Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Would you like to join me in a plein air sketch book and painting tour in Greece?  Would you like to enjoy a guided tour of Athens, Greece?  Would you like to spend several days painting the windmills and fishing villages in Mykonos?  How about sitting on a balcony ledge in Santorini at sunset, learning how to capture those glowing colors in watercolors?  Register by February 28, 2014 for the time of your painting life.

Join instructor Catherine Hillis for a
‘Plein Air’ Sketchbook Tour of Greece
October 10 - 20, 2014
For information, contact Catherine at info@catherinehillis.com or catherine.h.hillis@gmail.com.
See the artist's work at www.catherinehillis.com.
For registration and information, email VM TrAVeL ADVeNTUreS at travel@customwinetours.com

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Milan and Lake Garda, Italy and Inspiration in General

Inspiration.  Where does it come from?

For me, travel is one of the keys to inspiration, which then leads me to creative thinking, and ending, hopefully, with an excellent painting.

Scenes of Gargnano, Italy along Lake Garda
I love teaching workshops in locations foreign to me.  It's tremendous fun to see new sights and be inspired.  Some sights compel me to paint them immediately...perhaps because of the lighting or the smells or some sort of interaction I'm experiencing at the time.  Other sights want to be photographed... in many ways.  I can spend quite a large amount of time walking around a location, taking hundreds of different photos from different angles.  In fact, one of my favorite methods for taking pictures now is to hold my camera in front of me, constantly change my angles, and shoot away.  I can often be surprised by the beauty of these random photographs.

I was able to sneak in a tour of Berlin after the workshop this year, and I took many photos of the Reichhstaag, which is one of my favorite buildings in the world.

The very nature of the building and the many reflective surfaces lend itself to painting.....I love the natural abstraction of the angles.  Whenever discussing design in class, I advise students to "make it irregular, make it oblique and make it unpredictable."  This building exemplifies some of those major adages of good design.
 As enjoyable as it is to BE inspired, it's just as energizing to me to observe students in the midst of enjoying bursts of creativity.  I must say, my students who took the Il' Chiostro Watercolor Workshop with me during early October of 2013 made great strides forward in technique.  I like to think it was the teaching; I'm just as sure it was the inspiration of the location.  So, get thee to an inspiring location....and then, remember some design advice:  keep images irregular; use oblique lines whenever you can; and stray away from predictability in form and shape.

Happy Painting!  Catherine Hillis   www.catherinehillis.com

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Berkley Gallery to host Fine Art Professionals of Northern Virginia

The Berkley Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition featuring the Fine Art Professionals of Northern Virginia. Twenty-six, nationally recognized professional artists will exhibit work in a multiplicity of styles, subject matter and medium. The exhibit will run from October 4th throught October 15th, with an opening night artists' reception on Friday, October 4th.

This passionate group of artists, working in oils, watercolors, acrylics and pastels and representing a variety of artistic styles including realism, impressionism and abstract expressionism, have set the stage for a thoroughly unique and stunning show.

Art has the ability to make us stop, to pause and look, to process colors, brushwork, subject matter and sometimes to find a connection, a meaning that touches us. Whether you prefer to contemplate a work in silence, studying the eye of the artist or discuss the process with the artist and others, you can do both at the opening of this show on Friday, October 4th from 6-9pm. The opening is in conjunction with First Friday in historic downtown Warrenton, where shops and restaurants are open late for those that want to enjoy the autumn evening in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.

The following artists will be featured in the show:
Robert Thoren, David Williams,Tricia Adams, Jill Banks, Simon Bland, Vicki Blum, Gwendolyn C. Bragg, Chica Brunsvold, Mary Champion, Tricia Cherrington-Ratliff, Donna Clark, Elaine Elinsky, Betty Ganley, Carolyn Grosse Gawarecki, Jean K. Gill, Linda Hendrickson, Catherine Hillis, Margaret Huddy, Dell Keathley, Susan La Mont, Christine Lashley, Jonathan Linton, Jill E. Poyerd, Libby Stevens, Dana Thompson and Daniel Wise.

