Learn To Make Watercolor Sketches (Journal Style) This Sunday, Oct. 22 at Artist & Craftsman Supply in San Diego 11am-2pm

I am back from my workshop in France and preparing to teach a workshop that will give you the skills to create watercolor sketches anywhere.

I designed a new cirriculum to get people to step into sketching anywhere with more ease. The students who painted and sketched with me in France produced more drawings in their journals than ever so I can see my new method worked! 

You can attend my Sunday cass by emailing me at: anywhereart4u@gmail.com and signing up. The fee is $25 for this 3 hour class and you bring your own art supplies or purchase what you need in the shop before class. I will come 15 minutes early for anyone needing help to find supplies. 

Looking foward to seeing those of you this Sunday if you'd like to learn or improve your anywhere art making skills. 

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End of Trip Issues

It is the end of our trip. We are packing up. I just dont't understand why my suitcase won't close.  It couldn't possibly be because I bought too many souvenirs and I didn't even purchase one pair of shoes. Did my suitcase shrink?

Hmmm. 3 meters of French Peovence Style fabric should not take up that much room, should it? Nor should a sweater, French pj's, a fountain pen and ten bars of chocolate, right? 

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Memoire from France

Here is a postcard for you so you can remember our trip to France to paint. 

We enjoyed everything and breakfast was always special. 

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Visiting Gordes and the Abbaye de Sennaque

Today we explored more of Provence.  

The Abbaye is an extremely calm space. There was no lavender in bloom but there were no crowds either. We all painted the abbaye. 

The Abbaye is an extremely calm space. There was no lavender in bloom but there were no crowds either. We all painted the abbaye. 

 We also visited the hilltop village of Gordes. 

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Then we came back to our b& b and finished our paintings on the patio.

Good Day in Provence

Hardworking students, delicious food, fabulous chef and breakfast at SousL'Olivier with 12 types of homemade jam. 

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Drawing Treasure Hunt

Yesterday was the drawing treasure hunt for our workshop.  I gave each student directions on how many steps to take and things to draw throughout the small village of Martel.

The results of the treasure hunt were good. Everyone felt it helped them draw and look a lot more.

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Oradour Sur Glan

We visited the village of Oradour Sur Glan today.  Every single building in the village was destroyed by the Nazis near the end of WWII. The Nazis also brutally murdered 642 people of the 647 people who lived in the village.  Charles DeGaulle decided the destroyed village needed to be preserved so we would not forget the horrors of WWII. 

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A museum was built to explain the timeline, background and history of the war and the massacre. 

This visit was a thought provoking moving experience and definitely gave us all a lot to reflect upon.

 

 

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Prehistoric Artists

Ever wondered how making art began? No, prehistoric man did not go to Michaels with a supply list and then attend a class.

It's really not known the exact time that man began making art or the reason why.  Today we visited the National Museum of Prehistory which had exhibits of many of the tools used by prehistoric man to make his art. The tools evolved over time because of available materials and experience.  Some of the tools incised or scratched the pictures on the cave walls. Some were made from mesasorus and raindeer antlers. You can see in the photo on the left below, a stick that was made especially for putting paint on the cave wall, like the drawing behind the reindeer on the bottom right. 

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We Really Are Painting in France

Despite the amount of dessert photos I've posted on Instagram, I want you to know we are doing some painting. We've been out touring some of the "most beautiful villages of France" and doing some painting. 

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Here is a study in my watercolor journal that I did as a demo today in the village of Loubressac. Here is what I am telling my students to keep in mind: 

When you look at the landscape you see too much, so you have to find a small portion of the landscape to paint.  

Pick a subject you are interested in.  

Begin your painting with a pencil outline of the basic shapes you see. 

Study the shadows and paint when you have good shadows.  

Add your shadows quickly before they change. 

Take a photo, make color notes and finish your painting later. Then go eat French desserts. 

Cougnac Cave Inspiration

Today we were able to view a small, prehistoric cave that contained images painted on the smooth portions of the cave walls of animals and what are believed to be human figures. 

This cave is on private property and was filled with mud for thousands of years which helped preserve the paintings.  

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This is part of an Ibex. 

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The painted black image above is believed to be a human figure being struck by spears. 

On Foot In Bordeaux

Today we continued our explorations of Bordeaux. We visited the Place du La Bourse which is a large square with a fountain in the middle and surrounded by buldings designed and from 1730-75.

Across the street is the Miroir d'eau, the world's largest reflecting pool built in 2006. Some of the Anywhere Art Explorers posed by this reflecting pool for the paparazzi.

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One of our painting assignments today was to discover and draw something you like but can't take home.   I am going to sketch and paint the item in the photo below.

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Doing Anywhere Art in the Bordeaux Hotel

We are off to an exciting start here at my watercolor workshop.  Its a tough pace but these women can handle it. They were up and ready for our first official class at 9:30 this morning. 

