Saturday, August 4, 2018

Searching for a Focal Point

"Up with the Birds" watercolor


In the Beginning....

Often when I am teaching a watercolor class a wash technique I end up with a number of watercolor "backgrounds".  Often I am able to develop these demo pieces into finished paintings. The backgrounds are generally soft colors subtly blending into each other to create some type of backdrop for a landscape painting. This background was done in warm reds, purples and yellows; my intention was for the class to create a sunset type of painting. Since many were beginners and hadn't had much drawing experience I encouraged them to work with the idea of a silhouette against the sky. No details, just shape. Keep it simple.

My demo piece had the three colors pictured above blending subtly, but it needed something else to give it some interest so I dropped bits of yellow paint onto the wet paper and let it spread. After the paper was dry I added the silhouette of the land with a few stray weeds waving in the breeze. The end result is this painting below, a soft rather dreamy end of day (or is it the beginning of day?) landscape.


Focal Point?????

But I felt like it needed something else. Like maybe a clear focal point. The weeds seemed to be the focal point, but I felt that the sky provided a space to hold another shape or two-- or more  (remember, I'm working with silhouettes). So I added the outline of five birds in flight.  And then a sun or moon shape coming up (or down) over the horizon. One more layer of vegetation in the foreground created more of a sense of depth to the final piece.


Title

The title "Up With the Birds" now leaves no doubt as to the time of day and identity of the round shape on the horizon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Creating Atmosphere in Your Watercolor Paintings




at-mos-phere

noun
1. the envelope of gasses surrounding the earth or another planet
2. the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation or work of art
Atmosphere is certainly one of those words that can be understood in a couple of different ways. 

If you are a watercolor artist concerned with portraying atmosphere in either of these definitions, you might want to take my class at the Sackets Harbor Arts Center on Aug. 8 & 9 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. 
In this 2 -day class we'll be creating stormy skies, misty mornings and shimmering sunlight as well as that "other kind of atmosphere" --the pervading tone or mood of a piece. 

Topics for discussion will include: How does color, or lack of color, and composition help to create a mood? How can I imply a background without actually filling in all the space? How much white space should I leave? Detail--how much is too much? When is a painting "finished"? 
Cost is $65 for members of the arts center and $75 for non-members. All art materials are included in the fee; no need to bring anything except your creative self!
You can call the Sackets Harbor Arts Center at 315 646-3502 or visit their website Arts Association of Northern New York www.aanny.org


Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

All Systems are Go! NOT!!!


Greetings from Windy Hill Studio North!

Well it is getting closer to the end of June. We've been here at camp since June 4 and we're still working on getting our systems up and running. Internet is spotty to non-existent. We seem to be in a low spot here--not to mention that we are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by huge trees! I'm using my phone as a hot spot but it really doesn't seem to pull in much wifi!

It's an interesting transition when the place to "get away from it all" becomes a work space as well as a retreat. When the systems we are used to for communication break down we are a bit lost. I rely on the internet for promoting my artwork and communicating with friends and family who are far away. To be honest I haven't completely lost the internet, but it just seems that I have stepped back in time to a place where communication moves much slower. And everything takes two or three extra steps.

Well, we hope to have our internet issues resolved by early July--maybe. Fingers crossed!
Until then I'll leave you with some Moons in June. (I just wanted something to rhyme.)

Goodnight from the lake!






Sunday, June 3, 2018

And We're on the Road Again...............



And it's back to camp-----

Well we had no sooner settled ourselves in Lewes Delaware, unpacked most of the boxes, arranged furniture, hung paintings and put the studio together--and it was time to hit the road again. We're heading north tomorrow to spend the summer at camp. The lake and surrounding areas like the Thousand Islands provide an unending source of inspiration for an artist, so as you can well imagine I am looking forward to getting back to Grass Lake. BUT my studio space is considerably smaller. It's actually half of a bedroom. I'm definitely squeezed for space in Windy Hill Studio North, but at least I can take a nap in the studio! I do have a good work table, small drafting table, easel, storage, a place to sit and read a book and a brand new sound system which I can't wait to try.