For more information, please contact the Berkley Gallery at 540-341-7367.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bucks County, PA:  The Stone Garden, SOLD

The summer of  2013 was full of plein air painting for me.

This painting of a statuary shop was one of my favorites and was produced my first day in New Hope, PA.
I often find that my best work is done on the first day or two in a location because I'm so inspired by what I see and excited to express it.

I also enjoyed painting in the plein air competition in Cranford, New Jersey, which is a delightful and friendly town, full of Victorian houses.  I could honestly paint there for weeks and still not be finished.

I was  honored to win a Juror's Choice Award for my painting "Looking Down Frederick Street"  in one of my favorite places to paint:  Ellicott City, MD.  For that, I am grateful ... and always humble.

Plein air painting is a lovely way to get to know a town and it's people.  I always walk the town before I paint to try and absorb the attitude prevalent among the people.  I like to awaken my senses so that I can begin to really know what the town is like and how I can best explain the location I'm in at that time with paint.  I walk and listen...to the traffic and to the conversations.  I observe the architecture, the shadows and the light and I read about the history of each place so that I can begin to discern who built the town, how it grew and what it's like now.  So, if you like to paint outdoors,  take much time for observation....listening.....and sensing....before you begin.  Happy painting!

Ellicott City, MD:  Looking Down Frederick Street, SOLD   

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Les Femmes Folles

Women in art

Here's a recent interview by Sally Brown Deskins:


Catherine Hillis is one of the exhibiting artists in Monongalia Arts Center’s “Aqueous 2013" exhibit by the West Virginia Watercolor Society thru August 3.
The artist has painted all her life, winning awards and honors at competitive shows regionally and nationally.  
In July of 2007, she served as Artist in Residence in Dinan, France, and in 2010, she served as Artist in Residence at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.  Her work has been published in “The Artistic Touch 5,” and in “Splash 12;” and, the recently released “Splash 14.”    The Splash books are a collection of 100 top contemporary American watercolor paintings; in May, 2011, she won the “Creativity Challenge” in Watercolor Artist Magazine (online version).  She regularly competes in national watercolor exhibitions and plein aire competitions, including the Plein Aire Brandywine competition in 2011, Easels in Frederick, Frederick, MD, 2011, and Ellicott City,  MD, 2012, Cranford, NJ 2013 and the Bucks County 2013 Plein Air Paint Out.  She won an award for her painting in the 2012 Mountain Maryland Plein Aire competition in Cumberland, MD, awarded by well known judge and “Plein Aire” Magazine editor, Stephen Dougherty.
Hillis’ work has been featured in “Best of American Watercolorists, 2007;” she garnered second place in watercolors for the state of Virginia in 2005, her work being published in the book, “Best of Virginia Artists and Artisans, 2005;” her biography is included in “Who’s Who Among American Women, 2006 - 2013.”  
She primarily paints in watermedia, including busy street scenes, coastal landscapes, and her favorite, the historic sites near her home on the Blue Ridge in Virginia.  The hallmarks of her work are rich color and a touch of humor.
The artist offers classes and workshops across the country and abroad: see her website at www.catherinehillis.com for workshop and class information.  You can also view the artist teaching a series of brief watercolor lessons at www.monkeysee.com (type in watercolors onto the subject line), with F&W Media online, and on YouTube at “Watercolor Tips” with Catherine Hillis.
She generously shares with LFF about how she went from modeling to acting to mothering and making visual art, feminism, her artistic process, teaching and more…
How’d you get into art?
I’ve been interested in the arts for as long as I can remember.  As a child, I performed in theater and did some modeling.  The income I made as a child ended up paying for my college education.  I majored in theater at the University of Georgia and did a lot of acting there ( my major love), but I learned skills as a costumer and costume designer, so that I’d have something to fall back on that might generate income.  I ended up working in costumes for several years after graduating.  I did some acting as well.

