Thursday, July 30, 2009

Art in the Garden Juried Art Show

Do you enjoy experiencing an array of art and artists in a lovely garden setting?

Arts Alive,a non-profitable charitable organization, is sponsoring the 6th Annual Art in the Garden Juried Art Show this weekend, Saturday August 1st from 9AM to 6PM and Sunday, August 2nd from 10AM to 4PM.

The show will take place at the County Garden Bouquets which is a beautiful rural setting just 1.2 miles off the main road of 244th Ave SE in Enumclaw, Washington. There will be shuttle buses from the Southwood Elementary School parking lot; just follow the signs.

I am one of the artist juried into the show and will have available for purchase original watercolor paintings, prints, cards, and ceramic tiles. Other art includes
blown glass, abstract silk scarves, stone sculpture, original paintings, garden bells, whimsical garden art, garden bells, pottery, metal art, rock art, and wood turning.

It is a well-known show and people rave about it. Come join the fun!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Watercolor Wash

Did you know there are four basic washes in watercolors?

This was one of those "learn something new today" facts that came across while reading Mastering the Watercolor Wash by Joe Garcia to my art therapy client.

Joe Gracia claims that once you understand the process of how to do these washes, the world of watercolor painting opens up to you. The four washes are: flat, gradated, wet-into-wet and streaked. Painting each one requires a slightly different approach.

The flat wash looks like the name implies. There is no gradation from top to bottom or side to side. It has one value. This is a great wash for skies or buildings where a flat value is needed.

A gradated wash is one that gets progressively lighter in value. The gradated wash starts with the desired color and value and more water is added as the wash continues. It is a great wash for landscapes where mountains fade into the mist or dark rich skies fade into the horizon.

The wet-into-wet technique is the wash most often used. Colors are placed side by side on a wet surface and allowed to flow together. Soft blending is the result of this wash. Because of the wet surface there is less control. It is a great wash for controlled accidents.

The streaked wash is really a tool to get you to think about washes and texture. The color is placed on a wet surface, then you pick up your drawing board and tilt it in the direction you want the texture to run. This technique is good for showing the wind blowing the clouds or rain.

There are no rules on how washes should be done. It is up to the artist to make them work. Joe believes that practice is the key to success.

Waiting For Playmates
Joe Garcia

Saturday, July 25, 2009

ArtRageous Recap

What a FABULOUS event put on by City of Auburn Arts Commission!

Maija McKnight did a stunning job as coordinator of ArtRageous. It was a busy day at Les Gove Park in Auburn and many people participated in creating art.

My favorite was Susan Robb of Seattle with her Giant Black Toobs Art Installation. She and her partner raced to fill the Giant Toobs with air and then tack them to the ground. The Giant Toobs swayed with the atmospheric conditions of the day.

Giant Black Toobs Art Installation
Susan Robb

At my watercolor mandala painting tent, I watched young children as well as seniors creating colorful mandala paintings. Here are some young artists at work:

And believe it or not, this car was painted today by fair goers.......

I believe a fun time was had by all!

Friday, July 24, 2009


ArtRageous: Artists in Action Art Fair presented by the City of Auburn Arts Commission in celebration of its 25th Anniversary and generously supported by 4-Culture Site Specific Network.

It is held Saturday, July 25, 2009 from 11AM to 4PM at LesGove Park, 11th and Auburn Way S., Auburn, Washington.


There will be over 30 activities to encourage your inner-artist. It is for ALL ages and ALL skill levels in a fun art festival atmosphere in the park.

I will be one of the participating artists, and will provide watercolor paints and paper for fair-goers to experience creating mandalas with my guidance. I will also have prints for sale, ceramic tiles, and cards.

Come join the fun!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Entering Art Shows

Entering an art show, at any level of your career, is a wonderful means of gaining validation and recognition. For beginning artists, receiving appreciation from people other than friends and family can be very encouraging. Competition is an excellent way of building up a resume, especially if one is fortunate enough to win an award. Plus, more people may see your work, increasing the possibility of sales and getting into galleries.

Annie Strack ( work is included in a number of museum and other public and private collections. She recommends starting with small shows, and work your way up.