Acrylic paints are stored in the handy over-the-door storage bag.
The bag used to belong to my sons and was at one time stuffed with a bunch of Boy Scout stuff.


Under counter storage comes in handy for keeping clutter out of the way.


Yes, I still have a quiet spot for reading.

I'm going to miss my big studio, but the scenery at camp is worth the inconvenience of the smaller space. The lake has provided me with inspirations for many paintings over the years.

I'm hoping for another great summer on the lake!




Monday, May 28, 2018

Back in business at Windy Hill Studio!


I'm back in business at Windy Hill Studio! 


After several weeks of packing, relocating to Lewes Delaware, unpacking, setting up a new home and new studio I am finally back to work in the studio and boy does it feel good! I have work space, storage space and my computer too. 



My new studio feels a little bit like the old one--the cabinets came from the studio in East Syracuse. But the space is very different. I have much more natural lighting thanks to two large windows at one end of the studio. And I have two countertops, instead of one to work on. Both were made from doors  approx 7 feet tall by 30 inches wide, polyurethaned with several coats to create a nice smooth work surface, which cleans very easily.




My husband built a storage system underneath the countertop at the far end of the room. He also added overhead lighting since that end of the room is the farthest away from the windows. 

I have some overhead cabinets which house assorted art supplies and one monster cabinet way at the end of the room (next to the door to Narnia--okay--it's the attic--more storage!!!). Also room for my bookcase, CD's (yes I still have CD's). There are still a few containers full of "Stuff' which needs to find a home in the cabinets.



  


My computer Big Mac is located near the windows and as you can see I have my painting of the Green Beer Parade on Tipp Hill displayed as a reminder of home. There's even a spot for cat-napping down by the windows. Tony and Amy keep my company while they catch a few zzz's. 

Ok, that's all for now. I'll keep you posted on progress in the new studio! 



Heading North

I'm just here for another week and then I head up to camp to get Windy Hill Studio North in shape. A

considerably smaller space, but I still get a lot done. Of course the inspiration is endless!


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Windy Hill Studio on the Move!

Low Tide, Henlopen State Park

Just a short post today to let you know that

Windy Hill Studio has moved!

That's right. WINDY HILL STUDIO has moved to Lewes, Delaware, just minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches on the East Coast.

My studio is nearly complete--I'm just waiting for the movers to bring in my storage cabinets tomorrow. The new space has lots of natural light, so I'm really loving it! And my furry studio assistants are loving to too!




Although my primary residence will be in Delaware, you can still find my artwork up in the Thousand Islands Region because I will still be spending summers at camp in the North Country. So look for my paintings, at Bay House Artisans in Alexandria Bay and River Muse in Clayton.

Floating Dream
Summer Afternoon in the Narrows


I feel so lucky to live in two extraordinary places, so full of natural beauty, so inspirational to paint!



Monday, April 23, 2018

Gearing Up for the Season

"Dawning"


Another Summer on The River


I've been gearing up for another summer on The St. Lawrence River. When I say summer I use the term loosely. The season on the River runs from May till about mid-October-- Columbus Day on one side of the River, Thanksgiving on the other side.


In my last post I blogged about RiverMuse, the new gallery opening in Clayton. This post is devoted to Bay House Artisans in Alexandria Bay. Over the last few years Bay House has established itself as a unique gift shop/gallery located right in the heart of Alexandria Bay. At Bay House you can find one-of-a-kind items, works of art, fine crafts including pottery, stunning hand-made jewelry and some delectable treats like chocolates.

Sunken Rock Lighthouse


Paintings, Prints, Cards and Scarves

At Bay House, I will have an assortment of small paintings, prints, cards and hand-painted silk scarves. The images will be primarily nature inspired with an emphasis on The St. Lawrence River and the Indian River Lakes scenery.

Detail of "Poppy!" scarf


We've Moved!

