Barcelona Beginnings

The students are arriving. Introductions are being made. Friendship seeds are sprouting. Jamon (Spanish ham) shops are being explored. 

 

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View from our rooftop. 

Going to Paint the town in Barcelona

Enroute to Barcelona for our Anywhere Art workshop.  Its our 33rd workshop.  I packed the new box that is supposed to simplify painting anywhere.  Bette is traveling with me and is going to put the finishing touches on the scarf she made for our trip

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Repurposed Art Making Challenge

I am amazed at all the items I use in my daily life that are throw away. In the photo below you can see just a few of the items I’ve encountered in the last 3 days, that are one use items! 

I am issueing a challenge to all you artists to collect your throwaway items and find a way to reuse them either to make art or re use. 

Are you with me? Send your photos and I will post them here. 

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A Box For Travel Painting

I’ve assembled a art box to simplify travel painting  

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The box contains a paper holder that flattens into a painting desk, a limited amount of travel size pens, brushes, pencil sharpener, light weight palette and paints. 

Having light weight painting materials makes a big difference when you are carrying around your materials often. Even the weight of the wooden box had to be lightened. I was forced to abandon my favorite cigar box that is an excellent size because it was too heavy. 

To start putting together your own box, lay out all the materials you are thinking you need. Then start looking for duplicates, the lightest items and what you don’t really need. 

Let me know how it goes.  If you like watching You Tube videos, check out “Follow the White Rabbit, the artist makes a lot of helpful tools and videos! 

New Idea To Get More Painting Done

Have you ever found yourself in the situation when you were having guests for dinner on the weekend and your house was messy, there was no food in the refrigerator, and you wanted to paint?

This is exactly where I found myself last Wednesday and I really wanted to paint. My organized husband was writing out little strips of paper with lists on them for himself and I was getting nervous. I realized even though my husband is a really nice guy, I couldn’t dump all of the prep and cleaning work in his lap. So I came up with a new method to get everything done at a decent level. I think I am calling this method the “Parallel Painting Prep” method, but I am open to any ideas from you for what to call it.

This is how it works, first you do a little painting, then you do a little cleaning, then you do a little cooking, then you do a little more painting and then you go food shopping. I am so proud of myself because I even timed how long it would take me to get to 2 different markets and realized I needed to shop at the closer market. I know you are thinking, “Big deal! Everyone knows when you’re in a hurry not to waste time driving 28 minutes away when you can drive only 13 minutes to a closer market you like almost as well.” Not me, this time measuring grey matter is a new part of my brain that only grew in my brain recently. I have always been a late bloomer.

This parallel prep method worked! The food was ready on time, the house looked clean and I got painting done and best of all I was not frustrated because I had left my painting until last and been tired and cranky when I got to it. So, are you inspired? Are you going to try this at home?

With Parallel Painting & Prep I bet you’ll get more painting done! Just do it.

With Parallel Painting & Prep I bet you’ll get more painting done! Just do it.

Perfecting A Traveling Watercolor Set Up

Have you ever set out to paint out of doors and found yourself fumbling with your supplies? Dropping things? Not finding your pencil and eraser? Having to borrow artist’s tissue from your painting buddy?

All of the above have happened to me and made me feel frustrated. I resolved to create a better set up for my next workshop. I’ve been assembling things for quite a while and studying other artist’s past & present set ups.  

The biggest problem I wanted to tackle first was to make my set up light weight and easy to pack in a 22” suitcase. I replaced my favorite cigar box that I use to hold everything on my lap with a smaller much lighter weight box. I replaced my metal palette with a very lightweight tin pencil box which I sprayed with white matte paint so I could mix paint on its lid. Most importantly I reduced the size and weight of my painting book by creating sets of 4 pages folded together which I can bind to a spine when I get home. I only need to carry 4 pages with me at a time instead of lugging a heavy book on every paint out containing all my paper.  

I tested out my new set up this afternoon when I painted in our back yard. I had to eliminate at least 3 extra pencils, a pen, several brushes and 3 extra erasers. This made it light and almost closeable. I moved the cloroplast folding support with the paper inside out of the box and it closes perfectly!  

I can throw the box in my tote with a waterbottle and a snack and I should be a less fumbling artist on location. 

Any ideas for replacement items or additions to my painting set up are welcomed. 