I started a family before hitting my thirty’s and once I had children, I became a stay at home mom and dropped out of theater.  I really enjoyed those years of raising my 3 children:  reading books and telling stories was my favorite part.

Once my youngest child began toddling, I became hungry for the arts again and began taking watercolor classes.  I could always draw and paint well and watercolors seemed like a good fit because they’re clean, relatively non toxic, I could use them in my kitchen and I could achieve fast results.  I fell in love with the arts all over again and now, after many years, I think it would be difficult to stop me from painting.

I guess painting is a positive sort of …. addiction.  I hate to admit that, but I think it’s true.

I paint because it’s my destiny.  I have to do it.

"Round and Round" watercolor by Catherine Hillis

Tell me about your work. What do you hope viewers get out of your work? Does feminism play a role?
I often like to insert a twist or a sense of humor in my work.  I like to take complex, chaotic scenes and make some sense out of them.  I think this is a reflection of my life…I’d like to be able to do that same thing with life in general…..take chaos, create something, and  make it serene.

I hope that when the observer sees my work they sense a bit of humor, or reflect on some moment in their own life. I like to tell stories with my work and I think that comes from my background in drama.  I always think art should tell a story.

I think the main way feminism may play a role in my work is because I now realize that while I was home watching the children, I did, without a doubt, lose time in my own journey as a professional.  I think about it often, wondering if I can make up that time in my career.  I feel like I’m in a hurry.  I want to express life the way that I see it.  I want to paint and take those chaotic scenes and…work them.

"The David, My Perspective," watercolor by Catherine Hillis

What’s your artistic process like?
I work in my north light studio at home every single day that I can.  I usually start with my first cup of coffee and paint for several hours in the early morning.  If I have a great piece going, I stop for short breaks but will generally work all day.  I’m very disciplined and extremely focused. 
When I’m teaching, though, it’s hard to focus on my own work, so I don’t paint on days that I teach.

What would people be surprised to know about you?
People might be surprised to know that I was a child model and was in a feature in Vogue Magazine in the 60’s.

Any advice for aspiring artists?

I feel very strongly about people following their destiny.  I feel very strongly that painting is my job right now, along with teaching, and that this is the way I’m affecting lives at this time.
More on Catherine Hillis: catherinehillis.com.
Monongalia Art Center: monartscenter.com.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Virginia farm is one of my favorite locations to paint.

I'm trying to focus on the next few days, when I'll be painting in another plein air competition.

My goal is to create better work than I have in the past.  I want to further develop my skills as a plein air painter. 

This has been a good summer for thinking, painting, drawing and considering what direction I want my work to go in next, although I haven't come up with any decisions.  But, it's all a process and I think these things take time.....

Friday, June 28, 2013

Plein Air

House on the Lake, Loudoun County, VA

Folks ask me:  what's plein air?

During warm weather, my heart, mind and soul look only towards painting outdoors.

Plein air means....in the fresh air.  The French Impressionists did their share of painting in the fresh air and today there are more and more competitions across America where 20 - 30 professional painters are selected, by a judge,  to compete during a week of outdoor painting in a specific location.  The week culminates in well advertised sales events where collectors are invited to purchase.  And the collectors of plein air paintings are certainly out there. Prizes are awarded.  Photographs are taken. Magazine articles are written.

Professional artists who participate in these events are honored to be selected for an event.  It's wonderful to be chosen by a judge who probably has many registered artists to select from.  Artists are often housed with a host family, who try to make their adopted artiste comfortable when they're painting in their town.  Working outdoors - all day -  is not easy.  Artists are expected to come up with a specified number of framed and finished pieces for the sales events.  There's a good bit of pressure involved in finishing up, and finishing up WELL.  It can be oppressively hot, or rainy/ paintings may dry too quickly or not fast enough/ they may not turn out as well as expected/ chatty pedestrians can break concentration/ things fall/ wind blows/ hunger calls or even worse....

