Thursday, April 26, 2012

Artwork featured on Strathmore's Facebook page

Wow!  My peeps, visualizing three techniques done as part of the Strathmore online class is being featured on the Strathmore Art Papers Facebook site ad one of the pieces created by the members of the online workshop!

It was a wonderful workshop, and I am so pleased that Strathmore offered it.  If your at all interested, the workshop will be open until August.  Once you register you will have access to all the instructional videos and files as well as access to see students artwork and discussions.

Monday, April 23, 2012

ATC swap

Several of the artists from the Strathmore on-line workshop participated in an ATC swap.  ATC stands for 'Artist Trading Card'.  Each participantin sent 6 ATC cards to the swap host, who sent us each back 6 cards from 6 other artists.  There wasn't a theme for this swap, so the artists could choose the media and subject matter for each card.  For my cards I made watercolor miniatures similar to some of the journal entries I had done for the class, which you can see in the below photo.

I followed the directions on how to make an inexpensive paper holder to mail the ATC card in on this Utube video.  Packed the cards up and mailed them off, crossing my fingers they would survive the postal system.  Then waited expectantly for my envelope of ATC swap cards.

Since I sent my cards in so late it was only a little more then a week before an envelope with six ATC cards from other Artists arrived in my mail box.  The cards are lovely, and I enjoyed talking with the artists who made the cards.  It was great fun participating in the ATC swap.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Joyce's Irises

The irises are blooming!  I love iris, in all their many forms and colors, so it was great to have a chance to paint several different ones.  Irises have been the muse for many artists through the centuries: Claude MonetGeorgia O'Keeffe, and of course Vincent Van Gogh.  Iris was a Greek goddess and messenger for the gods, linking the gods to humanity.  She was personified by the rainbow.  It seems fitting that the Iris flowers which display all the colors of the rainbow would be named after her.

Our pond has tall Blue Flag irises, blue and purple are the most common iris colors.  In contrast, Joyce's pond has these wonderful tall brilliant Yellow Flag irises.  So yellow that they seem to glow in the sun light.  These are a type of irises that grow best in very wet soil (bogs and ponds).  They grow from rhizomes, which grow out of the submerged pots and form large mats.  They are a great pond plant since they help keep the water clean.  In fact, this plant is used by water purification plants to remove nutrients and pollutants from agricultural runoff.

In addition to our pond irises, we have a few small Dwarf crested iris (photo above), White Cemetery iris and lovely grape scented lavender colored Sweet Iris, but Joyce has several beds of irises containing every color imaginable.  She has both the bulbous Dutch iris and  bearded rhizomatous iris.  The flowers are similar, but can often look very different.  Each flowers has three sepals which curve downwards, and in some of the rhizomatous irises the sepals have an area that contains lines and dots called a 'beard'.  There are three pedals which usually stand upright behind the sepals.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Easter cards

I have a friend who makes the most wonderful mixed media cards for every occasion.  I love receiving cards from her because they are so unique and fun.

The other day when I was at the art store I discovered Strathmore makes watercolor cards.  All they needed was some ink and paint and voila instant cards ready to mail.  I had plans to make several but, only managed to get two made before Easter.  One for my Mother and the other for my Mother-Inlaw.  The cards are almost the same size as my journal pages, so I was able to use previous journal entries (lesson in negative painting and Joyce's Camelias) as the basis for the cards which saved me some planning time.

While it may not be 'instant' card, it was pretty quick and easy to do, and I think the cards turned out nicely.  My only concern was mailing them.  I had used Strathmores watercolor postcards before while traveling and because of fears about mailing a watercolor had brought them home with me and hand delivered them.  I keep thinking I should use a fixative, but haven't figured out what fixative I should use. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Canola fields

On a recent drive through the country side I saw several fields of bright yellow crops, that remind me of the numerous fields of yellow rapeseed we had seen on a trip to Scotland several years ago.  Just as before, I marveled at the bright yellow color and how the shadows played across the fields.

This field is growing a cultivar of rapeseed known as Canola, that was developed in Canada.  I am not sure if its the Biodisel industry or an increase in the use of Canola oil for cooking and animal feed, but this year I have seen many fields of the bright yellow flowers.

Watercolor with splatter and ink on mixed-media 90lb Strathmore paper.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Cherokee Rose flower study

I did this flower studies for the lesson 3 of the Strathmore online class.  Its a close up of a single Cherokee Rose.  The small roses in the border were done using an opaque white watercolor on top of the green branches and leaves.

This rose originated in China and was introduced to to US in the late 1700's.  It was naturalized throughout the Southeastern US, and became so common that the State of Georgia made it the State Flower in 1916.

We have an old Cherokee Rose in our backyard.   It was placed to grow along the fence, however it seems to like growing up more then sideways.  The large recurved thorns help it scale the near by trees, mostly un-noticed until the branches return to the sunlight and cascade back down to the ground.  Periodically the bush is trimmed back.  Currently they go about 15 feet up and 15 feet back down to the ground, even starting new bushes.  When in bloom it creates a curtain of green and white that is amazing to see.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spanish Bluebell flower study

I did this flower study for one of the sketches I did for lesson three of the Strathmore online class I took.  Its a close up of Spanish Bluebells, both a single stalk and a single flower.  According to legend, the bells of the flowers ring at midnight calling the fairies.  I can easily imagine the bells in the garden ringing, fairies gathering on the rocks and trees surrounding the bluebells while others dance around the base of the birdbath.

Spanish Bluebells can be distinguished from English Bluebells, but their straight stems, lack of fragrance, and larger more numerous flowers that have petals that do not fully curl back.  The Spanish Bluebell has become an invasive species in England where it out competes and hybridizes with the native English Bluebell.
Neither Spanish or English Bluebells are related to our Virginia Bluebells (pictured left), which are in a totally different family.