Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Paint?

Why do artists paint? What makes us work?
I paint because I must. I'm driven to paint and express myself and when a day goes by that I cannot pick up a brush, I'm pretty frustrated. I feel a meditative calm come over me during the painting process. Truthfully, I enjoy the solitude, too.
How lucky I am to be able to work out my emotions through this very expressive medium.
Here's another tip for some of you artistes out there: are you expressing the very essence of yourself when you paint? Many of us work from photographs and I'd like to ask you: are you a photo copier? Or are you a painter? When you've painted about 60-70% of a piece, put the photograph AWAY. Start evaluating your work as a painting and not as a replica of a photograph. Many times, I hear students say, "but, my painting doesn't look like the photograph." I want to say "good!" The photos we use to paint by are merely references. Once we put those photos away, and put the painting up and stand back and OBSERVE, that's when good painting begins.
It's just my opinion....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tip of the Week

In honor of the burgeoning Spring season, I'd like to give you a tip about green.
I almost always add a little red to every green I paint. There are lots of reasons for this.
Most watercolor tube greens are too garish to look realistic. Red is the complement of green and it will grey or tone down the tube color. So, try it. I usually use alizarin crimson, opera or rose quinacridone in my greens.

Remember, when you're painting leaves, they're NOT going to be the color of a tube of green. Remember, also, that all the leaves on one plant are NOT the same color green. Those leaves are reflecting everything around them: shadows, red flowers, pink flowers, the sky, surrounding buildings.

Try this exercise: Draw 2" x 2" squares on some watercolor paper. Wet each square and (one at a time) paint each square with the different greens you own. Below that, draw matching squares. Wetting each square individually, paint wet on wet 90 % of each tube green you own with 10% quinacridone rose. After you've done this, stand back and see how sophisticated and beautiful those new greens mixed with the rose are! It's ok to allow the colors to mingle and not totally blend. That's some beautiful watercoloring.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Happenings……….Here’s what’s going on this spring of 2009…..CLASSES, SOLO SHOWS AND WORKSHOPS

Watermedia Classes with Catherine Hillis in Round Hill, VA
Strong technique will always be taught here! Yes, I can’t help myself: I’ll always help students with good, basic transparent watercolor skills (because I’m in love with this medium) but this spring I’ll be bringing in all the stuff that’s just plain fun to play with: acrylic paints, collage papers, gels, photo transfer techniques, stamps and stencils. If you prefer to continue in traditional watercoloring and have your own project you’re working on, please bring it and if you want to play, materials will be set out for your amusement. Bring your watercolor supplies, any watermedia items you want to be adventurous with
(you know, those unopened bottles and jars in your studio), a digital camera and photographic materials you want to use as references.

I’m offering two classes at Round Hill Arts Center at 6 W. Loudoun Street in Round Hill, VA. Classes run for six weeks and you can either take the Thursday evening class or the Friday morning class. Tuition is $190.00.

Thursday evenings 7 – 9:15 pm classes begin March 26, 2009 and run for six weeks
Friday mornings 10 – 12:30 pm classes begin March 27, 2009 and run for six weeks

Register for a class at RHAC by calling 540-338-5050 or online at

Learn How to Cut Mats! Mat Cutting Class
Tired of paying high prices for mats at the store? Learn how to use the Logan 450 Intermediate Mat Cutter at the Ashburn A.C. Moore Store at 20020 Ashbrook Commons Plaza, # 175, Ashburn, VA 20147. Classes are $35.00 and run for two hours. Space is limited so the instructor can work with students individually.

The next class is scheduled for: Thursday, April 9, 2009.

Call 703-858-9565 to register for this class.

The Art Center of Orange, VA - Workshop and Solo Show: The workshop in this location has sold out (yeah!) but the show is up and it looks fresh and beautiful. If you haven’t been to the town of Orange, VA - it’s cute – it’s historic - and worth the trip. The show will be up until April 19, 2009 at 129 East Main Street, Orange, VA 540-672-7311.
When visiting Orange, check out the wonderfully classy B & B, The Inn at Meander,

Watercolor Missouri National: This artist is honored to have a painting selected for this national watercolor exhibition which runs through May 30, 2009 at the Winston Churchill Memorial in Fulton, MO. Yeah!

Doukenie Winery: Saturday, April 4, 2009. Drop by Doukenie Winery on April 4, sample the wines and let’s talk art! I’ll have some of my work for sale and will be presenting live demonstrations from noon until 4 pm. Drop by, have a glass of wine, watch the demo and chat with me! I love to talk about WATERCOLORS! Painters! The special landscape of Loudoun County, VA!
Doukenie Winery
14727 Mountain Road, Purcellville, VA 540-668-6464

Gallery 222 on King Street in Leesburg, VA: Gallery 222 will be hosting a Watercolor Show from May 2 – June 2, 2009 in historic Leesburg, VA. I believe First Friday is on May 1, 2009. Come join us for wine, cheese and an artsy evening!

Health and Human Services
Some of my watercolors are on display at the Health and Human Services Building, 200 Independence Avenue, Washington, D.C. 20201 through April 2009.

Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen
If you live near the Richmond, VA area, I invite you to participate in the Flower Power Workshop and drop by my Solo Show at the Cultural Arts Center of Glen Allen, in Glen Allen, VA. May 2 – May 30, 2009. The Flower Power Workshop will be two days of painting glorious, lush, colorful fresh flowers in glass vases and jars. Monday and Tuesday, May 11 and 12, from 9 am until 3 pm. Contact 804-261-2787 or for registration or more information.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Here's another new piece that I call End of the Road. This scene is not far from my home and it's the residence of a lovely lady named "Aunt Betty" by all the neighbors - who adore her, I might add. Betty was a nurse during WWII and she has marvelous stories to share. Her home is open to visitors and she always has delicious baked goods to give to all who drop by. She's a wonderful character who is admired by all and full of life and energy to spare.

This painting is in honor of Aunt Betty. Featured in the painting, close to the house, are deer, which feed on the corn Betty leaves out for them and you can see her red pick up truck just to their right.

Well, I've got a new painting and it gives me a feeling of satisfaction for sure. It glows, which is a good place to be in watercolors. I love my medium. Watercolors are the most forgiving (yes, they can be corrected), flexible, glowing medium ever and they can convey the palest hue to the richest color. There's nothing more beautiful than a hydrangea or poppy in watercolors and what could be more evocative than a subtle watercolor sky?

The title of this painting is: Pedicure. I hope you like it. Painting it was more fun than .... eating chocolate. Or shopping. Or other things.