Friday, November 22, 2013

20 "Gotta Have It" Art Studio Tools

Got tabby? Always.
Happy Friday everyone! Recently AHA featured a podcast about "favorite artists products”—(I don’t know about you but I really love these “checklist”shows.) This show inspired me to look around the studio and share my own “must have” studio stuff.

These are “tried and true” tools (rather than brushes, knives, and paint) I keep near my easel and use almost every day. Most are fairly inexpensive and low tech. With a few exceptions...

My iPad is a splurge but honestly, it’s changed my art life. So here are 20 items that I at least for me make my creative life a little easier and more enjoyable--hope they help make your art life a breeze too!
  1. iPad—holds my reference photos, paint from it, crop, watch art demos...
  2. Joby iPad holder (Note this one is for original iPad)
  3. Crank easels (old, new—Don’t get me started on the ratchet or sliding kind.)
  4. Gray palette paper (like the mid tone and don’t care for glass)
  5. Mini plastic spring clamps (assorted sizes)
  6. Green Frog tape (varies widths—it’s a ruler on a roll!)
  7. Large and small T-Square and rulers (great for quick canvas or paper gridding)
  8. Saral transfer paper—especially the white/yellow—Just comes in handy
  9. Big Sharpie and Post it Note Pad (good for supply notes, title ideas, etc.)
  10. Rolling red taboret cart from Harbor Freight (see my post on taborets)
  11. Red plastic value sheets (red acetate from art store)
  12. Foam plates and foam brushes
  13. Good old Kemper Wipe Out Tool (or similar)
  14. Round grippy rubber jar opener (from dollar store, hardware, etc.)
  15. Adjustable height rolling drafting chair (no arms)
  16. Paper towels: Bounty (watermedia) and Viva (oil media)
  17. Hand creams (Aveda, Skin Safer, and my new fav: Desert Essence Vanilla Chai--yummy!)
  18. Winsor Newton Brush Cleaner (non toxic but powerful)
  19. Old mats/frames for checking composition
  20. And most importantly...A studio manager/muse. Mine are always striped and furry. 
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out the paintings from my YUPO workshop--Plan to post more YUPO paintings soon but this week I'm working on a large 3 panel oil painting commission. So I better grab some of these tools and get back to work!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flying High with YUPO + Birds!

"Groovy Bird" watercolor and gouache on YUPO (9x12)--collection artist
I had a fantastic Saturday yesterday thanks to all the creative artists who attended my YUPO/bird painting workshop. Thank you again to the Heritage Fine Arts Guild for inviting me to share my passion for YUPO painting -as well as birds! A perfect painting match IMHO!

Much like my YUPO painting above, the workshop artists began with an abstract background using watercolors to which we added texture (stamping, stencils, lifting, salt, etc.). Many of the artists then worked their bird painting into their abstract painting. (I plan to post a step by step demo on this technique soon.)

Artist Sue rolled black gouache around her rooster shape--Love the colors and texture!
How sweet is this colorful hummingbird??
Beatrice working on her lovely snowy cardinal.
Since YUPO is "erasable" your subject can be developed using a positive or negative approach which yields really cool and unique effects. At the end of workshop we had at least 20 great paintings to show for our hard work. I wish I could post every one but here are just a few of the inspirational paintings that took flight! Awesome work ladies!
Great example of abstract with representational component. 

Anita added colorful leaf printing (from real ones) to her vibrant rooster--which looks great on YUPO!
A lovely jay on a really high energy background.
A gorgeous owl in progress--love all the color splatter!
Beautiful cool colors in Amber's abstract and texture painting.
My sincere thanks again ladies (guys you'd enjoy YUPO too!) for sharing your creative time with me on a Saturday!! I know your paintings will help to inspire other artists (as they did me) to give YUPO a try (or another chance!) the next time you want to "play" or just re-energize!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

From Beignets to Gators: NOLA in November

Natchez Riverboat on the Mississippi
"New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”  Mark Twain

Where have I been?? As a lifelong “Francophile” and artist one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit for as long as I can remember was New Orleans. Last week I had the very good fortune to get a first rate tour of such an amazing place from a good friend who was born there. If you happen to know someone from NOLA you know they are among the friendliest and most generous folks on the planet. There's nothing like a local guide for a first time trip--thanks Deb--I can see why you love (and miss) your home!

Mmm...Piping hot chocolate bread pudding @ Red Fish Grill!
But before I get back to the easel I wanted to share some of my favorite photos and sweet memories from the beautiful Crescent City... Am sure I’ll be painting some NOLA inspired paintings soon…
Beautiful boats and reflections on Lake Pontchartrain

Artist station at the Mardi Gras Warehouse where they create colorful floats year round.
The magical Honey Island Swamp--Like nothing I'd ever seen....
Lovely statue in Audubon Park
Who can resist a fruity glowing green cocktail on the famous Pat O's patio?

Thank you again to everyone who helped make my first trip to NOLA a true artist’s delight! Can't wait to visit again but now it's time to get back to work. It’s going to be a super busy week in the studio painting and getting ready for my YUPO and bird painting workshop next Saturday. Look forward to seeing you there!