She says, if you are new to art competitions, you should start by entering smaller, local shows in your area. Non-juried shows, which are judged but not juried, will offer an introduction to the exhibition process and provide education about competition. This way, you can learn what judges look for and compare your entries to those of your peers. Remember, though, that non-juried shows tend to have a wider variety of entries ranging from poor to excellent, making it difficult to evaluate the quality of artwork. The hit-and-miss nature of a non-juried show means that while the event may provide you with a great opportunity to learn, a juried show will look best on your resume.

Annie believes that once you have entered a few non-juried shows, you can proceed to local and regional juried shows, and eventually work your way up to the most prestigious national juried shows. Competition at the national level is extremely tough. Winning consistently at the local and regional levels will help you develop confidence and experience as you work your way up to the national level. This will also help you learn to be more selective in choosing competitions as you progress. Only enter shows that you respect and which reflect your current level or experience, skill and expertise.

Annie recommends to enter shows known for high quality work that you would be proud to be included in.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Art Contests

When I was little I would enter coloring contests.

This evening I came across Art Contests which intrigued my interest. Apparently these contests are inspired by art companies to encourage people to use their products.

Jerry's Artarama, an online art store, has a series of painting contests throughout 2009 and into 2010. You can compete for over $13,000 in prizes. You can choose from the Charvin Plein Aire Classic Contest, the Lukas Share Your Art Contest, the Matisse End of Year Contest, or the Turner Colour Works Contest that kicks off the new year. Download the official entry forms, stock up on all the supplies you need and get ready to create.

Very clever idea. Are you game?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Light and Texture

Today I was reading to my art therapy client from the book Incredible Light and Texture in Watercolor by James Toogood.

The paintings in the book are exquisite. He provides step-by-step demonstrations to teach the basic watercolor techniques depicting light and texture. I was very impressed with how thorough he covered each subject. It is what most people ask for when learning watercolors.

James believes that talent is overrated. "Determination and persistence are more important. If you have a passion for painting, the skills can be acquired."

He feels that painting is a powerful and unique language that reaches out across borders and communicates to virtually anyone, anywhere. I know this for a fact through my involvement in the field of art therapy.

His book is rightfully named as James paints incredible light and texture into his watercolor paintings. Look how he captures the water.........

James Toogood

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sequim Artist

Besides the fabulous lavender farms at the Sequim Lavender Festival you will find outstanding artists.

Actually while the festival was going on, Sequim also had an art studio tour with 13 artists participating. I must admit, I could not fit this into my two days because my goal was to see all 7 lavender farms. But, I did get to meet several artist who had booths at the farms and at the Street Fair. Their was much to enjoy and a bit overwhelming.

I was honored to meet several of the artists who were selected for the festival's premier art of the year. I plan to create a watercolor painting to submit for next year's Lavender Festival.

I fell in love with one of Douglas Selley Byrd's reproductions of an oil painting depicting the Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm. He is a self taught artist whose inspiration comes from the impressionist painters of the 19th century. The combination of the red poppies and the lavender is stunning, and he captures the feeling quite well.

Jardin du Soleil
Selley Byrd

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sequim Lavender Festival Photos


Because I planned to spend two days in Sequim, I was able to see all seven lavender farms. What a treat! I was pleasantly impressed with the organization of such a large festival. The first day my good friend, Shelley, and I saw three farms on our drive into Sequim: Sunshine Lavender Farm, Purple Haze Lavender Farm, and Port Williams Lavender Farm. The second day we took the tour bus which was extremely convenient and visited Lost Mountain Lavender Farm, Cedar Brook Lavender Farm, Jardin du Soleil Lavender Farm, and Olympic Lavender Farm.

Olympic Gentle Paws, a local pet therapy organization offered FREE PET SITTING at the Lavender Festival Street Fair. You could leave your dog in a safe, secure, shaded environment. The dogs were in crates or kennels with plenty of water and attention. What a great idea!

I ate lavender ice cream, and sampled other lavender treats. My hands were bathed in lavender soap and lavender lotion. My nose had a lavender extravaganza. My ears listened to various music from jazz to electric fiddle.

I brought home two lavender plants, lavender bubble bath, lavender essential oils, and a lovely print of an oil painting by Selley Byrd of my favorite lavender farm, Jardin du Soleil.

As promise, here are some photos I took.......

