Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Practice Strokes
Another great use for those left over scraps from trimming watercolor paper down to size or removing those giant watermarks and embossed logos is practicing strokes.

Let's just say you're trying to get the right stroke for painting those whispy leafless tree limbs. Pick up a scrap of watercolor paper and practice. You don't want those strokes to look all the same. You want variety in shape and size. A patchy scruff of grass, do you have the right color, the right brush, the right amount of paint and water?

A scrap of watercolor paper is perfect for practicing until you get the desired stroke down pat.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Simplicity in Abstract Art

Umber Drips
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 11" x 15"

Sometimes it is the sheer simplicity in abstract art that is the most fascinating. As with almost any style of painting you can create your own story behind a piece. The subtle changes in light and value, the mood, the colors, contribute to creating a very subjective meaning, a very personal experience for each individual person. I believe everyone has their own take on what they see and what they feel about a painting. Sure you can contemplate what the artist was thinking, what the artist was trying to paint ... give it a try ...

What do you see in this painting?
What is the feeling in this painting?
What was the artist thinking about when creating this painting?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Naming A Painting

Death of a Frog
by Artist Rita Squier

Abstract Painting
Watercolor, India Ink & Gouache
Size: 11 x 15 inches

Naming a painting is sometimes more difficult than painting the painting itself. Here is a painting I created either in or in preparation for one of the abstract watercolor classes I teach. At the time it was created and when I was preparing to show it to my students, it did not have a name. I was holding up the painting, talking about it and the techniques. I looked at the ink splotch in the middle of the painting and thought it looked like frog's legs, as though he was trying to leap through the painting but got stuck. The title just came to me ... Death of a Frog. I know a little bit morbid and so unlike me. But the title just stuck, just like the frog was stuck in the center of the painting.

This painting and more are available in my new Abstract Art section of my Etsy Shop.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Tilting with Tape
Most often it is advantageous to tilt your watercolor board when you paint with watercolors. Even a slight tilt helps the colors mix and mingle. Wet into wet brush strokes magically disappear as you paint if your board is tilted. The angle at which you paint may differ depending upon your own style and comfort. Some people prefer a steep angle and some a simple slight angle. Tilting just the board and not the entire table top is best, then all your equipment, paint, water containers can all sit flat on the table.

A quick and easy way to tilt your watercolor board, simply slide your roll of masking tape underneath the top center edge of your board.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Abstract Watercolors

The Window
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor & Wax Resist Painting
Size: 11" x 15" inches

This is a cool abstract watercolor painting created with wax ... white candle wax, plastic wrap, kosher salt and cotton string.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ready for Autumn?

Autumn Jewels
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
ACEO - Art Card
Size: 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Pretty soon the autumn leaves will be turning glorious colors. Then ... it will be time to rake up all those leaves. Enjoy the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Scraps for Colors
Watercolor paper comes in big sheets 22" x 30" inches. Often times we trim down the big sheets to paint a bunch of smaller paintings. There are times when I do not want the company's huge watermark showing up on my paintings, so I will trim those off too.

What are we left with? A bunch of little scraps.

Save these little scraps. They can come in very handy for testing colors and choosing colors for a painting. You can use them to see how the colors you have chosen blend together and mix to make more colors. You can use them to make a swatch of colors used in a painting that you will not be able to finish in one sitting. Paint a little square of each color and label the colors with a pen or pencil. That way, when you are ready to start painting again you will know exactly which yellow, red or green you were using.

Save your scraps!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Snowflake 11
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
ACEO - Art Card
Size: 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Number 11 in the series of 12 Snowflake art cards. I will slowly add them to my Etsy shop. If you're interest in this one, several of them or all of them, they would make a gorgeous addition to your collection or a fantastic holiday gift idea!

Give everyone on your list a similar yet unique little piece of original artwork!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Snowflakes 1 through 12
by Artist Rita Squier

A dozen ACEO Art Cards
Original Watercolor Paintings
Size: 2.5 x 3.5 inches

Yesterday, I was cleaning up and rearranging my studio. I am starting to prepare for a new project. I found a piece of watercolor paper with pencil lines lightly drawn on it. I took out a ruler and measured it. The grid size was 2.5x3.5 inches. Perfect for art cards. I also found a few of my old watercolor Christmas cards which were the inspiration for the design. A larger painting trimmed and separated into mini paintings. I have not decided if they will be ACEOs, art cards for sale or ATCs, artist trading cards.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Flower Centers
When painting flower petals, leave a space for the center. Do not paint the color of the petals all the way to the center of the head of the flower and then add the center color either wet or dry. By doing this the colors will bleed into each other and it will not show up very well. Leave some of the white of the paper to fill in a pretty contrasting color for the center. This will allow the center of the flower to have a bit of it's own brilliance. It will also give the flower more depth and shape.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 5 x 7 inches

Wow, I simply cannot believe it is already September. The start of the Labor Day weekend is about to begin.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Playing with Colors

Garnet Fields
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 10.5 x 14 inches
Matted: 16 x 20 inches

Skies do not have to be blue, grass does not have to be green, mountains do not need to be painted as a faint blue. I love creating landscapes filled with unusual colors. It adds a bit of mystery and emotion to my watercolor painting. I love the glow of the setting sun in Garnet Fields.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Loosen Up Your Watercolors
Stop gripping those watercolor brushes so tightly. Loosen your grip, actually try to paint while holding your brush further up the handle. Keep your fingers off of the metal ferrule.

In sample 1, 2 and 3, the tree, grass and flower are painted with a tightly held and controlled brush. Often times, painting like this causes the strokes to become very uniform and rigid.

In samples 4, 5 and 6, the tree, grass and flowers are painted with a very loosely held brush. The hand is not resting on the table top. Use your arm a bit more and not just the hand. The strokes are freer and looser. The outcome is a more relaxed, carefree and emotional painting.

A bonus to this more expressive style would be the bristles will last longer and maybe your hand will not cramp up as well. Loosen up your grip on your brushes to create more expressive and free flowing watercolors.


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