Friday, July 1, 2016

Blog Talk Radio . . . Love It!

Painted into a corner:
This is where I sit to paint -- my large monitor is in front of me
and I can look out into my gardens during the day.


"Secrets To The Perfect Art Studio"  -- That was the title of last week's podcast by Leslie Saeta so I've peppered this post with photos of my "perfect-for-me" studio while singing the praises of the Artists Helping Artists weekly podcast.


An old store counter is the perfect height for working while standing.
I cut mats and do framing here.  The curtain hides supplies and books.


Whether you're a veteran artist or just starting out I highly recommend listening to Artists Helping Artists, a weekly podcast from artist, Leslie Saeta.  I can't tell you how many helpful tidbits I've received over the years by listening to her shows.  Each show is usually about an hour and are recorded live on Thursdays.


I try and keep this table surface clean.
This is where my students sit and work.
The old baker's table houses supplies and displays cards.

Leslie usually has a guest artist with her and they share advice about being an artist/small business owner.  She's covered everything from social media marketing, how to set up a studio, tips on staying inspired, legal advice for artists, to interviewing specific artists and conveying their stories.  Each show has been archived so you can pick and choose which ones you want to listen to in addition to tuning in live.

My deskwork area.  I do my blogging, research,
scanning, editing and printing from here.
The armoire holds my printer and paper.
A small lightbox is on the old slanted desk by the door.
Two students can fit at the black card table.


One of my favorite things about the information Leslie shares is that it's always geared toward the artist with little to no budget.  So when she's talking about marketing tools, they are usually free or have only a small fee but have the potential to yield good returns.  I've never been steered wrong.


"Where's Waldo . . . ahem . . . Teddy?"
Teddy finds the studio most enjoyable . . . can you find him?


So if you haven't ever listened to one of the Artists Helping Artists podcasts, or if you have but just not recently . . . hop on over and turn one on.  I love to listen to them while I paint -- although I often don't get much done, as I'm usually busy jotting down all the great ideas!



My stash of "Little People" props.


If you'd like to share other great artist resources or photos of your studio - hop on over to my Facebook post and share away in the comments!  I'd love to hear from you.


From another angle.


Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Throwback Thursday - "All Scratched Up" - Reduced Price!

"All Scratched Up"
6" x 6"
(watercolor on aquabord)
$125

Click here to purchase.

I have reduced the price on this little painting.  I loved the shape of this cup as it reminded me of a pewter cup my brother had when we were kids.  It was engraved with his birthday and given to him when he was a baby by one of our relatives.  I think that was a very popular gift when babies were born back in the `60's and `70's.  

This painting comes framed as shown and would make a lovely addition to any little nook.

Thanks for popping by!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sneak Peek #2

Commission in Progress - sneak peek

I'm pretty certain that the recipient of this little surprise commission doesn't check in with my blog and even so, wouldn't recognize this sneak peek.  This painting is coming together pretty well.  I made a lot of progress on it in just one sitting.  I do love painting animals.  Ooohh . . . did I give away too much!?  Ha!  

Have a lovely day and thanks for taking a sneak peek at my blog.  :)


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sneak Peek #1

Commissioned Painting - Sneak Peek


I'm working on quite a few commissions and so I can't really reveal them until they have reached their forever homes.  But I will offer up a couple "sneak peeks" this week to prove that I am really working and not just lounging around the pool.  

This painting went out in today's mail.  I'll be able to reveal its true identity next week.  Until then you'll just have to be in suspense.

Tomorrow I will post another snippet of a commission in progress.  Until then . . . happy painting!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Internships

Work In Progress
6" x 6"
(watercolor on aquabord)


Last summer I had the good fortune of working with a lovely young lady headed into her senior year of high school.  Her family summers at the lake in the town where I live and because she is very interested in Art and becoming an Art Teacher she contacted me to see if I'd be interested in taking on an intern.  How lucky was I?   

"Crayola Rowboat"
notecard
painting by Elanna  G. Honan

Click here to purchase notecards.

Ellie is a wonderful person, talented artist and is a fantastic worker.  In fact you can visit her new website here where she has her fine art notecards for sale with a portion of the proceeds going to Charity Water, a non-profit organization that has a goal to bring clean drinking water to every person on the planet.  She recently graduated from high school and is headed to college where she will focus her studies on Art.  