Here it is: 

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Top left, the box with supplies, top right, the supplies that fit in the bag on the right, bottom left, the pencil box paints and palette and bottom right, open and ready to sit on my lap to make painting anywhere easier! 

Loved Your Logo Feedback!

You gave me your feedback about my struggles finding the right logo. You had the best ideas and I took them to heart. You have lots of experience finding what catches your eye out in the world, plus you are artists and consumers so I am very grateful to those of you who took the time to give me suggestions on how to improve my logo.

So I sketched and erased and sketched and erased and (perhaps cussed a bit in front of the dogs), and finally came up with the log below. I inked it in with my favorite Platinum Carbon Ink Pen and dusted and edited it until I decided it was good enough.

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Want to Combine Watercolor and Words?

I admire handlettering and calligraphy. I do none of those things at a pro level BUT I have managed to learn just enough about how to handletter and add handwriting to watercolor paintings. AND I am going to teach lots of different ways of combining words and watercolor + what art supplies work for lettering and how to use them.

This workshop will be 5 sessions long and take place in Encinitas at the San Elijo Campus of Miracosta College beginning Feb. 2 at 1:00. If this class sounds good to you, click on my CLASS link in the navigation bar above and find out how to register.

 

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My Logo and You

Hello, it’s been a while. I’ve been busy thinking and formulating a new plan to improve my world which includes watercolor painting, actually my world includes a lot of watercolor painting, one husband, two dogs, 3 misplaced millenials and some cooking.

I signed up at the local gym on the advice of my doctor, who told me aerobic watercolor painting would not take off the extra pounds I’ve put on no matter how fast I moved my brush or even if I painted with a brush in each hand. Image the sheer number of paintings one could complete if you painted double handed!

I’ve been busy going to the gym often and painting and thinking about painting often. I’ve also invented a (well really just improved upon an anywhere art painting box that enables one to paint anywhere comfortably.) I’ll share the details of this new painting box with you soon. I decided in 2019 I want to paint outside every chance I get with groups and nice people, so contact me if you’d like to paint outside with me.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but for a short time (about the last 10 years) I’ve been experimenting with a logo and trademark for my brand of Anywhere Art. I kind of thought I really didn’t need a consistent logo and a logo was just another money making idea invented by the advertising industry. Then I went shopping for skin care items and realized the only way I knew which soap to buy was by the skinny print and flower drawing the company put on all its boxes. So then I decided maybe a consistent logo was important so I set out to create one. Here is what I have come up with, I hope you like it and if you don’t please let me know why.

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New Device to Help You Get More Watercolor Painting Done

This morning I activated my new art making device. It’s called an Anywhere Art Bit.  I wear it on my wrist and it buzzes when I haven’t done any painting in a while.  

After wearing the Anywhere Art Bit for less then a hour it buzzed and vibrated on my wrist.  

It sent me a message! 

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After reading the message I got out my paints and painted the painting you see below.

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This Anywhere Art Bit is really good. I haven’t painted with such enthusiasm in years! 

I haven’t finished completing all the set ups on my new device so I’m not sure exactly if it measures my painting time or my brush strokes and what else it will measure and remind me about.

I’ll let you know soon what else my Anywhere Art Bit can do.  Do you think one of these gagets would help motivate you to get more artwork done? 

Painting Out of the Box

Juggling my painting supplies and balancing everything on my lap was not the best system for 21 days of watercolor painting in a 6”x9” journal in Italy. 

Usually I pack my favorite cigar box to use to hold my supplies when I am painting outdoors or somewhere fancy. I did not bring the box on this trip because it takes up precious packing room in my suitcase. 

I am definitely finding room for the box on my next painting outing. It makes things more organized and it contains everything so I don’t leave paint splotches on brocade couches, linen table cloths and my clothing. 

I do need to modify the cigar box for easier use, any suggestions are welcome. 

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Want to Develop the Habit of Practicing Your Watercolor and Drawing in a Sketchbook?

Finding time and figuring out what to paint and draw when you finally pick up your paintbrush are roadblocks to improving your art skills. Now that you have put all your art supplies into a bag that you can grab when you want to paint and you have found a spot to paint in or out of your house, I have a new idea to help you get more artwork done.

