Monday, November 21, 2011

pjh-Christmas card class results

I first began taking watercolor classes in 1983 at the Community
Arts Center in Goldsboro, N.C.  We were stationed there at nearby Seymour Johnson AFB.  An event  held on base "showcased" all of Goldsboro's community organizations, offering the military family community the opportunity to join the groups and be a part of the local community too!  I signed up to take a "grass roots watercolor class" - a dream to learn how to paint in watercolor was a dream I'd had since college!  One of my dream goals was to be confident enough in my work to paint our own Christmas cards one day! 

I am posting this ahead of the holidays, giving away to friends and family a bit of my "surprise" to show you what a WONDERFUL teacher Desiree Habicht is. When she told us we'd be using the negative painting technique, I promptly responded I'd come to class because it's a technique that is really hard for me, and I needed to "stretch" out of that comfort zone - but I was sure  it wouldn't become our Christmas card for this year!  Desiree smiled her special smile and softly said "That's OK!"  She had some photos and also some leaves and winter berries we were welcome to use for inspiration - those who know me well, know that flowers and Penny Harrison are almost synonomous!  I used a photo of a poinsettia she'd taken for inspiration.  The poinsettias that grow so well here (native to Mexico) have more slender "bracts" (the beautiful colored part of the plant we think of as the flower!) and her photo was of a naturally growing plant!  Unknown to Desiree, the other part of my "goal" was to be able to do a watercolor of something that is uniquely "California" (I'm a native California girl like Desiree is!) 

The second half of the class was working with computer software to edit the image and then use one of the many available companies to order the printed cards.  THANK YOU DESIREE, for your enthusiastic guidance and soooo helpful critiques!  Not only did she guide me to better understand this difficult technique - here's a "preview" of that dream come true - WAHOO!!! - and I can't say it enough - THANK YOU DESIREE!!!

pjh-you'll never see this again!

I bought a small "travel palette" and loaded fresh paints into it today - this is the last time it will be this "pristine" - Right Ladies!!!?

pjh-my Biggest Fan!

I noted in my journal I love to sew, draw, and paint!  Teddy wanted to remind everyone that even more - I love our Beagles!!! (he keeps me company whether sewing, drawing or paint) - my biggest fan!

pjh-Basic journaling techniques

Fun class - and great exercise in doing the basics!  Thank you so very much Desiree!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Great First Class!

Hi Desiree,

Just a note to let you know what a great time I had today! Marilyn told me I would love your class. She was right! Thank you for inviting me to join in on the fun!

Sketching class in November

My latest postcard sent for the International Postcard Exchange

Hi everyone, we sure missed those of you who were unable to make class. I didn't have anything from class to post so I decided to post my latest postcard I did for the exchange group, don't panic, we didn't paint animals.  We did have two new students that did some wonderful sketching. I want to welcome Christa and Laura to the group and hope they enjoyed the class. We worked on some artist journaling basics and talked about why we are journaling and what the benefits are etc. I recommended Cathy Johnsons new book,Artist's Journal Workshop, creating your life in words and pictures. It is available on Amazon and it will motivate and inspire you to do more! Since I am often asked what should I paint and what should I journal I decided to help show how everyday items can become important enough to paint and journal about. We took some sewing items and quickly sketched them, not getting caught up in details. After a few minutes we passed the item to the right and you had to sketch that item. After sketching several items I reminded everyone that we often don't have our perfect sketching tools with us so we need to adapt and learn to draw with anything. We used mechanical pencils, pen, watercolor pencils, inktense pencils and watercolor. Then they had to journal about sewing. We also had to write down 7 simple items around the house, one per piece of paper and dropped then into a bowl. At the end of class we took turns picking 7 items out of the bowl. The homework assignment is to divide up your journal pages into a grid, or boxes. I would suggest not going too small, maybe two per page. Then during the month draw each of the items, one per box and journal about it. Also glue the piece of paper to the bottom of the drawing. We will share these at our class on January 14, 2012! We are not meeting in December in person, but we can visit here! If you want me to send you 7 items let me know, its nice when you don't pick your own, you might be too easy on yourself!