Yes, we've moved, but just a few doors down. So this year you will still find us in the heart of Alexandria Bay, but in a different building. I hope you will stop in to see Bay House Artisans in our new location, and perhaps come home with a lovely gift for someone special--could be you!





Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A New Venue!

"Early Morning Visitor"

New Venue

I'm very pleased to announce that I will be participating in a new venue in Clayton this summer. River Muse, Art Gallery & Studio will open its doors on May 5 for a soft opening. The gallery located at 229 John St. will feature artists and craftspeople from the Thousand Islands and surrounding areas. 

On Memorial Day Weekend River Muse will hold its Grand Opening. Artists from Northern NY and Southern Ontario will be featuring their work, and musical performances, raffles and family fun activities are all planned. You can find more details by clicking on the link below.

I'll be showing some of my newer pieces, mostly watercolor at the beginning and as the season goes on I'l have some acrylic paintings and a few of my paintings on silk. Subject matter will be nature inspired,--lots of Thousand Islands scenes like the ones shown here.

I hope you'll stop in when you are up on The River.

And where else am I showing?

For those of you who are used to seeing my paintings, prints, silk scarves and cards at Bay House Artisans in Alexandria Bay--I'll be there too. Each venue will have different pieces so if you don't see what you like at one place then visit the other! And you'll also find my work at the Sackets Harbor Arts Center.


"Through the Trees' view from Singer Castle

"Rainy Day, Blind Bay"

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

SUMMER ART CLASSES ---where am I teaching?




Teaching Schedule Summer 2018

I've had a few people ask me about my teaching schedule for summer 2018--so here it is!
I'm teaching in two locations Thousand Islands and Sackets Harbor.

Thousand Islands Arts Center

Watercolor: The Basics (an intro class)

July 24 and 25, noon - 4:00 pm

$80 Non-members; $72 TIAC members
All supplies included in class fee


Watercolor: The Next Step

July 31 and Aug. 1, noon - 4:00 pm
$80 Non-members; $72 TIAC members
All supplies included in class fee

Call Thousands Islands Arts Center for registration information 315 686-4123  or visit TIArtsCenter.org


Sackets Harbor Arts Center

Creating Atmosphere in Your Watercolors (some watercolor experience required)
August 8 - 9 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
$75 Non-members; $67 AANNY members
All supplies included in class fee


You can find registration information on the website www.aanny.org

I'll see you up in the North Country! 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Reeling in the "Big Fish"



BIG FISH

So to all of the fishermen out there expecting something else---I'm sorry. This is not a post about fishing.

Last week I started working on a piece titled Big Fish. Big Fish is a 26" x 17" banner with a painting on silk as the focal point, framed by tie-dyed fabric with two accent medallions made from polymer clay near the top. The medallions are spouting water (seed beads).
The idea had been in my head for a while and last week it just needed to come on out and materialize. 

Why last week? Well I've been calling this my de-compression piece. I'm in the middle of packing to move out of state and trying to sell my house, which means the house has to be in a constant state of readiness. You never know when someone might want to see the house so it needs to be neat, uncluttered and clean. Oh and I'm still producing artwork--which usually involves a bit of clutter and definitely a mess!

At this point I'm producing mainly hand-painted silk scarves and a few small watercolors, trying to be as neat as possible.

BUT last week after much cleaning, touch-up painting (walls) and packing I needed to do something to de-compress. Something different to take my mind off of the house. Something that involved more than painting.

The Birth of Big Fish 


The plan for this painting on silk began with a sketch on small paper, and then a larger paper (pictured here) with color added to help me plan where I wanted warm and cool colors. The design was then transferred to silk, using a water-based gutta (resist) to outline each area and keep colors from running into areas where I didn't want them to mix.

In the two pictures below the dye (Dyna-Flow) has been added. Salt was used to create the texture in the water. In the first painting the "bubbles" are covered in gutta to keep them free of color. Both of these photos are a bit yellower than the actual piece. I took these photos under a fluorescent light--hence the yellow-y tone.