Collectors of art.....we thank you for your belief in our work and your love of what we do.  It's collectors who help the artist continue to think and paint and create.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Renew, Refresh, Revitalize

While I am preparing for the Western Loudoun Studio Tour  (www.wlast.org) this weekend, I'm also taking these weeks to walk more, meditate more, exercise, breathe in the summer honeysuckle, watch my nearby creek tumble along, battle birds stealing applies from  my trees,  sketch, photograph, paint outdoors (just for myself and no one else)  and garden a little.  I need to go into that private place where I go when I'm painting. I need some refreshing....badly.  I believe I have been suffering from exhaustion....and now for some renewal....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My Palette

I may be changing my palette.

I love the quinacridone colors, but now that it's summer, I'm not sure that the intense tones of the quin colors are meeting my needs.  My plein air paintings need more subtle color.  I may be adding earth tones to my palette.

I've pulled out the sepias, the raw siennas, the umbers.....and they look very enticing.  I think I'll add them to my summer plein air painting as well as to my studio work.  I've just completed a commission of hydrangeas and I did need some of the earth tones to complete it.  I'll be painting in several plein air competitions and hope to be using some of these warm colors to mix my greens.

I always use a round or square palette that has nice sized indentations on all four sides for holding paint.  I like to arrange my colors in the order of the color wheel.  It's pragmatic.  It's logical.  It makes sense.  When I'm mixing my grays and blacks, I don't even have to think, because my complements are already across from each other.

I'll let you know how adding the earth tones to my palette work....I"m guessing my color mixes will be more subtle and richer.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wet on Wet: Paint it Fast and Paint it Loose

My final classes before summer of 2013 are coming to an end.

I'm demonstrating some fun, fast and loose wet on wet demonstrations in all classes until the end of May.  It's a great warm up for painting outdoors.  I love wetting the paper, and placing that pigment onto the damp cotton and seeing what will happen.  I love it when the colors fuse together and make something rather unexpected.  I love the soft edges that occur, and then the hard edges that develop as the paper dries.
I enjoy seeing the different values that melt into one another throughout the process.  The speed with which I can paint in the wet on wet technique is a lot of fun, too.

Here's a painting of Cole's Farm....done in about 45 minutes.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rehoboth Beach Art League and Keeping An Open Mind

I taught a much anticipated Watercolor Bootcamp workshop in Rehoboth, Delaware for the Rehoboth Beach Art League.  I was eager to spend the day before my workshop at the beach, enjoying some sunshine and bathing. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate  .... I brought my swimsuit, but I needed to have packed a coat.  The beach was windy and cold and it wasn't even comfortable to walk along the boardwalk.

I thought I'd be shopping for some photographs of water scenes for future paintings, but I ended up staying indoors more than I had imagined.

But, I had an open mind,  never knowing what I might encounter.

It turns out that the Rehoboth Art League lodges "Artists in Residence" at "The Homestead," which is one of the oldest houses in all of Delaware.  This historic 18c. home  is one of the many beautiful buildings that belong to the Rehoboth Art League.  I thought I would have the opportunity to collect some photographs of beach scenes to paint; instead, I was gifted with moody interior scenes that only a delightful old house can provide.....

These photos will make some dramatic watercolor interiors.  The backyard of "The Homestead"  is graced with a magnificent boxwood garden, along with statuary, elegant specimen trees, fountains, benches and gazebos. I'm still editing through the photographs of the extraoridnary gardens.

An artist should always keep an open mind; we never know what direction we may be"nudged" towards next...

Friday, April 26, 2013

Beware of Ticks, Painters

Last year I contracted Lyme's Disease while painting en plein air.

I neglected to wear bug spray; I was walking in weedy fields and the woods; I wore shorts and loose fitting tops. I didn't shower as soon as I left the field.   I did everything wrong.