Because I had such a wonderful experience with Ellie, I decided to take on another intern.  So this year I've once again been blessed with a super high school student to help me out one afternoon each week.  Because these are non-paying internships, I trade lessons and whatever I can, to compensate my helpers.  My latest intern, after tackling many boring tasks, has started to try her hand at watercolor on aquabord.  So my painting above is the beginning of my demonstration.  I've painted this subject before but on paper and a different size.  Hopefully I'll be able to finish this little ditty up, in between my commissions.  

Have a great week . . . I look forward to sharing with you the first painting in a series of commissions, sometime this week.  Thanks for coming by.






Friday, June 24, 2016

My Latest Obsession: A New Favorite

Loving me some NEUTRAL TINT!


We all have our "go-to" colors and today I'd like to share with you my new favorite one.  It's called "Neutral Tint" and a dear friend and student of mine, who sadly recently passed away, told me about it a couple years ago.  Only recently did I decide to purchase it and I'm so glad I did.  Thank you, Carolyn! 
  

All the shadows on the white building
are painted in neutral tint.

When I first began painting I limited myself to only the primary colors - Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue and New Gamboge.  Although I had read a lot about the different properties of the pigments and made charts, I didn't really fully grasp how the paints interacted with water, paper and/or each other.  I needed to experience them in "real life."  Rather than risk mud, I stuck with the primaries, and always mixed my neutrals from these three pigments.


"Big Grapes" - wip
Here I used all three primaries to achieve the
varying shadows on the white surfaces


Gradually I added new colors to my collection, sometimes using Winsor Green and Alizarin Crimson for dark blacks for example.  When I didn't mix all three primaries for shadows on white, I would often use Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine (and still do sometimes).  

Although my palette has expanded, even now when I begin to formulate a color palette for a painting I think in terms of the primaries, plotting out my attack.  


"Backyard Sunlight"
French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna with a little New Gamboge
were the chosen colors for my shadows in this painting

Generally with regards to neutrals, I have always had a bias against using them straight out of the tube, always preferring to mix mine as I feel you achieve much more depth through mixing.  For example I don't own any type of black.  

I will sometimes use Payne's Gray, but very cautiously, always mixing it with some kind of blue.  I feel that neutrals out of the tube tend to be flat and dead.  (Ouch . . . that sounded harsh!) 

And when I teach, I really frown upon neutrals . . . at least for beginners.  They can be "lazy" colors -- easy choices that often bring down a painting, rather than lifting it up.  I think it's very important for students to REALLY understand color through a limited palette.  It's less frustrating and their use yields more successful results.  


One of my notebooks where I work out my mixtures and color palette.


I also encourage charts -- I use them -- but in the context of specific paintings.  I "try out" mixtures and take notes in a notebook before using them in a painting.  Because there is an immediate purpose and the information is limited I learn it better.  

HOWEVER . . . with all that being said . . .  along came Neutral Tint!  It's quite transparent and just plain lovely.  I haven't read up on it, but in my experience, I can use it straight out of the tube and to me, it doesn't appear flat, but remains interesting, appearing as if two pigments are mingling on the page.  I like that I can use it on large areas or where I have lots of shadows to paint and not worry that I won't be able to mix enough paint to cover the area and remain consistent when necessary.  I'm still cautious though.  It seems to stain, so I can't lift it and must be careful with my values.  Those of you who follow my blog know my struggles with value!  And I still will often mix it to alter its temperature when needed.  I guess I still believe that mixing neutrals is probably the BEST method, but in terms of a more "fool-proof" tool, this fool LOVES her Neutral Tint!

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope you found this post helpful.  Feel free to share some of your favorite pigments, I'd love to hear about them.





Thursday, June 23, 2016

Throwback Thursday

"Grape Study"
10.5" x 7.5"
watercolor on paper - matted and framed
$200
Click here to purchase.

I'm turning back the clock and featuring a painting I did a couple years ago.  I've always really liked this painting and think it would look great in someone's kitchen.  It's a crisp study on paper, of grapes matted in white with a contemporary blonde, wooden frame.  I've just always loved the look of it . . . clean and bright.  I wish you could see it in person.  Actually, you can, if you're in Barre, MA -- it's hanging at the Woods Memorial Library in the center of town until the end of June.  :)

Here's a closer look:


Thanks for visiting and have a great day!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Shameless Plug and Reviews

"COLORING PEACE - A Fine Art Coloring Book"
More than 40 fun and different images to color!
$8.99
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE


I'm once again shamelessly plugging my coloring book, "Coloring Peace."  (insert sheepish grin) The book is full of simple line illustrations of a variety of my paintings along with whimsical decorative borders for more coloring fun.  If you or someone you know need a little coloring relaxation (great for taking on vacation!) please hop on over to my amazon page and click for a copy.

