Monday, February 27, 2012

Completed Paintings

The Hallway in Light is complete!

The Boats in Burano is complete!

I love to paint reflections and the play of light.....I took some grand pictures the past two weekends of reflections in shop windows. I love old shops of antiques, or barber shops or mom and pop joints. I can hardly begin those paintings.

Today, I began working in the studio at 8 am.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Have Four Paintings Lined Up

Yes, I have four paintings lined up in the studio. I've been pouring on three of these pieces, so they've been drawn, the paper was stretched and dried and masking fluid applied to the paper, to protect my whites. I've poured staining paint onto prepared, moistened paper three to four times (in my white bathtub). I have to wait at least twenty four hours between pours. Once I'm satisfied with my "pours," I begin hand brushing paint. I try to keep this to a minimum, because I don't want to lose the gorgeous colorful washes that are created by pouring paint.

On one painting, you can clearly see the masking fluid and the staples stretching the paper along the top. This painting has been poured three times, with earth colors being incorporated in the last pour.

The other picture, which is further along, has been poured four times, with earth colors being used in the final pour. You can see where I've begun my brush work on top of the poured washes. I must remember to keep brush work to a minimum. I want to allow the viewer's eye to complete as much as possible.

I'll be presenting all new work at The Bridge Gallery in Shepherdstown, WV: the opening reception is Saturday, March 31.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pouring Paint Today!

Here's a picture of my bathtub. I've been pouring staining watercolor paint for the past two days. This is an intense process, and a difficult one, but the results can be amazing. I hope a few of the paintings turn out.....I've only poured each of three pieces twice, so I'll have to see what ensues.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I feel very focused today. I have just completed the painting seen here.

I've been working on it off and on, but now, I believe it's done.

The music is up high and I'm feeling good.... don't forget to check out my YouTube video chanel, called "Watercolor Tips with Catherine Hillis."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Blue Jeans

This painting was completed in the traditional watercolor manner, but I've had to do a lot of tweaking in the end....I've been thinking about this one for a few weeks. It's been poured on, atomized, and glazed.

A Day Off

I took a break from work on Saturday. I had a long informational meeting with students who will be going to Italy with me, and I had a multitude of errands to run, and then I went to yoga class to de-stress. I had dinner with friends that evening and a much needed night off.

I do need time off for relaxation, so that creativity can flow.

Last week, I shipped a painting to the Rocky Mountain National Watermedia Show in Grand Junction, Colorado. That painting is posted here. I used several unusual techniques to create this piece. I'll ship a painting of Radda, Italy, to NYC next week, for an exhibit there, and I just found out that "Round 'n Round" was selected for the annual Virginia Watercolor Society State Show in Norfolk, VA, this spring. These national and regional shows are very competitive, and usually have 600 or so entries and about 85 paintings are generally selected. I always breathe a sigh of relief when I am accepted into these exhibits.

It's 8:59 am on Sunday and I'm headed to the studio now to continue tweaking a painting with dappled light and clothes on a clothesline and to begin another one. The paper has been drawn on, stretched and, it's ready to go.

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Old House?

At the end of Friday, here's what I've got..... I'll continue to tweak this until it's done, but it's a good day's work and I'll start another painting this weekend.

By the way, I have a YouTube chanel now; if you go to "Watercolor Tips by Catherine Hillis," you'll be able to view my first few segments on painting....I'm trying to keep them short and practical.

An Interior on the Move

One hour later.....

Build The Light, No. Three

I continue to brush on glazes of paint to build up the wonderful light that streaks through this moody old house in Maine.

I may come close to completing this painting today; I'm including a picture here of what I woke up to this morning. I couldn't paint yesterday, because I taught all day long. I needed a good night's sleep before beginning again.

First thing today, I framed a completed painting, then I played with two pieces that are nearly complete - I was trying different mats to see what the best way is to crop them. These two paintings have been in the studio for a month or more, and I've poured on them, atomized on them, and tweaked the values. I think they may finally be ready for prime time. Meanwhile, I'm also working on another drawing....busy, busy, busy.

I'm painting good thoughts and prayers into every piece. I feel compelled to consciously place peaceful memories on each and every painting for someone special who might need those healing thoughts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Two Hours In

It's 9:45 am.
I'm two hours in on this painting, although I built up the warm background washes yesterday, so I could begin my real work today.

The light is coming through the door and bouncing across the hallway. I plan to work as quickly and thoughtfully as I can, and relay information with as little detail as possible......

Painting Light Again

It's 7:05 am and I'm in the stuio, excited about the new piece on my easel. It's a scene of the hallway in the house I stay at in Maine, light streaming through the doors and reflecting back on the walls and the old furniture. I hope that this one turns out.

I'm posting the painting of the chair in light that is nearly finished. It may require tweaking, but that will wait until I've put the piece away for a while. It's always good to wait a few days before re evaluating.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Building Light No. Two

I'm still working. I enjoyed a night off last night to see Arlo Guthrie. It was a great show, but, as I looked down across the orchestra, I saw a sea of grey hair.... it really hit me. My generation, the generation of love and hippies and blue jeans....was old. Ugh!

I'm building light in this painting with one glaze after another, always considering to place warms against cools.

I also worked on a piece that I've been struggling to finish. I poured paint on the "completed" painting and atomized on the shadow areas, but I'm still not sure that it will go into my solo exhibits scheduled for this year. Only my very best pieces will be on exhibit.

I paint because I love it. There's nothing else I'd rather do on a cold and blustery Sunday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Building Light

Today, I was a little late into the studio. I came in around 9 am and treated myself to lunch with a long time friend at around noon. I had to ship a painting to the Rockies West National Watercolor Show in Grand Junction, CO, so I didn't really get much done today. Sometimes, I end up making several deliveries a week, not leaving much time to paint. This is so frustrating and can really confuse my creative process.

I spent today and last night working on two drawings of interior scenes, which I'm pretty excited to begin working on. I finally finished the drawings and began the painting. I hope to get two more paintings done by the end of next week...maybe.

I also worked on another painting that's almost complete. It isn't quite where I want it to be, so I stretched the paper (again), masked out the whites, re-wet the surface, and poured paint on top of the entire thing. I think I may like it now. Sometimes, it takes weeks or months to evaluate a painting, before I figure out the next step to's almost like a mathematical problem and there seem to be many ways to figure out these conundrums....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Every Day: I'm Working

Yes, I'm working every day, moving on towards new work and new ideas. All of the thoughts I have seem to merge towards painting light, light reflections, patterns of light and what happens to color when light is bouncing back and forth. I began at 6 am in the studio yesterday; today was a late day for me. I started working at 8 am.
Here's my latest.....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Moving Ahead: Light Patterns

I'm still working on "Quite a Pair."

I had an area that wasn't working, and I like to add humor to my paintings, so I hope you enjoy how this piece is moving along. I'm going to continue emphasizing the interplay of shadow and light. I still have a long way to go, but it's snowing and I'm happy to paint tonite.

LIght Patterns

Here's another painting that's on the easel. I usually have several pieces going at a time, so that I can keep it fresh and moving and spontaneous.

I'm teaching my students how to paint fabric; yesterday's lesson was how to paint quilts. Watch as I develop this piece.

I love to paint pears because they're such a classic subject and there's so much more than meets the eye, if the artist takes their time in observation......

Friday, February 3, 2012

Color, Light, Action!

I'm currently thinking about, and painting about: Things I Don't Need Anymore.
Society and clothing has changed quite a bit since my teenage days and I can see painting more lacey items that....are no longer fashionable. Of course, as always, I'm painting color, light and....action.