After my first day of painting, I was covered in insect bites....so, I bought some insect repellant but....it was apparently too late.  I painted for five days during this contest in Pennsylvania and by the next weekend, when I arrived home, I was feeling tired and drained of all energy.  I had one particularly red insect bite in the very middle of my back which I kept watching throughout the following week.  All other mosquito and gnat bites disappeared, but  this bite remained red and angry.

Meanwhile, I was feeling just awful.  I would wake up in the morning around 7 am, and nap again at 10 am.  I'd fall asleep again at 2 pm and then sleep all night.  I felt achy.  I had headaches.  I was dragging myself to teach my classes.....as time progressed, I began to feel incredibly ill.

I was almost grateful when, at the end of that second week, a pale red "bull's eye" rash formed around that one insect bite in the very middle of the back.

Now, I knew what was making me sick.  I had Lyme's Disease.  This was readily confirmed by blood tests and my physician, and I was immediately placed on a round of antibiotics.

So, painters!  Watch yourself and take all precautions you can and read up about Lyme's Disease.  I now wear long pants with socks tucked over them and I spray my clothing with spray containing DEET.  I tend to paint along the road, instead of in the weeds.  I shower immediately after finishing,
and I check my body for those nasty little creatures. 

Happy painting, everyone,  and take care of yourself out there in the field.....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Washington Capitol in Early Spring (c) contact artist for information

Hmmm.....I've got twenty yards of mulch sitting in my driveway.  My gardens desperately need to be fertilized, trimmed and mulched.  Thank goodness I've got help for this project.  It feels great to have my lovely flower gardens cared for.

While the very competent workers edge the beds and spread the mulch, I paint.  I finished this watercolor today of the Washington Capitol in Early Spring. 

20 Yards of Mulch, Spring, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

What Do I Do This Summer?

"The Homeward Journey," $850.00, at Oatlands, Leesburg, VA May 2013

I'm looking forward to the summer.  Something magical happens to me when I'm outside painting "en plein air."  I've decided not to teach for a few months, and to take a break during June and July, and spend as much time as I can outdoors.

Some of my students have been asking me:  "What are we going to do during the summer?  Who shall we take lessons from?"

Here's what I recommend that you do during the summer:

Do something that you've always wanted to do, but you've been putting it off, saying....oh, I'll get there one day.  This summer is the day, the time and the hour.  Go to Europe, or go bungee jumping, or learn how to high dive or go mountain climbing or drive across the country.

Do something that fills you with fear.  For me, this will definitely be something associated with very high altitudes.  

Walk slowly.  

Breathe deeply and inhale every fragrant scent that nature makes.

Sit in the sun.  Fall asleep.

Day dream.  I'll bet you NEVER do this.  Spend hours lolling around in a chair on a porch, rocking and listening and breathing.....

Fall asleep in the sun, again.

Take the most fabulous vacation you've ever dreamed of.  Think about paying for it later.

Go on a picnic.

Draw and paint outdoors.  Make mistakes.  Flounder.  Rip some paper.  Scream...laugh....cry....feel.  Draw and paint some more.  Don't worry about what things will "look" like.  Paint with new mediums that you've never used before.  Make more mistakes and laugh at them.  They will become abstracts or collages later.  Take a sketch book with you everywhere and draw everything that you see in restaurants, parks, the gas station, along the road and in church.  Pen and ink in the good things.  Experiment.  

Breathe, and enjoy yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes and learn anything that you want to from them. 

Just have a great summer.  One never knows.  Squeeze everything you can out of this one.......

My very best, Catherine Hillis, www.catherinehillis.com

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Painting Should Be Fun

Homeward Bound (c) Contact the Artist for Inquiries

Painting should be fun. 

Painting should be fun.

Painting should be fun.

