Thursday, November 20, 2008

Watercolor journaling in autumn

With the onset of autumn, I began teaching again, after a long summer break.  A series of drawing and watercolor workshops in Georgia and North Carolina  filled the months of September and October.  I finished off the semester teaching "The Illustrated Journal in Ink & Watercolor" in November, a very enjoyable workshop, as part of the class involves painting "en plein air," in the sparkling autumn air.  Occasionally, when my students are busy with their own paintings, I steal a few minutes to sketch too.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Sketch Crawlers enjoy brunch before setting out to draw and paint.

Yesterday was the 19th International Sketch Crawl, the drawing marathon that attracts participants from all over the world.  Nine friends and former students and I converged on downtown Decatur, GA, sketchbooks and watercolors in hand to render our impressions of this charming suburb of Atlanta.  Because the morning started with a light drizzle, I was fixated on umbrellas, which appear in both sketches below.  But by lunchtime the sun had come out, throwing beautiful blue shadows over the streets of this bustling little city.

Sweet Melissa's, a neighborhood favorite for brunch.  The paint scheme -- purple, gold, green! -- excited me enough that I was willing to sit in the middle of the parking lot in order to get this sketch down.

The cutest little motor scooters kept showing up all morning.  I'm too chicken to ride them in Atlanta's traffic, but oh, to have one to putt around in!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I've been teaching a sketching class this spring, "The Illustrated Journal in Ink & Watercolor."  Over the course of three days, I give my students both indoor and outdoor assignments.  Once they're drawing on site, I find I need to draw, too, to keep from hovering over them. Here are a few sketches I did at the art center that sponsored the class and at at a nearby nature center.

Monday, March 31, 2008

About gouache

"House and Sea" - 8x10, gouache on canvas panel

What is gouache? Pronounced "gwash," gouache is opaque watercolor. Like watercolor, it is thinned with water, but to a creamy consistency, rather than to a thin transparent wash. It has traditionally been used by illustrators because its matte finish reproduces very well for print media. However, it has been used as a fine art medium since the 16th century, when Albrecht Durer used it to paint the hairs on his famous rabbit. I love working with gouache because it is easy to manipulate, correct and clean up. Actually, what I use is "acrylic gouache," made by Holbein, that contains enough acrylic medium to dry the paint to a hard, permanent film. This means I can paint one layer of color over another and the bottom layers won't lift off. The paint also dries to such a durable finish it can be framed without glass, like an acrylic or oil painting. Several manufacturers now make acrylic gouache and it can be found readily through online art suppliers.
This is my first post to my brand-spankin' new blog!

On Saturday, four friends and I joined hundreds of other artists around the world in a sketching marathon called SketchCrawl.  Our focus was downtown Decatur, Georgia, USA, a suburb of Atlanta.  We spent the morning in the town square's park where a gazebo, bronze sculpture (including T. Jefferson, here) and milling people provided ample subjects.