Friday, February 27, 2009

Art in the Park

Art Fairs ... Thing of the Past?

Last summer, we signed up for several art fairs ... indoors and out. We created what we thought were esthetically pleasing booths, one for indoors and one for outdoors (as seen here). Yes, it is nerve racking preparing for the first show, worrying about weather for the outdoor shows, but in the end ... it was fun.

As for the shows themselves ... it was great to connect with other artists. It was fun watching the people wander around the art fair. Talking with people who were actually interested in our art was great. However, the overall turn out of visitors seemed to be low. Talking with other artists who have done the shows in the past, they said the turnout was a lot smaller. People seem to be "just browsing". With the shift in the economy from bad to worse, what will this summer bring?

Are art fairs a thing of the past?

I hope not. It is a fantastic way to get people out and about in the fresh air. Take in the sights of creative artisans displaying their wares to the world. Supporting local artists by purchasing goods directly from them. We all have rent to pay in one way or another.

Original fine art is so important to keep alive in our culture today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

For the Love of the Adirondacks

Citrine Forest
by Artist Rita Squier

A beautiful watercolor landscape, inspired by the Adirondack Mountains and lakes in Upstate New York.

The size is 11x15", painted with artist quality watercolor paints on 300 lb. archival, acid free, watercolor paper.

This painting is available for sale.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Punctuation Series ... Continued

by Artist Rita Squier

It is more important than ever to save those pennies!

Then spend them on original watercolor paintings!

Find more of my Punctuation Series in my Etsy Shop!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tips & Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Learn Your Palette - Color Mixing Chart
This chart is an excellent resource to have on hand. It is great for learning how the various colors in your own palette mix and react with each other. It also shows you the numerous colors you can create at a glance. I have created one of these charts for each of my palettes.

On a quarter sheet of watercolor paper (11 x 15") you can easily create a chart for 10 to 14 colors. Count the number of colors in your palette and create a grid that has one extra square across and down. If you have 10 colors in your palette you want your grid to be 11 squares across and 11 squares down. Place an X in the top left square, this square will remain blank. Outside the grid label each color in either rainbow order or the order you have them on your palette starting with the second block. Place a swash of clean color next to the coordinating names. Then mix each color evenly on your palette with each of the other colors and place them accordingly on the grid.

Remember the game Battleship? Plot your course in a similar fashion.

For a 10 color palette, I created a grid 8.25" x 8.25" of 3/4" squares 11 across and 11 squares down. I drew 2" lines for the names of colors. All done in pencil. I also added the brand name of the paint and the type of paper to the bottom corner. I used a 1/2" flat wash brush to mix and paint the colors into the grid. For the 14 color palette, I created a grid 7.5" x 14.75" with the squares being 1/2" high by 3/4" wide.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Love the Orchid

My Orchid 
by Artist Rita Squier 

This orchid of mine, the real one ... is amazing.  Several years ago at Christmas time I had the option of buying myself a poinsettia or an orchid.  I'm not good at getting poinsettia's to re-bloom the following year.  Both plants were the same price.  I opted for the orchid.  It was just starting to bloom at Christmas time and it continued to bloom through September.  Another shoot came up and it bloomed again at Christmas time and the blossoms bloomed again through September.  It has done this for 4 years in a row!  I love this orchid plant!  

I used my own photo of my orchid in one of my watercolor painting classes.  We didn't worry about the background, we only focused on painting the flower.  Yes, painting flowers is hard, but well worth it! 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Punctuation Series, Part Two

by Artist Rita Squier 

An exclamation point in blue, green and yellow.

Simply fun.  

I just had to share another one of my paintings from my Punctuation Series.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Punctuation Series

Question Please
by Artist Rita Squier 

A whimsical idea of a Punctuation Series popped into my head the other day.  So I decided to start on it right away.  I now have a variety of series going on all at once to keep me busy.  Question Please a yellowy-orange question mark is done on 5x7" 140 lb. watercolor paper.  This series is fun to create! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday's Tips & Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Choosing Colors
Choosing colors for your watercolor palette can be fun for some and frustrating for others.  Keep it simple.  A warm and a cool of each of the primary colors, plus 2 neutrals and 2 hard to mix colors green and purple.

For my classes, I suggest starting out with 10 colors: 
Warm Red - Crimson Lake
Cool Red - Primary Red Magenta
Warm Yellow - Indian Yellow
Cool Yellow - Permanent Yellow Lemon
Warm Blue - Ultramarine Blue Deep
Cool Blue - Primary Blue Cyan
Two Neutrals - Burnt Sienna & Payne's Grey
Purple - Permanent Violet Bluish
Green - Permanent Green Deep

The brand of paint I use for my classes is MaimeriBlu, an Italian superior artist quality paint.  Most of the colors are transparent.  Two are semi-transparent and also sedimentary, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue deep.  Different brands may have slightly different names for colors.  Plus colors with the same name may appear and act differently in the various brands.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Valentine

The Valentine for My Valentine.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Postcard Sized Art

Pretty Little 4x6" Works of Art
I have painted a bunch of small watercolors in the 4x6" size.  The size of your standard postcard.  I think I read somewhere, there is a specific term for this size art.  I can't remember the term and never realized there was a specific category for it.  