I make my living as a professional artist and I'm juggling many hats in the air.  Sometimes, I have so many classes to teach and so many exhibits to prepare for, that I hardly know how I'll make all my deadlines.  While I do work well under pressure, there are times when I must stop....step outside for a while....and remember to breathe.  It's hard to produce good artwork if you're experiencing stress. 

Running a small business, no matter what it is you sell.....art classes...art work...prints.....cards....is stressful.
Keeping up with taxes and business records and paperwork  and pr is stressful.
Ordering frames and mat board, and cutting mats (the large and expensive ones nearly always have to be cut twice, because I'm rushing and making mistakes) and packaging a first rate product is stressful.
Delivering and shipping work can be stressful.
Thinking about what to paint should NOT be stressful.

So, when I start feeling that incredible tension creeping up my back, I try to go for a walk along my peaceful country road, or I go to a yoga class, or I just step outside to breathe and slow down.

I have a Civil War themed show coming up at Oatlands Plantation, outside of Leesburg, VA in May, 2013.  My painting, "Homeward Bound" is slated to be in the show...among others.

I have also been elected to the Washington Society of Landscape Painters www.wslp.org.
It's a great honor to be one of the 40 members of this esteemed organization that includes only elected artists in the MD-VA-PA-DC area.  I am so honored!  Thanks, WSLP members, for believing in me.  Our first of many Centennial Exhibits this year opens this Friday, April 5, 6:30 pm at the Arts Club in Washington, in Washington, DC.

But - remember!  Painting really should be fun...............

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just Wanna' Paint!

I just want to paint.

In this "busy" culture of ours, it's so difficult to find time to work.  Painting requires time to think creatively and that is not a thing that is encouraged in American society.

This has been a week with many deadlines, and three classes to teach, so it's been doubly difficult to find time to concentrate, with a calm and focused spirit.  I have a lot of ideas floating and I need to be consciously making time to allow new, creative ideas to begin fermenting.
My Perspective:  The David

This week I was elected to the Washington Society of Landscape Painters (www.wslp.org), for which I am so grateful and honored.  This is a dedicated group of 40 artists that meet regularly to paint outdoors and that's a great venue for being quietly centered and thinking.

I also received an award in the national exhibit sponsored by the Western Colorado Watercolor Society, and I earned my signature membership status with them, having been accepted in the last three annual national shows.  I could put the following signatures after my name:  SW, PW, VWS,  BWS,  PVW, and WCWS, along with my newly earned WSLP letters.  And, there are many organizations in which I need only ONE MORE acceptance to be signatured with them as well.  Woo hoo!

I hope that next week I can breathe and enjoy the journey....for painting is a gift and a joy and needs to be approached with a sense of awe and serenity....

Friday, February 22, 2013

Am I An Abstract Impressionist At Heart?

Funny, tonight I discovered posts that people were making on this blog site.  I guess I didn't quite know how to get to the section where I could read the posts.  I thank everyone (including Peggy, who has commented quite a bit) for their opinions and I apologize for not replying.  I had no idea how to find the comment area and was befuddled, wondering if anyone was reading this!  Now you know how primitive my computer skills are and that I'm not a natural at figuring these things out.

The last few days have been great ones in discovering some new things about myself and my work.

I've had the week off from teaching (exhausted, folks, really exhausted) and I've been able to feed the introvert in me by painting like a mad woman.  I'm seeking more and more to discover the abstract within the realistic.  I'm abstracting shapes more and more, along with those beautiful colors. 

"Buzz on Fifth Avenue," 2012 Rockies West National Exhibition
I also figured out today that I've made Signature Membership in the Rockies West Watercolor Society. I'm accumulating a nice number of national signature memberships across the country and I'm really proud of all the hard work I've done to gain this notoriety.  Generally, most watercolor societies that present national and international exhibits require an artist to be accepted in three exhibits within a 10 year time frame.  This is really, really hard to do.  There are often 600 - 800 entries for each exhibit, and - generally - only around 80 or 90 paintings will be selected by the judge.  So, I'm really proud of my consistent and hard work in being recognized.  I have earned the following Signature Memberships:  the Southern Watercolor Society (1/2 the country), the Virginia Watercolor Society, the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, the Baltimore Watercolor Soiciety,  the Potomac Valley Watercolor Society ( a local organization), and now the Rockies West.  I am SO thrilled!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

REHOBOTH BEACH, DELAWARE: workshop in May at the Rehoboth Art League

I’ll be teaching a one day workshop in watercolor painting in Rehoboth, Delaware, coming up in May…here’s the information below...

