I’ve been working on a large landscape painting for the last couple of weeks. My method these days is to put down my brush as soon as the process starts to feel forced, allowing thinking time to be an important part of the process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a painting that I’ve set aside to “percolate” and had a sudden flash of insight into exactly what was needed next in the painting.
This means that optimally I should have several paintings on the go at any time, in various stages of progress.
In my recent landscape, one of the elements is a large evergreen tree. I’ve painted spruce and pine trees for years, and was content with my results, but in this most recent painting, I suddenly thought, “What if?…” and started throwing some unexpected colours into the process. The result was a tree that shone with life and colour, and I may never paint evergreens the old way again!
I wanted to share my findings, so I made a video talking about the new colours I’m using in painting evergreens, showing a little more technique and talking about my mother’s soft spot for baby pine trees. Enjoy!
The kids finished their school work for the year last week and are officially on summer vacation. (Don’t tell them, but we’ll be packing lots of learning into the summer months, just in a sneaky, hands-on way!) This afternoon I took them on an outing; I wanted to get a run in without getting up early, so I jogged while they biked the walking trails in town. We did a quick 5km and then packed the bikes back in the van and went swimming at the pool. It was actually a lot of fun – so often my plans for a fun outing hold a lot of frustration and complaining, so maybe they are growing up!
I got a little watercolor painting in this morning and I wanted to share my video of my newest endeavours because I’m trying something new. Jean Haines in her book Atmospheric Watercolour said something that stuck with me, about painting only half the detail you think you need. I think that’s what I need since I really struggle with “overpainting”; that is, painting the life out of my subject. Nothing makes a watercolour look more dead than that.
So I pulled a number out of thin air and said to myself, “What about trying five-stroke paintings?” The idea being, do an exercise where I allow myself only five strokes to paint my subject. Obviously, this is an exercise, not a way to complete a full painting, but in limiting my strokes, I can still play with amazing colour washes and edges, while avoiding painting my subject till it’s dead.
I tried it out today, using this photo as my reference:
Love these saskatoon berries! And my five-stroke version of the berries:
In hindsight (and requiring a sixth stroke), the berries really need one more stem joining the top berries to the leaves. As an exercise, this rocked! Take a few minutes and watch the video in which I demonstrate this painting from start to finish. Two five-stroke layers got it to the point you see here.
I would really love to see how the five-stroke exercise works for you! Email me with your projects ang @ angelafehr (dot) com. Have a great day!
So I had kind of a funky idea and I haven’t showed it to anyone else yet, so I don’t know if it works or if it’s just all in my mind, you know? Sometimes I’m not very objective when it comes to a project into which I’ve poured a lot of energy.
My idea was to make something cool to hang on the front door. Something that says “spring” and something that suits my vintage rustic style. I like rusty signs in my kitchen, vintage sleds leaning against the wall, and broken garden tools sprouting in my garden. So I used an old license plate.
The year on the plate is 1963, and I bought it ten years ago at a yard sale to use in crafts. It’s about time I got around to it!
I didn’t want to cover the plate entirely, but I did want to have a message beyond the numbers on the plate, so I used Scrabble tiles (another passion, and just to let you know that I thoroughly beat my sister the last time we played; she usually beats me.) So, using a piece of Prima Resistant Canvas as my base, I watercoloured the canvas, stamped it and adhered the Scrabble tiles, and then covered the whole thing with Rock Candy crackle paint.
And just as a treat for you, I’m practising my videography and did a little tutorial on using watercolour on canvas. Just FYI.
I’d love to know what you think of this project! It was fun to make, and I think it says my name, if you know what I mean.
Something I am often asked about in regards to my watercolour painting, is how I paint leaves. Because flowers and fauna are my favourite subjects to paint, I’ve spent a lot of time studying the beautiful organic lines and shapes of plants, and certainly different techniques suit different kinds of leaves, so I’ve prepared a video showing three techniques I’ve used in the past for painting leaves, focusing mainly on my favourite “negative space” vein technique, while sharing two others that can be useful.
After prepping the materials for my watercolour class which starts Tuesday night I started to get a little nervous. It’s always a little scary starting a teaching session – who am I to think I know enough about watercolour to teach? Painting on my own is scary enough; I never get through a painting without freezing in panic at least once, certain that my next brushstroke will ruin the whole thing. It makes me feel a lot better to know that I am not the only painter who feels this way – Mike Bailey has blogged about the same thing, and he’s president of the National Watercolor Society! I highly recommend his post on Breaching Fear.
Anyhow, I am excited because I videotaped my supply list! I bought a little video camera last week and tried it out yesterday. I really want to post some watercolour tutorial videos – you get to enjoy free lessons on what I had to learn the hard way, through trial and error.
Once upon a time, I was an aspiring watercolour painter with one workshop under my belt. What brought me from inexperience was time and – dare I say it – experience. I sat on my couch nearly every evening, painting board on my lap, television on in the background, and painted. In two years, I saw a lot of growth, and through that time, I created over 70 paintings suitable for framing, which were displayed in my first solo exhibition. Looking back at the work I created then, I’ve grown further, and my style has changed and strengthened and yet I still feel uncertain. What does the future hold for my painting? Will I be able to continue to paint work I’m passionate about and proud of? Will people understand and connect with what I do?
What it comes down to in the end is love. I love watercolour. And today I strapped on cross country skis and joined my children in skiing into a beautiful apricot-violet sunset, and in my mind I mixed pigments and swirled colours, imagining just how I would paint that incredible scene. It’s not something that goes away, loving to paint.
I hope my students feel the same way as they begin their own watercolour journey on Tuesday night. I will tell them, right off: “If you love it enough, you will keep doing it. And as you keep doing it, you will become better.”
That’s what happened to me, after all.
Here’s a link to download a printable supply list of the materials I consider essential for watercolor painting.
I believe receiving my Papercrafts Stamping Royalty prize package merits three exclamation points, don’t you? I had three package notices waiting in my mail box after our trip and it was torture, I tell you, waiting nearly 24 hours before I could finish unpacking and head to town to pick them up. It did help that I didn’t know for sure that one was my prize pack, but it was tough all the same.
I had this crazy idea that I’d videotape the grand opening of the package, and when I brought the package to my van, it was very hard not to rip into the boxes immediately – I almost always open my mail in the vehicle as soon as I get it! But I resisted the temptation…sort of. And I did videotape the grand opening so ENJOY!
I was up late last night (my husband is on a trip and I can indulge my crafting habit until the wee hours – well, midnight, anyhow) and I got the crazy idea to do a little video tour showing you the many places where I stash my stamps. There is a good reason why one particular set went missing for six months! I am often re-organizing my scrap room and I’ve learned not to move too many items in one organizing session, or I’ll forget where I organized them to! Does that happen to you? My entire collection Christmas stamps went missing for weeks once!
Anyhow, forgive the crazy hair and bad lighting – I hope you get a giggle out of this video and feel a sense of not being alone in your own struggles with organizing your scrap products!