Buy an Aquabee mixed media sketchbook and practice + play on the pages of the sketchbook. Using a sketchbook will free you up because the paper is much cheaper than watercolor paper and you can easily turn the page when you don’t like what your artwork looks like or you want to try something else. Your sketchbook is your private practice coach because by working on your artwork on its pages your artwork will improve. Your strokes and pencil marks will be more fluid and your colors won’t be muddy (that is if you practice mixing colors).

If you happen to live in the So. Cal area and have Friday at happy hour free and the desire to improve your artwork in a sketchbook, attend my Developing the Practice of Watercolor Sketching in a Sketchbook at Miracosta San Elijo campus from 5:30-8:30 (happy hour). We will pin point what you want to learn and improve, practice things like brush strokes, color mixing, different subject matter and much more.

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Good Bye Cortona

Our painting workshop ended on a high note with a painting show and tell and shoe parade last night. Visiting Tuscany in the Fall was special. Seeing the towns wearing their in Fall colors, walking around towns wearing sweaters in the crisp air and tasting the newly harvested olive oil were all pluses and made us artists love Italy even more.

 

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the fountain in the park in Cortona

Bramasole, the house that inspired Under the Tuscan Sun. 

Bramasole, the house that inspired Under the Tuscan Sun. 

The altar in front of Bramasole

The altar in front of Bramasole

Fall colors and old stone textures will give us lots of unique watercolor paintings to make at home. 

Fall colors and old stone textures will give us lots of unique watercolor paintings to make at home. 

Shoe Shopping in Italy

We decided to visit a shoe factory’s outlet store yesterday. 

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We found lots of great looking shoes. 

 

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Several pairs of shoes were purchased. 

A good time was had by all and we will be wearing some stylin shoes when we return home. 

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Learning About Tuscan History

I knew only a little about the history of Tuscany’s wine region until we visited the Museum of the Messadrina yesterday. It wasn’t always Villas , wine tasting and holidays in Tuscany. Since feudal times, the vineyards and farms in Tuscany were run by wealthy land owners who hired farm workers to work the fields paying them only a portion of the food that was harvested. The farm workers were kept in poverty with this system and they owned nothing but their tools and perhaps a cart and a few animals. The old farm houses that people restore into homes these days, were rented shacks on rhe landowners property often without heat or plumbing. The animals lived on the first floor of these homes to keep the people                 ( sometimes as many as 45 people living in one home) warm at night.

the inside of a farm workers home, the mattress was filled with twigs and sticks!

the inside of a farm workers home, the mattress was filled with twigs and sticks!

left to right; the land owner, the supervisor and the farm workers, also known as share croppers.

left to right; the land owner, the supervisor and the farm workers, also known as share croppers.

The supervisor kept huge books writing down production details, everyone’s jobs including the children who worked. The mother took care of the children, cooked, worked and raised silk worms to make cloth for their clothing. 

Hand made wedding dresses

Hand made wedding dresses

The supervisor and his ledger book.

The supervisor and his ledger book.

Around the 1960’s the workers began to leave the farms and go to the city for better paying jobs and the system broke down. The farm workers took with them the knowledge of farming and many land owners had to sell their farms because they had no workers. The share cropper system ended about 1972 when it was outlawed.

This could have been the end of the Tuscan wine industry, but in the 80’s experts were hired to revamp and professionalize the wine farms.  

So next time you drink some Tuscan wine, toast the poor farm workers too.

 

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Learning to Make Cantucci

Sorry I can’t show you our painting right now. We are very busy learning to make Italian cookies from Ilaria, the cook at Villa Marsili. 

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Ilaria is a very good teacher, showing us all the steps we need to learn in order to create cantucci at home. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Italian cookies, cantucci are small size biscotti. Ilaria taught us many variations of things you can add to your cantucci dough; chocolate pieces and orange peel are going to be my choice for my homemade cantucci. 

Its important to slice the cookies after the first 10 minutes of cooking while they are still warm and NOT slicing with a sawing motion but with one firm slice with a sharp non serrated knife. Then you bake the cookies for 2nd time for 2-3 minutes. 

Italian Baked Apple Recipe

At Alla Corte Degli Angeli hotel they served the most delicious baked apples on the breakfast buffet. They were kind enough to give me their recipe. I have transcribed the recipe here for you.

 

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