The book has received 5 stars with 4 favorable reviews on Amazon.  (A big "thank you" to my reviewers.)  The more positive reviews, the more exposure the book will get. 

If you've received the coloring book and colored any of the pages, please email me your finished work at karakbigda@gmail.com -- I'd love to share them on my Instagram!

Thanks for allowing me to "plug" --- have a great day!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

WIP



Work-In-Progress (2)
12" x 12"
watercolor on aquabord

I had a few paintings in the works before my dad took ill in the beginning of May and this is one of them. I began the drawing for this painting back in early May then started some loose little washes while visiting my dad in the hospital.  It had been put on hold along with the others, but last week I decided to do a little work on it and so I'm sharing my progress.


Work-In-Progress (1)
12" x 12"
watercolor on aquabord


I'll be bouncing around different paintings for the next couple months as I have some new commissions and older works to finish up.  I'm very excited about all my new projects and am looking forward to sharing them with you when I can.

On a personal note . . . my dad is doing very well.  He is still in rehab, but knock on wood, he's making remarkable progress.  At the end of this week we have a home visit with his therapists -- he will be coming to my house to live for a spell before he goes home.  I'm looking forward to having him here . . . maybe I can even get him to paint with me!  Ha!  :)

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Getting Ready



I ordered lots of Ampersand aquabord so I can get started this week on a number of new commissions. It's a glorious day, the doors are open in the studio, the gardens are blooming and I'm rarin' to paint, so let the games begin!!


"The Attorney's Door"
18" x 24"
$1850

"The Attorney's Door" (from Old Sturbridge Village) is still on display at the Woods Memorial Library in Barre, MA along with a few other paintings.  Please stop by if you get the chance.  It's a beautiful library with a lovely display area and historical museum upstairs.


Have a great day . . . happy painting!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Possum Palette

Possum Palette with cups
(image from Cheap Joe's website)


Can one ever have too many palettes?  I think not!  I recently purchased another Possum Palette.  Since I work on several paintings at once, I don't always like to clean off my palette while I jump from painting to painting.  I want to be able to start from where I left off.

Often I have smaller palettes or butcher trays assigned to different paintings, but recently I just felt like I wanted another new Possum Palette.  So I indulged myself!

If you've never heard of this type of watercolor palette, you will want to check it out.  I absolutely LOVE it and I believe it changed my painting for the better. 




You can purchase the Possum Palette and extra cups at Cheap Joe's Art Stuff.  The palette has 22 wells and comes with 22 plastic cups with hinged lids and 3 large mixing sections.  It measures 10.75" wide and 16.5" long and is about 1" deep when the cups are placed in the wells.  Although the cups come with the palette, you can order replacement ones in packages of 8.  They also have sticky labels so you can label your colors.  


full palette (comes with 22 plastic cups)
and 8 additional cups

I love that the plastic cups keep my watercolors moist so that I can use large amounts of paint in order to easily achieve rich, saturated pigments without waste.  The paint can be kept wet (I usually give my colors a quick spray before I close their lids), but even if they do dry, I find they are easily reconstituted without diluting the rich pigments.  

plastic cup with hinged lid
(image from Cheap Joe's website)

I also love that the palette has a huge mixing area.  And because it's divided into three sections I can try to keep my primaries fairly separated.  (While it doesn't really show it, there really IS a method to that messy madness!)

well-loved, messy but still in use


The palette costs about $27 and packages of 8 replacement cups runs about $7. The Possum Palette is definitely a wise investment and one of my most treasured watercolor tools.

I hope you found this post helpful . . . thanks for stopping in.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thowback Thursday

"White Light"
12" x 12"
(watercolor on paper)
SOLD

I recently sold this painting at Pompanoosuc Mills in Natick and would like to thank my new collectors.  It's always a thrill knowing that someone connected with one of my paintings; I'm very grateful being able to do what I do.

Oh and if you're wondering why my title to this post is "Throwback Thursday" it's because this is an older painting.  It goes to prove that even older work should continue to be marketed.  So keep the faith if you have some older work that hasn't yet sold.

Thanks for coming by and sharing in my journey.