One of the fundamentals of making anywhere art is to make any comfortable spot into a temporary studio. This morning we all worked while seated at tables in our hotel lobby. The staff at the Hotel de Tourney is so helpful that they even pick up a brush or two for us if we accidently drop one.  

The assignments are rigorous too. Today's assignment was to find a shop sign as well as something you saw during the day but can't take home. I'll post the results tomorrow. 

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Bordeaux, France

The watercolor journaling student explorers have begun to arrive in Bordeaux, which I learned from our taxi driver yesterday, is the 6th largest city in France. I can let you know later what 1-5 are, if you really want to know.

Today we are out getting familiar with the city. From my first dinner last night in the city, I have already learned that the red wine in the photo below is very good. 

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Why Make Your (Travel) Sketchbook

When there are so many excellent sketchbooks on the market, you may wonder why I prefer to make my own sketchbooks, especially for travel painting.  

I discovered that a small medium size sketchbook is best to take on a trip because its small enough to fit in your day bag, it does't hog all thevroom in your suitcase and its small enough to place on the airplane tray table and a restaurant table. 

I love the smallest Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, but I discovered if I took it on a trip, I had to bring a bigger sketchbook as well. Also, when I got home I realized I didn't have a ordered story from my trip. I had pieces spread in two places and it was confusing.

My most important reason for making my sketchbook is so I can customize it to fit my needs. I fill it with my favorite papers, envelopes to hold my instructional materials and ephemera I find along the way. 

 

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As you can see from my photos, my sketchbook cover is a vintage recycled book jacket. I amuse myself all year looking for a book title that fits my destination. I sew the pages in with a not so perfect pamphlet stitch. It's not a difficult process, do you think you might make your own sketchbook sometime?

Where I Travel to France With A Group of Intrepid Watercolor Explorers

I am traveling to France very soon with a group of watercolor journaling adventurers. Our plan is to visit some towns in the SW of France, learn about the local culture and record our observations in our watercolor field journals.  

Annie Londonderry, a fellow female adventurer who rode her bicycle around the world.  

Annie Londonderry, a fellow female adventurer who rode her bicycle around the world.  

We have as our inspiration Annie Londonderry, one of the many female explorers who had a penchant for seeing the world.  

Our plan is to sight see, visit places of historical value and purchase French cuisine tools and stylish French finery which is the current rage. 

I have equipped my group of students with the latest supplies for travel journaling explorations.

 

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Today, the preparations for our trip are underway.  Do you have any travel tips for our trip? We welcome your thoughts. 

Anyone One Can Be An Artist

After many years of teaching art classes I still believe that anyone can learn to be an artist. It starts with recognizing your desire to make art. Then you need to do something about this desire: enroll in a drawing class, watch learn to paint and draw Youtube videos, buy a book on art techniques, read it then practice.  

While cleaning out a drawer that had been stuck shut for years I discovered a 1940's drawing manual written by the first television art instructor, John Gnagy.  Gnagy wrote that he believed everyone is an artist. His writing and pictures from his book are in the image below.  Now, do you believe me when I say, "Making art is not rocket science, anyone can learn if they are will to do their homework." 

The drawing on the bottom here are mine and illustrate my belief that you have to tolerate your imperfect attempts in order to develop your skill. There are no perfect drawings. 

The drawing on the bottom here are mine and illustrate my belief that you have to tolerate your imperfect attempts in order to develop your skill. There are no perfect drawings. 

Tiptoeing Into Life Painting

Did I ever mention I took a portrait drawing class for 3 months, 10 years ago? I learned some useful drawing tips in the class, but the most important thing I learned was that I don't want to paint portraits. By portraits, I mean head and shoulders accurate paintings where you recognize the person immediately. 

What I do like to paint are people in environments, like the work of Vuillard, Bonnard and Monet.  

I have pretty much stayed away from life painting until recently, probably because I  have been having such a good time painting images I've been inspired by in my travels. 

The bug to paint people infected me after seeing an exhibit of Pierre Bonnards work combined with relearning how to paint with watersoluable oil paint. Suddenly I have been jolted by a bolt of something to paint people. 

In order to paint people, I find I need them to sit still. So I've been forced out of the comfortable womb of my studio into life painting classes. 

 

Below is my first attempt at life painting in watercolor. 

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Park Your Boat and Go Back to School with Anywhere Art

I've finished sailing to distance watercolor lands and parked my boat as you can see in my illustration below. It's almost September and school is starting.  

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I've set up my study area in a quiet cozy corner away from barking beagles and other distractions. My desk belonged to my grandparents. I dusted my new/old desk and put my laptop in place. The laptop fit perfectly in the space, the desk designer was about 100 years forward in his thinking. He must have sensed the computers that were going to be invented someday.  The desk was purchased to house the telephone when it was installed in my grandparents house in New York.

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Now its time to get down to work. I plan to be writing, planning art classes and brushing up my French speaking skills in preparation for my Fall workshop in France while seated at my new/old desk. My painting will have to be done on my work table, I can't spill water on my antique desk!

How about you? What are your plans for Fall?