The exercise of daily journaling and drawing is a private, intimate time between you and the subject matter. You will start to see things more clearly, see more colors, more details. You will really start to view things with an artist's eye. Don't worry if it isn't perfect, its not about that, its about training yourself to see and record. I can't seem to stress it enough, it takes practice. Anything you want to be good at takes practice like music, singing, sports etc. Why do we think art should just happen to us! I have often thought or wished the artist fairy could just sprinkle me with her artist pixie dust and then I would be able to pick up a brush or pencil and create something wonderful. It just doesn't happen like that so you have to do the time. You should learn to enjoy the process or it isn't something you will stick with. Its a journey of self discovery as well as rediscovering the beauty in some of life's most simple things.

I hope everyone will post their work during the month and please comment when others post. Its important to get some feedback when you post. Being an artist is a solitary occupation, not a team sport where you get lots of interaction with fellow team mates.We tend to beat ourselves up when things don't go well, so encouragement from others is always appreciated. Learn to leave comments,  even I like to read comments, we all do.

One last note, I added a new page, you can see the tab at the top of the page on the lefthand side of the page. It is called Videos, I have posted the link to the free video I did on negative painting, I previously emailed you. Let me know if there is a problem viewing it. Happy Journaling

Friday, November 18, 2011

UCLA Campus

I was at UCLA the first part of the week, while waiting for Jennifer's discharge from the hospital we decided to walk the campus. I had never really seen the inside of the campus and enjoyed the beautiful mature trees and architecture that dots the campus. I managed to finally stop and sketch the Royce Hall,a place where they have their performing arts and often host celebrity appearances.

- Desiree

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fat little Sparrow

As the weather cools these little sparrows look so plump as they try to capture that warm air next to their skin. This little sketch was done with my sketch and wash pencil,very quickly. What birds can you capture this week,remember sketch class is next Saturday!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Singing the song of Fall

Our plein air group was meeting to paint. It was raining so I was waiting in my car for some of the other artists to arrive. The rain refused to stop so I sat in my car and couldn't help but notice how beautiful the surrounding brush was. The whole mountain side took on a burnt sienna glow with pockets of wonderful colors and textures. Here is my painting from the inside of my car, the process went something like this. Windshield wipers,defroster, paint some, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, paint some more, repeat! I did this for some time but with paint not drying and the rain not letting up I decided enough was enough! I heard the sun did end up coming out but I was long gone, curled up on my couch with the fire on and a warm blanket over me!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Christmas is almost here

I know Christmas comes so fast and all of a sudden I need to be ready.   Since I have been doing these watercolor classes, I decided to paint our Christmas Card this year.  Well, after countless of tries I was not happy with any of them. So, I cut them up and did a collage with the pieces.  From our last classes,  I played with the saran wrap, salt, stamping leaves, negative painting, and several washes. I think it has turned pretty neat.

I like working with the watercolor, but find controlling the water very difficult. I am seeing some practice paying off with my washes.  Drawing seems to be my most difficult part of it all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Christmas Card Class- November 13, 2011

Hi everyone! I hope that you are rolling into fall and will be able to find some time to do some painting. I dont care what you paint, just paint something. Last week I did a challenge, to take just one object and divide a small piece of paper or canvas up into 4 sections. Now set you clock for 10 minutes and paint your one object, when the timer goes off stop! Then move on to the next one. It is harder with watercolor since we have a problem or challenge with the wet paint running but try it anyway. Its fun and fast. The key is to not get caught up in details but try to capture the darks of shadows, lights of highlights and paint shapes not objects! Remember lesson one!
One other thing, I am going to be teaching a Christmas card class. This class will be on November 13th and it will be an all day class. Whatever we dont finish in class will be finished immediately after since we are trying to get Christmas Cards printed. We will be painting using the negative painting method and doing berries and greenery for our cards. The card I posted is just an example, yours can look completely different. It will be lots of fun and you will have a beautiful painting at the end of the day. We will then scan your painting into the computer and add text if you like. Then we will go online and explore some to the possibilities of having cards printed so there will be a computer lesson too. Plan on all day and feel free to bring snacks and drinks. I will have some things here also. Let me know if you are going to take the class as I am only going to fill quickly. I will only have a few of you (4-6) so I can give a lot of attention to your cards and the computer part of it so that it is personalized and you leave with a finished card. I will be putting the information on my website so check it out. Happy Painting