I have to admit, I’m getting a little obsessed with learning how to paint with watercolor. There are so many different paints by different manufacturers and I’ve been trying them all to see what the difference is. Recently, I came across a line of watercolor paints that I just love! This brand is called Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus and they are made right here in Colorado. These paints don’t come in tubes or pans. They are mixed with water and you use them by dropping color onto palette and using it immediately, without having to mix it yourself. This makes everything much faster and since the color is always the same strength when it comes out of the bottle, I find I have an easier time mixing the colors as well since that takes one less variable out of the equation. I just have 6 colors to play with right now (cool and warm values of each of the 3 primaries) so I am in the process of making my color charts.
For this painting, made in Ron Platt’s class on Craftsy, I used SoHo Urban Artist watercolors — a highly pigmented watercolor paint they say is “student” grade but frankly, I didn’t see any difference between these colors and the expensive brands like Windsor-Newton and Daniel Smith. So I’ll stick with the inexpensive brands for now but put my money into high quality paper since that really makes a difference!
If you want to learn watercolor from a really good teacher, I highly recommend Ron Platt. Use this link to save up to 50% off his class. Come paint with me!
Last year, I was fortunate to be introduced to Janet Rundquist when we were taking a class together at the Art Students League of Denver. I was even more fortunate to have her beautiful abstracts hanging in my gallery for two months. Just being surrounded by these lovely compositions and vibrant color, inspired me to re-look at my own work and wonder how I could achieve such beauty using fabric as my medium.
Visit her new website and you can see many more of her pieces to be inspired by!
Yesterday, I taught a class on how to move from a hobbiest to professional and it included a discussion on self publishing a book. It was a three hour seminar that was chock full of information I have learned over the past 5 years and I wanted to share with fellow fiber artists. I was amazed at how many people in our small community were interested in this topic and who all wanted to become full time fiber artists, earning a good living.
It takes a lot of courage and determination to follow the path to becoming a professional and it also takes an investment of money in order to create all the products and marketing tools needed for success.
When I decided to pursue this dream, I was disappointed that the “mavens” of the Fiber Art world in Colorado didn’t offer to help me. So I decided to begin mentoring upcoming artists myself and give them a leg up. I think it is important to help other people and it is a responsibility for those who have “made it” to help others achieve the same success. I did this when I was working in the publishing industry and now, I want to do the same in the fiber art community.
I hope to develop a reputation where anyone can feel free to call on me for advice, and I will give that advice freely. Do you have questions? Is this a path you want to pursue? Let’s start a discussion right here!
Last week, a reporter called me and asked if he could interview me about being a Craftsy instructor. Of course, I said “sure” come on over.
He appeared at my gallery and spent an hour asking me lots of questions. As I LOVE teaching on Craftsy, it was easy to talk about my experiences with this fabulous company. At the end, he said “So, I guess you are telling me there is nothing negative about filming a class for Craftsy” and I said yes! Exactly!
A couple of days later, a photographer showed up to snap a few (over 100!) photos to illustrate the article. Here is the one that was chosen and you can see the piece I’m working on now, hopefully, to finish next week. As you can see, I’m getting away from “lines” and going into circles. This background was dyed by my friend and master dyer, Susan Brooks.
Here’s a link to the front page article that appeared in our local weekly newspaper. Westword article
At the end of the year, I like to reflect on what I accomplished, did I meet my goals, and where should I focus my efforts for next year.
This year was a bit of a challenge from unexpected health issues. Something I guess we all face as we get older. So I cut back on my teaching/traveling but a a side bonus, I produced more fiber art this year than in any other year! So, as my creative output increased, so did my ideas for creating different work in the future. As usual, when new ideas pop into my head, it sometimes takes many months to gel into a workable concept and that’s where I am right now. As soon as I finish my current piece, I will need to change directions and challenge myself more. Always a scary transition for artists.
As I blogged about lately, I’ve taken up the challenge of learning a new media — watercolor. I am having a lot of fun mixing colors, painting, and just seeing what expressing myself with this new media is all about. The combination of online and in-person classes are a wonderful way to progress at your own pace. I don’t know where this will take me in the future and that’s part of the appeal!
Next year, I already know I’m back on the road teaching and lecturing in person and I always look forward to these trips because I meet the nicest people. But I also know that next year, I am determined to develop a new body of fiber art. And, in the back of my mind, I know I need to write another book. So I think if I can do those two things, it will be a lot!
Today is Christmas Eve and I wish you all a joyous holiday season and a wonderful New Year!