Depending on what the subject matter is and how complicated a painting might be, I create a fairly detailed drawing on regular drawing paper in pencil. This practice is especially important if I'm doing a commissioned house portrait or other complex composition. Once I'm happy with the sketch (or the customer is happy with it, if it's a commissioned piece), then it's time to transfer the drawing to my stretched watercolor paper (see blog from April 2023 on how I stretch my watercolor paper).
I turn over the drawing and coat the entire back of it with graphite, using a soft black pencil. Then I turn over the drawing, place it on the watercolor paper, and tape one side down so it doesn't slide around while I retrace all the lines and transfer all those details onto the watercolor paper. I don't press down too hard, just a gentle pressure; I don't want to emboss the lines into the paper, just lightly coat it with the graphite, so that I have guidelines to follow when I get to painting.
Once the tracing process is complete, I lift the drawing paper off the watercolor paper. Then I tape around all four edges of the transferred drawing on the watercolor paper with white artists tape, so that I can have a clean edge around the painting.
It may seem like a tedious and archaic process, but it's what has always worked for me. And I enjoy all the steps. I have saved every drawing I've done for each painting...probably should organize those into some sort of archive some day.
I was very excited to learn that my little gouache painting, Chicken Diva, was accepted into the American Watercolor Society 2023 Associate Members Online Exhibition. I thought it might be kind of long shot to submit one of my gouache paintings instead of a transparent watercolor, but that little chicken has so much character and spunk, along with some fine feathery supportive friends and a really cool house, so how could a selection juror resist, lol!
All joking aside, it's such a wonderful honor to get into this online show with the American Watercolor Society. The entire exhibit is viewable from June 7-August 20, 2023 at this link:
Chicken Diva measures 7"x7" matted/framed to 10"x10" and is available for purchase at $280 (plus 7% NYS sales tax and $15 shipping/handling if applicable). If interested, please email me through my Contact page.
**UPDATE**Happy to report that "Dance of Late Spring's Light" sold in the exhibit. Many thanks to the venue and organizers. This is my second year of getting into the show, and second year of selling the work from this show.
In other show acceptance news, my watercolor "Dance of Late Spring's Light" was accepted into the 11th Annual Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition, presented by Mad River Valley Arts at the Red Barn Gallery in Waitsfield, Vermont. This is my second year of showing work in this magnificent exhibit housed in a big charming old barn on the Lareau Farm (home of American Flatbread).
Full disclosure and a little back story: I changed the title of the painting to better reflect the story about the light in the piece. It's old name was "No Wake Zone"; I worried that many people would not understand the reference (it depicts the area around Speaker Heck and Long Islands on Lake George where boats are required to slow down to 5mph and not throw any wake). I also thought the title sounded too negative, almost statement like, and that was not what the painting is about.
The Green Mountain Watercolor Exhibition opens on Sunday, June 18 with a reception from 5-7pm, and runs through July 22, 2023. The Red Barn Galleries at Lareau Farms is located off of Rte. 100 in Waitsfield, VT. Gallery hours to be announced.
"Dance of Late Spring's Light on Lake George", watercolor, 10"x13" matted/framed to 16"x19", $440.
**UPDATE September 2023** Happy to report that Tapestry sold while on exhibit in the Adirondack National Exhibition of American Watercolor
When I was a teenager, I took the drivers test five times before I finally passed on the fifth try and got my license (laugh if you want to, that's fine...maybe I was just a very distracted teenager).
Another true story: On my fifth attempt at applying to the Adirondack National Exhibition of American Watercolors, I finally succeeded in getting a painting accepted into this show, whew! So excited to finally get in and add this accomplishment to the old artist resume.
One of my favorite paintings completed last year, "Tapestry" (an intricate piece which took a whole lot more focus than what I brought to my drivers tests way back when!) will be headed up to the presenting venue, The View Arts in Old Forge, NY The exhibit isn't until later in the summer, opening on Aug. 4 and running to October 1, 2023. An opening reception and awards ceremony will be held on Aug. 4, 6-8pm. I'm looking forward to heading up there for the opening festivities and seeing all the exemplary works in watermedia by artists from across the country.
I was thrilled to receive the Silver Award for "Dream Trees" at the opening reception for North Country Arts Expressions Annual Juried Show on May 6!
Selection and awards juror Laura Von Rosk did a remarkable job picking out the work for the exhibit, so full of life, color and movement. I am so grateful to her for seeing something in my painting worthy enough for this lovely honor, and was so touched by her thoughtful comments about my painting.
It was also nice to have one of my former co-workers in arts administration, Becky Zeh, get awarded for her painting and see so many friendly, supportive artist friends at what is always a lively and well-attended opening reception for this annual exhibit presented by NCA at the Shirt Factory Gallery.
And I'm super grateful to The Touba Family Foundation for sponsoring the awards for the show and to NCA for opportunity to exhibit and their excellent display skills. The show runs until June 10 in the Shirt Factory Gallery, 71 Lawrence St, Glens Falls, NY. Hours are Thurs-Saturday noon-5pm. There are so many well-done, masterful pieces in the show!