It’s so pretty here when everything is green! Spring is in full bloom and in our house that does mean lots of sneezing and antihistamines, but we can’t help but love the warm weather, despite the pollen. Often we will start the day with sunshine, birdsong waking us at 5am, and then a little after noon, clouds roll in and a little rain. Sometimes a full on thunderstorm, although it’s a little early in the season for that.
I love all hours of the day for the way the light affects the landscape, and recently I experimented with painting a late afternoon summer cloudburst. You have to be a little daring to paint a dramatic sky – it’s intimidating to throw down those dark colours while trying to keep them from taking over the page!
I am not a realism painter, and I’m not sure I would want to paint photographically even if I could. There is so much joy in creating from the heart and I really strive to have my brush guided by an inner sense of “what next”. I’m not good at describing it, but mainly I start with an idea of the scene I want to paint, and usually a reference photo. I look for the drama – what drew me to paint this scene? What is the main idea I want to depict? And then I launch into a painting that at some point will start telling me what it needs, and the reference photo is set aside as I look for ways to build on the beauty that is happening on paper. It’s scary and exciting to paint this way, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I made a video of this painting as I created it as a demonstration on how to paint dramatic skies for my Youtube channel. Check it out below!
I love living in the country. Last night my daughters got out of bed to tell us to check out the northern lights (so I guess when they should be sleeping they are trying to escape out the window?). As soon as my foot hit the front porch the coyotes started howling less than a hundred yards away. We watched the dancing glow of aurora borealis and marveled. Even though we see the northern lights several times a year (and this winter has been especially vibrant), every time it’s a new show and always beautiful and mysterious.
Maybe I won’t be moving to any of the places we visited on our trip after all.
While I am still trying to get my bearings after getting home (so much to DO!), I was able to wrap up and post a new video to Youtube. This one shares how I put together a watercolor travel kit that fit in my suitcase for our vacation. While I never did try painting in the car, I was able to enjoy a couple of plein air painting sessions and lots of poolside painting after a day of sightseeing. Enjoy!
Something that made a huge difference in my painting was when I learned to stop allowing fear to influence my painting. It’s still a battle not to let that ugly voice have its say, but I’ve learned a few things that help me to paint more fearlessly, and I’m sharing them in my new video:
Now I just need to learn how to win over the battle with lack of time!
I posted a new YouTube video yesterday, aimed at beginners. This one is a bit of a show & tell about how wet you want your paper to be when painting in watercolor.
I’ve been gardening and coaching soccer this month, lots of stuff going on! Watching the skies to see if my 8 year old will be playing soccer tonight or if my new shrubs will be getting a drink instead. Isn’t summer lovely?
I really enjoy filming videos to share my painting processes with you, and I also hate it. So often I got to film a painting demo, and halfway through I think, “This is terrible!” Nothing seems to be coming together, I’m not sharing any information of interest, and I’m bored by my own painting demo. So that explains why I don’t post videos as often as I would like. It’s just like the rest of painting; a lot of hard work goes into painting duds that no one will ever see before a good painting actually happens.
In my newest painting video, I work through a watercolour landscape, start to finish. It’s a simple landscape, but it’s a great exercise in painting skies, making composition decisions and pulling a landscape together. There are many elements in landscape painting that must all come together for it to work out, and I still feel like I’m learning.
I’ve titled the finished painting “Muskeg Corner” and it is available for purchase on my original paintings for sale page. Thanks for watching!
I’ve uploaded a new YouTube video, sharing what I’ve learned about masking fluid, also known as friskit or liquid mask. I used to get so frustrated by ruined brushes after a masking fluid session, until I learned a simple trick for protecting my brushes that isn’t written on the bottle.
In this video I’ll also cover a few more tips for using masking fluid without frustration. Enjoy!
Yesterday I had a little fun and recorded a video answering some of the questions I receive by email or as comments on my Youtube channel. I hope that this can be a regular thing, so keep the questions coming!
In the video I show you my paintbrush collection, palette storage, answer paper type & quality questions, talk about complementary colours (again!) and teaching watercolor at home. Check it out!
Today I’m packing the van and taking the kids for a drive. We’re going to Fairview, Alberta to pick up my paintings from the Fine Arts Centre following the Peace Watercolour Society annual show & sale. While I didn’t sell any paintings at this particular event, it was my first time showing my work in Fairview, so I’m pleased to have been able to exhibit before a new audience. Once my paintings are home, I’m going to be working on a new project that I can’t wait to tell you about. (Don’t you just hate teasers like that? Clue: look up giclée in the dictionary.)
Have a great weekend! I’ll be back next week to show you some fun greeting cards that I painted in my last watercolour class.
If you follow my YouTube channel, you will already know that my sunflower painting tutorial is now available worldwide! I’ve recorded and uploaded a six-part series that you can use to practice your watercolour techniques in a practical way.
Start with Part 1 here and then follow the links to complete the tutorial:
I’d love to hear what you think, or any questions you have, or what you’d like to see as a future video tutorial or demonstration.
My daughters have been away at camp all week, and so during the day I have my son’s undivided attention. He’s just turned seven, and he’s full of energy. He’s talked my ear off all week and I’ve learned all kinds of things about his favourite video games, go-karts, and his plans for the camping trip he and his dad just left on. I’m so thankful he gets to spend some quality time in the bush with his dad, grandpa, uncle and cousins this weekend, and I have six whole hours to myself before I pick up my girls from camp!
During the week, Wes and I went berry picking. We love strawberries, and our little patch at home has never thrived. The nearest “u-pick” strawberry patch is over an hour away, on the banks of the Peace River in Dunvegan, Alberta. It’s a beautiful site, and after we filled our pails, we wandered the grounds of the garden and enjoyed some well-deserved ice cream. I would love to paint on location there, but seven-year-old attention span was worn out by the berry excursion, so I settled for grabbing a few reference photos.
I am very inspired by the blue shadows on these pristine white peonies!
I recently finished a painting that’s all about the wild roses that we love so much here in the north. I clipped a sprig from the edge of our driveway and brought it into the studio to paint. It smelled so wonderful!
I videotaped my process and uploaded it to Youtube today. I spend a bit of time at the beginning explaining my techniques, and then fade to music as I get absorbed in painting and forget to talk to my audience. Painting like this is very energizing and intuitive, and I am so thankful for the years I spent struggling to develop technique and grow comfortable with the medium of watercolour. With that work done, I can throw myself into painting from my heart, and it’s rewarding on so many levels.