And, I’ll be posting updates on the painting seen here as it progresses…I'm painting my favorite subjects here, glass, reflections and light.

Watercolor Bootcamp
Beginner & Intermediate
Saturday, May 4, 2013
10 am until 4 pm
Rehoboth Art League
12 Dodds Lane
Rehoboth DE 19971
Contact: Kim Klabe
FAX: 302-227-4121

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Italian Street Scene (c) Catherine Hillis

Learn new watercolor techniques with professional watercolor artist Catherine Hillis, an instructor who will guide you along in your painting with a nurturing spirit.  Take Watercolor Bootcamp No 2 at Artist's Network University online.  The four week session begins on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Italian Street Scenes

Yup.  I'll be teaching a workshop at Lake Garda, Italy during late September of 2013.  I love to go to Italy so that I can take great pictures and paint them during the rest of the year.  Here's "An Italian Street Scene."
For information about the plein aire painting and sketching workshop in Italy, please see my website at www.catherinehillis.com or www.ilchiostro.com. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Texturing Techniques in Watercolor Painting: Add Some "Oomph" to Your Work

I want to thank Diane Raitt for taking pictures of my weekly class in Leesburg.  During last Thursday's class, I  reviewed some of the many texturing techniques a painter can utilize in watercolor painting.  While I enjoy introducing traditional watercolor painting to students, I realize that there are times when a painter needs to employ something different to their work, and sometimes additional texturing can add depth.

There are more texturing techniques than I'm able to list here tonite....and perhaps YOU can think of some of your own.  We watercolorists are an adventurous bunch and we are always trying to push the edge by finding some new way to express ourselves in our medium.  Here are some of the techniques we spoke about in classes this week:  lifting on dry and wet paper, sponging, splattering with toothbrush, wire screen and/or paintbrush, positive and negative stenciling, salt, alcohol, saran wrap, scratching with a variety of implements, watercolor pencils, caran d'arche, sand, sandpaper, masking fluid, mylar stamping, and fan brushes.

I'm including a picture here of one of my texturing charts, along with a photo of students watching the demonstration....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Birds in the Winter: Bluebirds and Other Winged Creatures

January in the mountains of Virginia is bitterly cold.  We had our typical Janaury thaw last week, and now the temperature is in the teens or below.

Yesterday, while walking along the old historic gravel road, I saw flocks of male bluebirds:  their feathers were all puffed up to keep them warm.  They were very active and seemed unafraid as I approached their little groups.  They seem very happy and it appears that they know something....spring is inevitable.  They were flitting about, viewing different bluebird houses along the road, seeking out real estate for lady friends.

I came across another little bird in my walk.  I couldn't get a good picture of the little fellow, but he had the reddest streak across the top of his head.....I looked him up, and I believe he may be a Ruby Crowned Kinglet.  I'm sad that I couldn't get a better photograph of him......today, I'm teaching a watercolor class at the Round Hill Arts Center - more snow is expected this afternoon - and, I plan to spend the late afternoon and the early evening  painting and working on a composition of Florence.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Italy - Arcadia, Maine - Rehoboth Beach, DE - Learn How To Paint Outdoors Step by Step by Step

Mad Mimi one
Cinque Terre low file
"Minor Adjustments" Cinque Terre


Acadia, Maine:

August 12 - 16, 2013
Acadia Center Workshop, www.acadiaworkshopcenter.com
Bernard, Maine - contact: Gail Ribas
Learn how to paint outdoors and enjoy painting scenes in and around Acadia National Park: the boats, the rocky coast, the mountains, the dramatic lighthouses
and the brilliant light. Students will enjoy daily demonstrations on site and an extra large classroom in the afternoons, as well as an on site art supply store.