Purple Haze Lavender Farm

Olympic Lavender Farm

Lost Mountain Lavender Farm

Jardin du Soleil

Jadin du Soleil Lavender Farm

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sequim Lavender Festival

I am off to the The 13th Annual Sequim Lavender Festival.

It is the premier celebration of the joys of lavender and the largest lavender festival in North America. Sequim is located on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, cradled in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains and Olympic National Park.

The Sequim-Dungeness Valley has an ideal microclimate for growing lavender and with less than 20 inches of rain per year; the area is similar to the Provence region of France. Because of the unique conditions and dedicated farmers, Sequim lavender has received world-wide recognition for its superior quality and fragrance. The farmers have over 200 years of combined experience cultivating lavender, developing the best planting and growing practices, and creating lavender products.

The Festival includes seven lavender farms to tour and a street fair. Each farm is unique and you find an incredible array of vendors. I went to the festival in 2005 and remember trying lavender ice cream, lavender cheese cake, and lavender chocolate. I also learned how to make a lavender wreath. This time I am going for two days and hoping to see ALL the gardens!

Me in a Sea of Lavender

I will have more pictures to post when I return.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Interesting Art Facts

Did you know that. . . .

Most artists are left handed

Giclee prints are just high quality ink-jet prints on fancy paper or canvas

Art has surpassed the stock market in appreciation over the past twenty years

Art prices are set just like other prices--by supply and demand

Most art buyers acquire it to enhance their home interiors

Most couples do not agree on artwork for their home, initially

Fluorescent lighting causes more fading of artwork than incandescent lighting

Added lighting almost always enhances any painting, regardless of style or color

Lighting on a painting needs to be dimmer at night and brighter during the day

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another Canvas

I am having so much fun creating space and atmosphere in my new house.

Having an entire room for my art studio is delightful. I ordered two daylight fixtures that were on sale at Jerry's Artarama, an online art store. I am creating two additional painting areas in my studio so that I can work on more than one painting at a time. Next I am going to build a shelf in the closet so that full size watercolor paper can fit. That will be a treat!

I am feeling guilty that I have not painted in a long time, but my creative energy has been directed to organizing space and decorating. I have only hung a few paintings, so far.

On a side note, I am visualizing the landscape around my house as another canvas to work on. Karen Lohmann of Matsushima Landscaping in Olympia is helping me with the design. Today I went to see the gardens she designed for Samara. WOW!

At some point in time there will be pictures posted of my canvases. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Henry Miller on Painting - Part 4

Being that Henry Miller is also highly skilled at the written word, I am taken by his clarity in describing the the process of creating art.

Here is a passage from a letter written for Henry's friend Emil Schnellock in the book, Paint As You Like And Die Happy.

"The greatest joy, and the greatest triumph, in art comes at the moment when, realizing to the fullest your grip over the medium, you deliberately sacrifice it in the hope of discovering a vital hidden truth within you. It comes like a reward for patience-this freedom of mastery which is born of the hardest discipline. Then,no matter what you do or say, you are absolutely right and nobody dare criticize you.

I sense this very often in looking at Picasso's work. The great freedom and spontaneity he reveals is born, one feels, because of the impact, the pressure, the support of the whole being which, for an endless period, has been subservient to the discipline of the spirit. The most careless gesture is as right, as true, as valid, as the most carefully planned strokes. This I know,and nobody could convince me to the contrary. Picasso here is only demonstrating a wisdom of life which the sage practices on another, higher level."

Thought provoking, isn't it?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"A Good Idea"

I just finished hanging twenty of my watercolor paintings and watercolor collage paintings at the Lynnwood Library Art Gallery.

Within a day I received a call from an artist who complimented me on not only my paintings, but also the way I matted and framed the art.

Let me explain. I came up with a process which is easy for me and displays well because the art is uniform in size and color.

I like to paint on a half-sheet of watercolor paper and I matte all my paintings with a double matte; a pebble white with 1/4 inch charcoal inner matte. My choice being that a white matte allows the color of the watercolor painting to "pop" as my friend, Deb, likes to say. My paintings tend to be colorful.

The outside dimension of the matte is 18" x 24." It is a standard size for frames and makes it easy for customers to change frames if they choose. I use the frosted silver thin metal frame for most of my paintings which gives them the uniform look when in a solo show.