 In this picture the gutta has been washed out and the bubbles hand painted with iridescent fabric paint. I've added several color accents on the body of the fish as well.

When the fish portion of the piece was done I backed it with a fuse-able interfacing for support. And then moved on to tie-dying the side pieces which became the frame.


The fabric panels which became the frame were also backed with the fuse-able interfacing and attached to the fish panel. I had planned to sew them but realized that I didn't have a strong enough sewing machine needle to go through the backing, so the frame panels were fused with stick-witchery--or something like that. (I thank my mom for teaching me how to sew back when I was 11 years old--it is a skill I use from time to time in my creative work).

A rod pocket was added to the top of the fabric frame and bamboo pole inserted for hanging purposes.

Medallion Accents

The medallion accents near the top of the piece were made with polymer clay, imprinted with a crumpled aluminum foil texture. Seed beads in water-y colors cascade from 4 holes in the center of each medallion. 


What's Next?

So now that Big Fish is done what will I do next? Keep fishing around for ideas???? or pack and clean. I think I feel another fish on the line---or maybe it's a Big Turtle with all kinds of glorious colors and patterns on its shell!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Back in the Studio

"Through the Trees"

Back in the Studio

I'm back in the studio after devoting most of the month of February to packing, painting rooms and clearing away excess stuff in preparation for selling my house. No new work was created in Windy Hill Studio except for a couple of Shamrockin' hand-painted silk scarves. So after a month without painting I was more than ready to get back into the studio.

"Through the Trees" (watercolor) is inspired by the view from the grounds of Singer Castle on Dark Island, in the Thousand Islands Region of the St. Lawrence River. The painting though is more about light and mood rather than a specific place. 

As one of many painters who are inspired by the River I am always looking for new ways to approach my work. So many artists are painting the same iconic scenes and each has their own style. I am happy to be included among the many River painters. But as an artist I feel the need to go beyond the imagery to paint a mood or feeling. 

Simple shapes, organic forms and limited color

In the painting "Through the Trees" I used an analogous color scheme -- colors that are next to each other on the color wheel--to keep the composition simple and unified. The wet-on-wet technique was used throughout the painting to create a soft, muted effect with the colors as they blended seamlessly one into another.

The lower third of the painting is an ambiguous shadowy area creating a kind of boundary between the viewer and The River.

The simple shapes, organic forms, and limited color  reminded me of some of the Arts and Crafts Movement prints--which I have always loved. The day before I painted this scene I had seen an art show featuring a few Arts and Crafts style pieces which must have influenced me.

I plan on painting an acrylic version of this piece, which I know will have an entirely different feel. I'll post that when it is finished.





Monday, February 12, 2018

Big Changes Coming Up for Windy Hill Studio PART THREE





"Purple Iris"

NEW STUDIO PART THREE

If you have read my last two posts you know I'm in the process of moving to Lewes, Delaware. And that means Windy Hill Studio moves too. My new studio space is described in the two previous posts.

One of the best things about the new space is the large "countertop" made from a 7 foot long by 30 inch wide door coated with 4 layers of polyurethane. My new countertop and the lighting above it (not pictured here) provides me with a nice, clean, well-lit place to paint silk scarves.

A Productive Month

During the time I was in Delaware I completed 6 scarves:  2 Irises , 2 Poppies and 2 Water Lilies. Each scarf has slightly different colors.


"Iris" under construction



"Pink Iris"



"Poppies!" with green background under construction

"Poppies!" with yellow background


Yellow "Water Lily"

Pink "Water Lily" under construction


This photo shows the countertop and the storage space for paintings, mat board etc underneath


Future Plans


I have plans to add another countertop/storage space on the other side of the studio--maybe on my next trip down to Delaware. Meanwhile I need to keep on packing. 

Here are the links to the previous posts about me new studio -- just in case you need to catch up!

http://joanapplebaumart.blogspot.com/2018/02/big-changes-coming-up-for-windy-hill.html
http://joanapplebaumart.blogspot.com/2018/02/big-changes-coming-up-for-windy-hill_8.html