Milan and Lake Garda, Italy:

September 28 - October 5, 2013
"Il Chiostro", www.ilchiostro.com
Contact: Linda or Michael
Register today for this once in a lifetime experience and learn how to paint the drama of the Italian landscape outdoors. Capture the light, the medieval villages and buildings, the dramatic gardens and the reflections of the Alps along Lake Garda, Italy's largest lake. Students will stay in a restored convent and enjoy organic Italian cuisine prepared by our own personal chef. This is an unbelievable experience for the epicurian adventurer who wants to experience everything: paint , learn, shop, tour, and taste Italian cuisine created just for our group.  Register by February 28 for lower price.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Saturday, May 4, 2013 - 10 am until 4 pm
Rehoboth Art League, www.rehobothartleague.org
Contact: Kim Klabe, Rehoboth Art League
FAX: 302-227-4121
Learn how to paint the beaches and the early spring gardens. This one day Watercolor Bootcamp provides a good introduction to beginning painters and intermediates who want a refresher course in watercolor painting.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Painting Snow, and Painting "en plein aire" in Italy

Milan & Lake Garda, Italy
Plein Aire Workshop
All Levels & All Media Welcome
September 28 - October 5, 2013
Il Chiostro
23 W. 73rd Street, #306
New York, NY 10023
  1-800-990-3506 (speak with Michael or Linda)

Come and join me this summer and learn how to paint outdoors.  I'll be providing step by step lessons on how to capture the feeling...the essence....the very breath of the day.  The deadline for early registrations for both of these plein aire workshops is coming up soon, in late February.  Meanwhile, it's winter here in the mountains, and I've been painting snow...the painting here is called "Winter's Bounty."

Bernard, Maine
"How to Get THERE from Here!"
Beginner & Intermediate - All Media Welcome
August 12 - 16, 2013
Acadia Workshop Center
7 Bernard Road
Bernard, Maine 04612
Contact: Gail Ribas, Director

Monday, January 14, 2013

Learn How To Paint On Site at Lake Garda, Italy

The restored convent in Lake Garda, Italy...our home away from home.

Come with me to Lake Garda, Italy, during fall of 2013, and learn how to paint outdoors.  I'll gently guide you step by step on a wonderful journey of joy.

What makes this trip to Italy so special?  It’s the staff…..and the magical location….and the students who choose to go….the food that is specially prepared just for our group by our private chef……and the painting experiences on site in locations selected just for us.  Let’s face it – everything about this painting trip to Lake Garda is MAGNIFICENT!

If you want a once in a lifetime experience…this is it.  If you strive for the most perfect photographs ever….this is it.  If you need to experience peace and serenity and a restorative time…this is it.  If you want to paint dramatic light, historic villages, the majesty of the Alps reflected in the lake, olive and lemon groves, mountain, water, light…this is it.

Please join me on a magical, mystical tour of northern Italy and the Lake Garda area.  We’ll begin in historic Milan, and then our tour guides will take us on to Lake Garda, one of the most scenic and historic areas of Italy.  We’re going in late September, when we will have more of the beauty to ourselves....because many of the tourists will have returned home.  Students will stay in a converted convent, located close to the water’s edge, and convenient to the ferries that transport you from village to village.  Come and join me.  Here’s the information below – our deadline for registering is in late February, 2013.  Please feel free to contact me in you have questions….

Milan & Lake Garda, Italy
Plein Aire Workshop
All Levels & All Media Welcome
September 28 - October 5, 2013
Il Chiostro
23 W. 73rd Street, #306
New York, NY 10023

1-800-990-3506 (speak with Michael or Linda)