Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twitter Art Exhibit Los Angeles

Dew Drop Trio
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 4x6 inches

This is my entry into the next Twitter Art Exhibit!

The Twitter Art Exhibit: Los Angeles
Exhale Unlimited Gallery
953 Chung King Road
Los Angeles, CA
January 12 through February 10, 2013

For more information:

If you are an artist on Twitter, check out the Call For Artists:
Deadline for Submission is Friday, January 4, 2013

Post Card Sized Paintings will be for sale for $35.00

The charity the sale of the paintings will benefit is Art Division in LA's Rampart District, an at-risk group within one of Los Angeles' most densely populate and underserved communities.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

The Old Palette

Dig out that old watercolor palette.  Maybe there is a color waiting there that you have not used in a very long time.  Perhaps it will become your new favorite old color.

Here is a picture of a palette I have not used in a few years.  Permanent Violet Bluish is a color that I have had in all my palettes since ummm 1998.  This palette is not that old though, I think I put it together in the early 2000s.  The turn of the current century!

MaimeriBlu's Avignon Orange, Dragon's Blood and Garnet Lake.  I love these colors!  These are three colors I chose based solely on their names.  Yes, I am guilty of this.  It's gotta a cool name and I want to try it.  Garnet because it's my birthstone.  Dragon's Blood, it's a mythical magical color.  I will be incorporating these colors in upcoming projects.

What colors are on your old watercolor palette?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Take Notes! 

It is an excellent idea to take notes of the colors your are using in a watercolor painting.

This is a great thing to practice if you are new to watercolor painting.  It will help you remember your colors and color mixtures.  You can always refer back to your notes in the future if you want to know "How did I mix that color?"

If you are working on a project that will take more than a few days, having color notes to reference over a period of time is very helpful.  Especially if you have several reds or blues that look the same in the palette but paint very differently on paper.

Paint a swash of color and write down the name of the color.  If you have that color in more than one brand, remember to add the brand to your notes.  If you're mixing two colors together, make note of the two colors you mixed to achieve that color.

I love to take notes and I save them for future reference.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Ornaments

It is so much fun creating Christmas ornaments from my hand tipped, torch fired enamel beads.  The large 20 mm balls are perfect for miniature Christmas Ornaments.

I have been busy adding more ornaments to the Christmas Ornament Section my Squier Etsy Shop.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

My favorite mixture for creating the perfect color for rocks with watercolor is burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.

Mix the two color equally and deeply and you can achieve a rich black, water it down a bit for the perfect neutral grey.

Add more burnt sienna if you want browner rocks.
Add more ultramarine blue if you want a blue grey rock.

Both burnt sienna and ultramarine blue are sedimentary colors.  They have heavy pigments that will sink at different rates within the water.  You can achieve neat sedimentary or granulating effects for rocks by mixing these two colors together.  It creates a cool textured effect.

I love this combo!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dreaming of Pastries

Just finished painting my Christmas Cards!

This is a record for me.  I usually plan to do them in August, then hope to have them done before Thanksgiving.  Then tell myself I will paint them Thanksgiving weekend.  Thanks goodness Thanksgiving came early this year.  I was able to get my Christmas cards painted this week ... after the weekend.

Now I would love to show them to you, but that would spoil the surprise to those who are on my Christmas card list.

Each year, since 1995, I have been hand painting my Christmas cards.  Except for maybe 2 years when it was just impossible to do so.  And yes, I got complaints from those on my list!  Can you believe it?  And from people who just sign a store bought card and stuff the envelope and at least half of those use computer printed address labels.  What nerve!

While I was painting my cards, this afternoon I started craving M&Ms.  You'll have to wait to see the card in a few weeks, I'll post a picture.  Then you'll see how the M&Ms fit in.  After handwriting, yes handwriting the verse on the inset and signing my name I started thinking about Napoleons.  On November 3rd I baked for the very first time Napoleons for my husbands birthday.  I started at 10 am and was finally done with them at 5 pm.  They were awesome!  Someday, I will bake them again.

And for non-believers, here's a few of my step by step photos.  It all starts with a square of homemade dough.  The secret is that it is not really hard, it just takes a bunch of steps with a bunch of waiting in between steps.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Wet Your Brush First 

A super important thing to remember when watercolor painting is to always always wet your brush in clean water first before dipping the brush into the paint.

Wetting the brush first will help your brushes last longer.

This is super important if you have the very nice and very expensive sable brushes.

Wet the brush first, even if you have a puddle of color on your palette.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cigar Box Guitar Video

Last week we learned how to create videos using the iPod touch.  It's short and simple.  But you will be able to hear the sound of some of the cigar box guitars and amps found in our Squier Etsy Shop.

Click here to see and hear more of our CBGs on YouTube.

