Category: Creativity

How to have a relaxing holiday

Want to relax this holiday season? Then consider getting your holiday shopping finished early. The Plaxall Gallery in Long Island City, NY is hosting an “Off the Wall Holiday Art Fair” from Nov. 7 – Jan. 12. Hundreds of affordable artworks available from both emerging and established artists. Pick something up for your family and friends, or perhaps as a treat for yourself.

Visit www.licarts.org, for more info on fair hours and location. Pictured here are four new 5″ x 7″ paintings that I have on view at the show.

Developing final art from a digital sketch

landscape water iPad procreateThis 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.

 

Have you ever wanted to be on the cover of a magazine?

Wild Apple Wall Decor

Honestly? No.

However, I was thrilled to have my artwork featured on the cover of Wild Apple’s Art Decor February 2019 Issue.  Wild Apple Graphics is a B2B art publisher and art licensor working with manufacturers, retailers, and designers of decorative home products and wall decor.

It’s so fun to see my artwork in a home setting. These two original paintings are still available if you’re interested. See them in detail on my website.

Hyper-Lapse sketch of leafy twig (1 minute long)

Time-lapse sketch using traveling sketch kit

In a previous blog post, I wrote about putting together a travel sketching kit.  Here, you can see me putting my travel kit into action.  So as not to make the video too long, I sketched the twig before the video started and compressed it into a hyper-lapse format.  Watch me use colored pencils as paint with the use of a water brush.  Click on photo to start the video.

Why I sketch while traveling and why you should too

Travel art supplies

Travel sketching is fun to do while on vacation. While I don’t consider myself an advanced sketcher, my sketches have a way to bring back vivid memories of my trip, much more so than photographs (which I take lots of too 🙂  Sketching requires me to be wholly present while I explore and record my new experiences.

After much trial and error, I’m happy to say that I’ve finally figured out which sketching supplies to pack, and how surprisingly few I need. Take a look at what’s in my art travel bag.

  • Spiral-bound watercolor journal. Use one with 140 lb. paper so it’s heavy enough that it doesn’t bleed through and can take water without warping.  You can even turn your sketches into postcards to mail to your friends. (Don’t forget to pack stamps)
  • Mechanical pencil for the preliminary sketch. It never needs sharpening so I can eliminate bringing a sharpener.
  • Knead eraser.  I erase my pencil marks after I’ve drawn over them with ink.
  • Waterproof black pen (it won’t bleed when wet). I like the Staedtler permanent Lumnocolor fine size.
  • Water-soluble colored pencils.  Mine are Prismacolor, but Caran D’Aches are great too.
  • Waterbrush. Derwent #2 (brush and water all in one so I never need a water source either).
  • Small bag to hold it all.

That’s is.  In the past, I would bring watercolor paints, a small water container, paper towels, multiple paintbrushes, and more. I’ve found water-soluble color pencils to be a simpler solution.  I can layer them to create a wide variety of colors just like mixing paint.

So grab a sketchbook and some supplies, get out there, and have fun! Remember, your sketches don’t have to be perfect; it’s the act of sketching that’s important. It’s calming and lets you connect with the unique and beautiful things in this world. Focus on what moves you, and draw to remember it.

I encourage you to tuck a sketchpad in your suitcase when you’re packing for your next trip and see what pleasure it might bring for you.

Using an iPad to create painting studies

landscape water iPad procreate

Figuring out exactly what type of painting a commission client wants is harder than you might think.  I start with having them review my past work and telling me which elements appeal to them.  Then I ask about size, color palette, mood, and more.  

I’m just starting a new commission and I thought it would be fun to share the process.  The client wants the painting for her bedroom in Nantucket.  She likes my “wonky circles”, the botanical elements, and the texture of layering paint and collage elements in my other paintings.  She needs a  30″ x 40″ canvas and is thinking of something with the ocean.  Her color palette is blue, tan, cream, and orange.

I decided to paint some sample ideas to narrow down her preferences even more.  I was traveling last week so I couldn’t whip out paints and canvas on the airplane.  Instead, I tried out the painting app Procreate on my iPad.  Here are three ideas I presented to her.

 

Study One – A soothing, soft painting to enhance the calmness desired in a bedroom.  The painting loosely hints at plants living both under and along the shoreline of the ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

Study Two – A more graphic style with the energy of the crashing waves streaming through the tide pools

 

 

 

 

 

 

Study Three- A more abstract image with lots of layers of collage-paper and paint.  It’s an underwater scene of a reef that teems with life.  The surging currents sweep the elements back and forth with the tides. 

What’s your favorite study and why?  Next steps…to talk more about what she likes, changes to make, additions or subtractions, color tweaks, and more.  Stay tuned!

The Year of the Pig

Pig paintings
The Year of the Pig

If you follow the lunar New Year, you know that 2019 is the Year of the Pig. The Flushing Town Hall (Flushing, NY) is hosting a really fun exhibition, the Red Envelope Show, that opened last night. This exhibition is an homage to the red celebration envelopes the Chinese community distributes during the Lunar New Year. As this is the Year of the Pig, I painted some cute portraits of pigs just peeking up from the bottom of six envelopes. There are almost 1,000 envelopes on display (and for sale) illustrated by myself, other professional artists, and local school children. Many envelopes (including mine) include a special gift inside the envelope for only the buyer to see. Don’t wait to see the show as it closes on Jan. 27. A special thank you to Bert Chau of @grumpybert who curated the exhibition. ⠀#redenvelopeshow

Opening Reception: SAT, JAN 5, 5-7 PM⠀
Gallery Dates: SAT, JAN 5 – SUN, JAN 27⠀
Gallery Hours: SAT & SUN 12-5 PM; weekdays.

You’re never too old to play

Collage papers

I’ve been thinking about the importance of play in art.

I feel pulled in many different ways on a daily basis. There’s so much to get done – writing and organizing social media posts, updating my websites, applying for exhibitions and grants, nevermind painting. And what about family, bills, exercise, and a balanced life?

I noticed one of the first things to go in my art practice was the action of play, as in anything I do simply for the joy of doing rather than a means to an end. It rarely feels like ‘play’ when I’m trying to create a successful piece. I worry about messing up when time is so valuable, and I want the final product to be great. Yet I know that failure is a good thing.  Some of my best works have come from creating something new when things didn’t work out.

I needed to get out of my studio and away from distractions to truly immerse myself in ‘playtime”.  So last week I took a collage and paper-making class with Suzanne Siegel and Jane Davies.  I set a goal NOT make a finished piece of art.  The idea was to try as many new techniques as possible and to start a lot of work without trying to complete any of them.  It was a success, and I’ve come home with piles of messy, weird, and uniquely printed papers and painting starts. Will I continue working on them?  Perhaps a few, but mainly the purpose was to explore and have fun. Now I just have to bring that into my daily art practice.

What have you done recently for yourself that qualifies as ‘playtime’?