I also learned a new trick today.  How to capture a screen shot.  So, here is a quick screen shot of the Original Watercolor 4x6" Section of my Etsy Shop!  

The silly little things that can bring a smile to your face! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Watercolor Flowers

Lovely Little Floral 
by Rita Squier

Just a little something to brighten up your day!

Original watercolor painting,  4x6" and matted to fit a standard 5x7" frame.  

 Lovely Little Floral and others too ...

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday's Tips & Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Got a Color You Don't Want in Your Palette?
I paint in watercolor.  I like to squeeze tube paint into a palette and let it dry.  I label the side with the name of the color and the lip with a T for Transparent, S for Semi-Transparent and an O for Opaque (but I try not to use opaque colors).  I use a Sharpie marker.  If you make a mistake or replace one color with a new color, simply swab it with a bit of nail polish remover.  Let it dry and then you can relabel it.

But have you ever put a color in your palette that you don't want there anymore?  Or perhaps you have used almost all of it up, and you want to put fresh color in there or a different brand in that spot?  Maimeri Blu used to have a gorgeous Sap Green.  But then they couldn't get quality pigment any longer for the color, so they discontinued it.  I have been trying other brands of Sap Green and so far no luck in finding a replacement.  So, now I have Sap Green in the slot where I do not want it.  What to do? 

1.  Wet the edges with clean water on a brush, scrub around the edges just a little.
2.  Use a palette knife and work it under all around the edge on all sides.
3.  Work the palette knife under the base and grip the wad of paint with your thumb.
4.  Using your fingers, pull the lump of paint out of the palette square.
5.  Voila ... the square is now empty, the paint has been removed.
6.  Swash a wet paint brush around, scrubbing a bit to loosen up any remaining bits.
7.  Wipe out with a damp sea sponge.
8.  Now you have a clean empty square to fill with fresh paint.
9.  I place the paint I have removed in my scrap palette, a simple butcher's tray.

Waste not want not! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Abstract ACEOs

Splat II
by Rita Squier 

This is the latest in my series of abstract ACEOs called Splat II.   This original watercolor painting is only 2.5" x 3.5" and done on 140 lb. watercolor paper.

Just a little reminder:  ACEO = Art Cards, Editions & Originals.  They are created by artists to trade amongst each other and to sell to those who would love to purchase fine art from a variety of artists but do not have a large budget to spend on art.  Art Cards are a wonderful way to start up an art collection.  It can become an addicting hobby and luckily most art cards are sold at affordable prices, so if you don't have one to trade, they are easy to buy. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Watercolor Home

A gorgeous home deserves to be preserved in a gorgeous watercolor painting.   Here is a beautiful home in Upstate New York.  It was a pleasure to paint.

I love to paint commissioned house portraits in watercolor as large as 22" x 30" on 300 lb., archival, acid free, 100% cotton rag watercolor paper.  I use superior artist quality watercolor paints.  I paint from photos.  For those who are local to my area, I have gone out and photographed the homes I have painted.  Some of the most special home portraits I have painted have been commissioned as gifts.  Please feel free to contact me if you would like your home, former home, vacation home painted for yourself or as a gift.  I would love to create a keepsake for you!

Check out my website for more homes and buildings I have painted.  You can also check out my house portrait listings in my Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Trail Mix & Artisans of Etsy

I love making homemade trail mix.  It is super easy and the recipe can vary.  It all depends on what's in the cupboard.  Today's mix is one part peanuts, one part raisins and one part chocolate chips.  It even looks fantastic in this fabulous bowl found on Etsy which I got as a birthday gift.  

This Turquoise and Khaki Bowl was made by Boneyard Pottery, check out his Etsy shop for more cool pottery.  There are some fantastic artisans on Etsy.  Support quality art on Etsy!

And while you're there ... check out my Etsy Shop.  And ... tell your friends! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesdays Tips & Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Chart the Colors in Your Palette
Whether you have one palette or several like me, it is a good idea to make yourself a chart of all your colors.  You can do this if you have colors dried in a palette or even if you use your colors fresh from the tube.  Count up all the colors you have and create a grid on a sheet of watercolor paper.  I drew my grid in pencil with more boxes than colors I have, because in the future I will most likely try more colors.  What size you make your grid is up to you.  My chart has 2 inch squares on Arches cold pressed watercolor paper 15" x 19".  I painted one swash for each color and then labeled each square with the name of the color written with an india ink pen.  At the top of the page, I wrote Transparent Maimeri Blu Watercolors unless otherwise noted.  WN = Winsor & Newton, H = Holbein, O = Opaque, S = Semi-Transparent.  I tried to group my colors together, first row reds, second row yellows, then blue, green, purples and neutrals.  

A color chart shows you the array of colors in your palette(s) at a glance.  It can be very helpful in choosing the colors for your next painting.  Sometimes a color appears differently dried on the palette than dried on paper.  You can also check your chart to see the full name of the color and the brand when it comes time to order more.


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