New Institute for Higher Learning in the Arts Opening Soon

It’s almost official. A logo has been designed and the board has approved it. We have elected our klass president. I am polishing my pencils, and waxing my watercolors for the first day of school. It will be here before you know it. We decided to call our art institute BARK University or BARK U. based on the response from the 3 blog readers who gave me feedback when I asked for an opinion on a name for my new school.

Since I made myself Dean of WaterCOLOR, I got to choose my 2 favorite complementary colors for our school colors, Permanent Rose and Leaf Green. We don’t have any problems finding a mascot either, Pace volunteered. Our campus will have several locations. The main campus will be in my home studio in San Marcos, other campus’ may include a local farm, a bullet train in Kyoto, a barge in Central Germany, the beach in Encinitas and of course there will be a location in Italy. I may have to take a field trip to Italy soon to find the perfect location.

I hope you like our  logo

I hope you like our logo

Top Secret Map for the Germany BargeWatercolor Trip

This morning I drew this map for you so you could see where you are going after the bus picks you up in Frankfurt and drives you to Bamburg, where you’ll board the barge for your 7 night watercolor travel adventure.

No one else has seen this map yet, you are the first. This will be Anywhere Art’s 38th tour and our 1st trip to Germany! That’s why the map is top secret! We’ve never seen the beautiful scenery of central Germany. However, now that we have this map, we are going exploring and will probably discover new watercolor locations to sketch that have never been captured by enquiring, curious anywhere artists, ever! Plus we will find treasure along this route in the form of new experiences, new tastes, new beers, new sights, new shoes and more.

Email me today if you’d like more information.

This map shows the route we will sail along and the towns we will visit in Central Germany.

This map shows the route we will sail along and the towns we will visit in Central Germany.

Future Art Class Planning

This morning is cool and cloudy in San Diego. I sat down to brainstorm new teaching ideas. Pace, the new pup, (newly adopted and 8 years old), joined me and came up with some excellent ideas.

I’ve been planning to continue teaching weekly classes in my home studio. Plus I’ve been wanting to provide drawing and painting lessons for those of you who can’t make it to my house. I think Pace came up with a solution to accomplish both in studio lessons and distance lessons. He wants me to create a curriculum called BARK, which stands for Barbara’s Art Relaxed Klass. I told him and Rick that Yesterday I was happy to hear the students in my Escondido class comment that my class was relaxed.

I am not sure if BARK has the right degree of professionalism an educational institute needs. I was think more along the lines of Watercolor and Drawing School or WADS.

What do you think? Details on my school and lessons coming soon.


Faber-Castell Art Supplies Are My Favorites!

Look at your stash of art supplies today and see if you have any forest green colored pencils or any watercolor pencils or anything else with the Faber-Castell name or logo written on it. I discovered their Albrecht Durer Watercolor pencils years ago and they are my favorites because they are solid, full of bright color and durable.

My second Faber-Castell product that I purchased in Paris is a pencil sharpener that rides on top of my pencil and allows me to sharpen my pencil anywhere without having to search for a sharpener. I especially love it because it doesn’t take up much space in the little art supply box I carry around almost everywhere I go.

Maybe today or tomorrow I am going to post on my trip page about my next barge trip for Anywhere Artists. We are going to Germany to cruise along the Main River! I’ve never been to Germany but I have always said if I ever get to Germany I want to go to the Faber-Castell headquarters. WELL, I googled their headquarters location and it turns out it is in the town of Stein. Stein is very close to Bamberg one of the first stops on our barge tour. I spoke with the tour company and we can arrange to visit Stein and tour the Factory, Museum and Castle! Can you believe it? Faber-Castell has a castle Here is a link to Faber-Castell !


Dangerous Watercolor Painting

I am working on some paintings to use as examples for my Miracosta Saturday class. The assignment involves arranging candy placed on a grid to make a pleasing composition.

I’ve chosen to paint Halloween candy because you can buy a bag of all kinds of colorful sweets. The assignment became dangerous when I also purchased a bag of unwrapped candy corn to round out the composition. So I paint a stroke and pop a piece of candy corn into my mouth. How many strokes in a painting? How many calories?


Travel Watercolor Supplies Review

Every trip I take I bring along a different configuration of art supplies based on what worked well and what didn’t on previous trips.

For the trip to Amsterdam, I took a much smaller palette then I have in the past. The previous trip I brought a light weight palette made out of a recycled pencil tin. The pencil tin held over 15 colors of paint but it felt too flimsy. So this trip I took a pocket palette made by the German manufacturer Schmicke that is quite solid but little.

Along with the pocket palette I took along a little collaspible metal cup which was a winner! It didn’t take up much room and gave me two containers to hold water, both the cup itself as well as the lid. A thin travel hair spray atomizer came along on the trip as well as some flat Richeson travel brushes I bought from Dick Blick and my amazing kolinsky sable #2 pocket brush made by Rosemary and Company .

Two mechanical pencils came along and an eraser plus a regular pencil and a sharpener. And one or two thin tipped waterproof pens. That was it. I did not want to drag around too much and I wanted everything portable and light enough so I could take it with me everywhere. Everything was placed in a small wooden cigar box I got from my friend Viv. I believe she traded chocolate chip cookies for it.

