watercolor. My final picture was the leaves, and I can see even more progress.
I look forward to painting some more botanical ink & watercolor sketches with Procreate. If you have an iPad, you should give it a try. Procreate is only $9.99 for a one time purchase. They even have a Procreate Pocket version for your iPhone for $4.99.
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How does isolation affect artists and influence their art? Does it cause stagnation or new works of imagination? Jorge Posada, the curator of the Drawing in a Time of Social Distancing exhibition, sought to answer these questions. “What a line can become is amazing! As a delicate traverse of space, as the delineating edge of form, or as a gathering of energy to shape a visual metaphor, in the hands of an artist, it becomes mesmerizing,” states Jorge.
One hundred thirty-six artists have put their hands to create these lines. View the new online exhibition hosted by Long Island City Artists on their website, www.licartists.org, from June 12 – August 12, 2020.
A wide variety of approaches to the discipline of drawing are displayed, separated into three basic categories, traditional, non-traditional, and interior/exterior. My ink and watercolor sketch, Irises, is displayed in the traditional category area.
Not to worry. You can take these gallery tours from your couch. Many venues are putting up online shows free to the public to enjoy. I currently have work in the following two online art exhibitions.
National Collage Society’s 23rd Annual Small Format Exhibition
This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the National Collage Society Small Format Exhibit. This Postcard Exhibit is an invitational exhibition comprised of small format 4″ x 6″ postcard-sized collages. The Society defines collage is any artwork created with another layer glued onto the surface.
Long Island City Artists’ Spring National Collage Exhibition
One hundred eight of our artists are represented here, in LiC-A’s first online Members’ Exhibition. Our regular exhibition venues, including the Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City, are shut down temporarily due to the current health situation. So we are using our website to provide a public space in which both artists and visitors can share in the appreciation of these incredibly exceptional and diverse talents of Queens artists.
It’s weird how some paintings come into being. The artwork below is one such painting. It came about through three unrelated experiments into a single, colorful work of art.
One: I offload my leftover paints onto sheets of paper instead of throwing them out. Sometimes, I can use these paints in my collage work. This particular paper was a total mess, and I couldn’t think of any way to use it.
Two: I needed to do a transfer test to judge paper translucency. I used this messy paper for the background paper. Now it was doubly a mess.
Three: I’ve wanted to experiment with cold-wax medium. It’s different from encaustic wax, which must be used in a melted form, as it stays usable at room temperature. I needed an acrylic background to experiment on, so I grabbed this paper again.
After using masking tape to create a grid pattern, I filled in every other square with white tinted CWM. Next, I practiced removing and drawing into it. Suddenly, from all the chaos I saw order and interest. I’m as surprised as you are!
Moral of the story: Don’t throw away your failed paintings and experiments. You might find the perfect use for them one day!
I am writing to check-in and see how everyone is faring in their remote corners of the globe, and hoping that you are safe and well.
I’m currently sheltering in Florida with my hubby, where I’m fortunate to be able to walk and bike outside. I fill my days with art-making, cooking, reading, and enjoying game nights with friends and family (via Zoom).
As the situation has me unable to truly focus, I’m making a little bit of everything. In my studio, I have half-finished oil paintings, acrylic doodles, watercolor sketches, and cold-wax experiments. While they patiently wait for me to get back to them, I am happy to share at least one completed effort here.
There is a lot of disparity of quarantine experiences across the world, and I am genuinely grateful that we are one of the lucky families in these uncertain times. Those of you are doing essential services, you are the true heroes. You have not gone unnoticed, and we cannot thank you enough for your courage and commitment to others. Thank you.
Though I sell the majority of the artwork I create, there are some paintings that I don’t want to part with. I save these works into my private collection. They are all special to me in different ways. Some I loved so much they became works that hung in my own home. Others were the best examples of specific periods in my art practice. The remainder were transitional paintings that moved me into new styles & subjects.
As time has passed and my collection has grown, I felt it was time to pass some of these artworks on others to enjoy in their own homes. I’m offering 28 paintings from my private collection for purchase for ten days only, from Sept. 21-30. The works can see can be seen on my website in the Private Collection Portfolio (link below.) Don’t delay.
This spring, I used my iPad, and the app Procreate to develop some painting ideas for a commissioned beach-themed artwork. Painting digitally is helpful because you can work with the client to try out different ideas without actually applying paint to canvas. You can easily go back and remove the changes with just a click of a button. In this sketch, using the client’s comments, I lightened and softened the large areas on the right. Then I add more tan and reduced the darker areas. I thought you might like to see how the final painting turned out. To the left is the revised digital sketch.
The final painting “Nantucket Summer” is now happily hanging in my client’s home on Nantucket Island.
Summer is here, and I’ve relocated to Colorado for the season. The mountains with their wildflowers and quaking aspens have a charm that fills my soul and calls to my heart. Do you have a special summer place you get to visit to recharge your spirit? The beach, a lake, or even a favorite shady bench in a neighborhood park?
My goals for this summer are to:
Start a new cold wax artwork series
Straighten out my golf drive
Sit on my deck and enjoy the beauty around me
What are your plans for the summer? I hope they involve some time out in nature too. Sending you my warmest wishes for a magical summer season.
P.S. Want a little Colorado landscape magic in your home? The painting Colorado Splendor captures a perfect September moment when the aspens are at their peak and the first snows have covered the distance mountains. Email me (email@example.com) if interested.
While walking through Chelsea on an art tour, I got to meet one of Englands’ leading portrait painters, Nick Bashall. This meeting led to the exciting opportunity to watch this London portrait painter do a live demo.
Chelsea was renowned as the epicenter of Swinging London in the 1960-70s and was home to artists, musicians, and models. Though today it’s a more sedate upscale neighborhood, we were lucky enough to find one artist that still calls Chelsea home. Nick Bashall, a talented portrait painter who has painted British royalty graciously offered to do a head-sketch of my husband during our visit.
It was magical how he transformed paint into living flesh right before our eyes (my hubby also got to watch through a well-positioned mirror.) Nick talked about how important it was to paint from life instead of photographs to capture the essence of a subject truly. The shiny areas in the photo are because the oil paint was still very wet. Nicky’s finished sketch on the left.
Portrait Painted by Colorado artist, Kathy Ferguson
While getting my MFA, I took several figurative and portrait drawing classes. I always worked from photographs as I couldn’t coerce others to sit for me for hours at a time. Watching him work while we watched makes me even more impressed with his talent. If you ever get the chance, I’d highly recommend getting a portrait painted by Nick Bashall.
I created this earlier portrait painting of my husband around 2009. He still doesn’t think he ever looked like this, which is one reason I stopped doing portraits. The model always thinks they look younger, thinner, or less wrinkled. I couldn’t take the pressure to create the likeness they saw in their heads.
How does my student work compare to a famous London portrait painter? My husband is still a handsome devil ten years later, isn’t he? Or should we call him a silver fox now?
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