I think you can get an idea from this photo of my art exhibit at Reflections Gallery in Olympia, Washington.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Henry Miller on Painting - Part 3

I must share more of Henry's writing in regards to watercolor painting. It is from the book, Paint As You Like And Die Happy.

"Yes, to paint is to love again, live again, see again. To get up at the crack of dawn in order to take a peek at the watercolors one did the day before, or even a few hours before, is like stealing a look at the beloved while she sleeps. The thrill is even greater if one has first to draw back the curtains. How they glow in the cold light of early dawn! Another hour or two and they will already have lost some of their gleam and sparkle. Coming on them by surprise this way they give the impression of having slept all night with their eyes open.

Is there any writer who rouses himself at daybreak in order to read the pages of his manuscript? Perish the thought!

Another thrill, almost as great as catching the sleeper awake, is to see one's work matted and framed. Suddenly the paintings assume another, fuller, richer character. Properly dressed, they are now ready to visit the queen or any high dignitary. Comes the problem how and where to show them to full advantage. There never is enough wall space, alas."

Henry really gets to the heart of painting.

What do you think?

Henry Miller on Painting - Part 2

Henry Miller describes the "artist eye" in the book Paint As You Like And Die Happy.

"To paint is to love again. It's only when we look with eyes of love that we see as the painter sees. His is a love, moreover, which is free of possessiveness. What the painter sees he is duty bound to share. Usually he makes us see and feel what ordinarily we ignore or are immune to. His manner of approaching the world tells us, in effect, that nothing is vile or hideous, nothing is stale, flat, and unpalatable unless it be our own power of vision. To see is not merely to look. One must look-see. See into and around. Or, as John Marin once put it, 'Art must show what goes on in the world.'"

Henry shares about how he was transformed when he first began to view the world with the eyes of a painter. The most familiar things, objects which he had gazed at all his life, now became an unending source of wonder and affection.

Henry Miller

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lynnwood Arts Commission Gallery Exhibit

The City of Lynnwood has an active Arts Commission.

I just returned from hanging 20 watercolor paintings and watercolor collage paintings in the Lynnwood Arts Commission Gallery located inside the Lynnwood Library, 19200 44th Ave W, Lynnwood 98036.

Each month a different regional artist exhibits art in this spacious gallery which is free to the public. Artists are juried once a year for this opportunity. I am honored to be selected.

Here is a schedule for the remainder of this year.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Henry Miller on Painting - Part 1

Henry Miller shuts off the "thinking machine" and arbitrarily chooses color when he paints.

"If I happen to put my brush into red paint I begin with red; if blue, then it's blue. What difference does it make? I begin is the thing, begin anywhere, anyhow. So it goes. What results is not of my bidding. It's either the work of the devil or my guardian angel. I can take no credit for the performance.

There is something else to be said about this immediate, spontaneous way of working, and that is this: in such moments one is playing at the game of creation. And if we are to believe the ancients, creation is play. The very nature of creation betokens the unpredictable and unrepeatable."

Excerpts from Henry Miller's essay; Paint as You Like and Die Happy

Ideas to contemplate......

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back to the Drawing Board

It has been about a week since blogging and painting. My new canvas, my house, has been consuming my creativity.

I am looking forward to setting up my studio, but must wait until the floor is done which I hope will be this week. I have been missing painting and tonight will create a mandala with my traveling set of watercolor pencils.

In the meantime I have been reading a fun book: The Paintings of Henry Miller; Paint As You Like And Die Happy. It is a book that is out of print and first published in 1960. It is the same Henry Miller the famous writer.

Painting, for Henry, was more than an enthusiasm. It was a passion, yet he was curiously self-effacing about this side of his life. He painted for the sheer pleasure of picking up the brush "to see what happens." During his lean Big Sur years, he often spent more time painting than writing and watercolors became his economic salvation. He freely bartered them for food, clothing, and anything else he needed - a cord of wood, a tank of gas. The beauty of it was he assigned no denomination and exchanged them for anything from a song to a month's groceries. Value was a matter of the moment - and the heart. In order to create the book, the author had to find Henry's art.

The paintings in the book are organized by decades along with three essays. I will share more in the next blog. Stay tuned........

Henry Miller