Oh and I cannot forget the wonky sketchbook I took along that I made myself. I usually sew my watercolor paper into the cover of a vintage book. This trip I decided to make a lighter weight sketchbook. I created a sort of landscape sketchbook filled with watercolor and mixed media paper with light cardboard on the back and front. When it came to bind it all together I couldn’t figure out a nice looking functional binding so I took a deep breath and drilled two holes threw the covers and all the pages and strung them together with a shoelace. Oh yes, it was embarrassing but it worked well and Bev, one of the wonderful ladies on my trip showed me how to bind it in a more formal looking way. I may get around to fixing the binding someday…..


RijksMuseum, Amsterdam

When our tour ended we spent our last day in Amsterdam with a visit to the Rijks Museum. It is a wonderful museum. We took a quick “ highlights tour” which was helpful because there are so many paintings in the museum. Here are some pictures of my favorite paintings, stained glass and a tired Eileen.


We Dock in Amsterdam

Last night we left Hoorn and set sail for Amsterdam. We reached land by nightfall and were able to see Amsterdam “after dark” with our guide, Hans. We walked through Amsterdam’s Chinatown and the famous red light district.

In the morning we returned to the city to explore some more. Here is a group photo we took in Rembrant Square in front of the statue based on his painting.


Hello from Hoorn

We explored the town of Hoorn on a beautiful sunny day.



In Enkhuzien we all got off the boat to spend a few hours exploring. Several of us returned to the boat with drawings and photos of this building to finish painting on the boat. Great watercolor minds think alike!



We visited Twisk, which is a long narrow one road village filled with beautiful homes. I painted with some of my students in this garden


Many Sights of Northern Netherlands

We have continued voyaging on our barge through the North of Holland. Here are just a few of the pictures I’ve taken along the way.


Land and Sea

After spening a morning in the town of Bergen we set sail for the island of Trexel. It was an exhilarating sail on the high seas of the Atlantic to cross to the island. For a land lubbing artist like myself, the crossing was a big adventure! The wine bottles rode across on the floor to avoid falling when the waves rocked the boat.


The town of Trexel is filled with sea faring images I am busy photographing for future classes to paint. I am going to branch out from laundry and lavender fields to boats and sea gear, maybe.


Anne FrankHouse

Have you read Anne Frank’s Diary ? It’s the story of a young Jewish girl who hid from the Nazi’ for 2 years with her family in the attic of her father’s business. While in hiding she kept a diary which her father published after he came home from the concentration camp. He was the only survivor of his family, as Anne, her sister and mother died in the concentration camps just before the war ended.

We listened to a short presentation before we toured the attic rooms. It explained about Hitler’s rise to power and how he placed restrictions on the Jews of Amsterdam so they were not allowed places, could only shop in certain stores, could not go to public places and were not even allowed to sit in in their backyards. Then we toured the attic rooms which were emptied by the Nazi’s after they took the Franks away on the last train to the camps. I had’’t known that they might have survived if they had stayed in hiding a little longer. I also learned more about the dedication and risks their friends took to hid them. I am so glad we were able to visit her home and see the reality of her life.



We arrived in Amsterdam yesterday afternoon. The city is very easy to navigate and charming sketchable scenery is everywhere. I was too groggy with jet lag to take many pictures and most of my focus was on crossing streets without getting in the way of a bicycle and not losing the humongous umbrella I borrowed from our hotel.

We did get caught in an afternoon downpour so clutching the umbrella all afternoon paid off. We visited the Van Gogh museum which has an amazing collection of his paintings and great explanations. I learned he only painted for 10 years!

Here are a few views from our dinner last night.


Anywhere Art Goes Onboard

We are in Minneapolis making our way to the Netherlands where myself and 16 students are going to be traveling on a barge through the canals while we scribble and paint in our sketchbooks for 7 days. Next posting from Amsterdam!


Top Secret Watercolor Protector Paper Reveal

I was able to preserve the painting in my journal I did this afternoon by using the “Page Protector Paper” I found at the Sacramento airport. See the results in the pictures below and judge for yourself if you want to use this “special” page protector paper in YOUR watercolor journals


Finding Travel Art Supplies at the Airport

Discovering what art supplies work best for travel watercolor painting has become a quest for me. Until a few minutes ago I hadn’t found the right material to lay on top of a not-quite-dry watercolor painting in my journal. Sometimes you need to close your painting journal at a moment’s notice and get on a bus, plane or or train or get out of the way of a parade.

I always advise my students to use the words, “ what if” to stimulate their creative thinking skills. So, I looked around the airport and happened on some paper designed for another purpose, that looked like it just might be thin and crisp enough to not absorb and remove too much wet watercolor paint when pressed between the pages of my watercolor journal. When I land I’ll report how well it worked. And by the way I also found some artist’s tissue in the same location I found the page separating material.


August Drawing Practice For You

This summer I have been having a lot of fun with the classes I have been teaching at Miracosta College. I may have mentioned that I put together a new class topic, which I call “Mindful, Observational Watercolor Sketching”. Oh wow! You could call it call it MOWS!

What is MOWS all about you ask? It is a combination of drawing techniques that help you focus closely on what you are seeing and drawing + some cognitive therapy techniques to stop you from criticizing your drawing which interrupts your drawing process and takes you out of the present, mindful mood you slip into when you are observing closely and drawing.

I have prepared a worksheet for you which I hope you can print out and use at home. Below is a daily calendar for August. Do you think you might want to look at something once a day and sketch it in its corresponding date box? I’ve started with some examples in the July boxes so you can see the drawings don’t have to be complex or perfect, just draw the lines you see and throw in some shading if you are in the mood.

Aug. Calendar for Drawing.jpeg