Cyber Monday Sale

Today in our Squier Etsy Shop

Our Cyber Monday Sale

25% Off select Rustic Tea Light Candle Holders

Click here to get to the Rustic Candle Holder Section

Prices have already been reduced!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Twist Drag and Roll

Need to form a point with your round brush to paint a nice fine line?

Dip your brush into your color.
Twist, Drag and Roll the brush backwards across your palette to get the brush back into its pointy shape.
Paint your line.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cigar Box Guitars

My husband Michael builds cigar box guitars he calls them Country Boy Guitars.  There's a new batch of new CBGs for sale in the Cigar Box Guitar and Amp section of our Squier Etsy Shop.

The neat thing is ... we have figured out how to make videos with out little iPod touch.  This will give you an idea of what the cigar box guitars sound like.

Here's where you can find the videos on YouTube:

If you want to see a sampling of other CBGs Michael has built check out this page:
It also includes an awesome sound clip and is linked to a few videos on YouTube.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Pale Pale Wash 

Have trouble seeing where you put the clear water when creating a wet into wet background?

Use a super pale pale color when creating your background or sky to dampen the paper before adding in your colors.  This way you can see where you have painted already painted the wash and where you need to go.

The super pale color will dry back and almost disappear when dry and you will have a guide as to where to place your wet into wet colors.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Miniature Christmas Ornaments

Look what's new in my Squier Etsy Shop!

Miniature Christmas Ornaments
Made from my torch fired enamel beads.

Perfect for that little Christmas tree.

These little ornaments would also make a great hostess gift or grab bag gift.  I have them in sets of three and sets of five.

Look for the ones shown here and more:
Squier Christmas Ornaments

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Watercolor Wednesdays

Tonight's watercolor class we will be painting a snowman.

Sometimes I give my students a black and white print out of a sample painting I have created before class.  The black and white shows the value.  Lights, mediums and darks.  This way they have a guide and are not influenced by my color choices.

You can create your own value studies before painting, by sketching out your painting in pencil, adding in lights and darks.

You can also take a digital picture of your painting, edit it in Photoshop, remove the color so all you see is the grayscale image.  This will help you see if you have enough value tones in your painting if you have trouble deciding if you have enough darks and cannot see the color values.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Test Paper

Have a piece of good quality watercolor paper handy for testing colors, testing brush strokes before you apply it to your painting.

Use the same type of paper you would normally paint on, don't be stingy and use something cheap.  Colors won't appear the same, the paper won't absorb the same way, the technique or stroke may differ on different types of paper.

Use a small piece of watercolor paper.
Use the back of an old painting you don't like.

Will this color look good?  How do I make that tree stroke?  What will this color combo look like?  Test it on a piece of scrap paper before adding it to your painting.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

A Clean Brush is a Happy Brush

Even watercolor painting brushes need a good cleaning every now and then.

I like to use The Master's Brush Cleaner and Preserver.  They're slogan is "Keeps Brushes Like New."

It's a nice mild soap for cleaning your brushes.

If you need a helpful how to or step by step, check out my old Tuesday's Tip post from 2009:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Crossing Planes

Adding an object that crosses from one plane over top of another will add depth to your painting.  

The tall grasses crossover the pond, this helps to add depth.
The tree on the left, crosses over the middle ground and background adding even more depth and interest to the painting.

This is a simple trick to add depth to your watercolor painting.

Plus the tree relates to last week's tip, its branches extend beyond the top and side of the painting.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Colorful Color

The Little House 
by Artist Rita Squier 

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 11x15"

Saunders Waterford 140 lb. Watercolor Paper
MaimeriBlu Watercolor Paint 

Last week's class project.  And what a fun and colorful project it was! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Edge Stopping

Whatever object you're painting ... don't stop just before you get to the edge of the painting.

Lines, objects, tree limbs can be painted right off the edge of the painting.

The sad tree on the right has been painted with limbs that stop well before getting to the edge of the painting.

The tree on the left has limbs that extend off the top and side of the paper.  This is a happy tree, a more interesting tree.

This technique can be applied to all sorts of objects.  It's okay to paint beyond the edge.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall for Color

Autumn Color
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 11x15

Painted on Saunders Waterford 140 lb., cold pressed, archival, 100% cotton rag, acid free watercolor paper with MaimeriBlu artist quality watercolor paint.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Latest Class

Pink Flamingo No. 1
by Artist Rita A. Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 11x15"

This was my class project for this past Wednesday's watercolor class. It was fun exercise in loosening up while painting.  Which isn't always so easy for some.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Today's Tip:
Paint your lightest light next to your darkest dark.

While painting this quick little watercolor study, this little tip kept running through my mind, so I thought I would share it with you today.

If your lightest light is next to your darkest dark, it will create a more dramatic effect on your center of interest.

With watercolor painting, the white of the paper is your white.  The dark rocks make the rushing white water pop in this little study.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday's Painting

October Birthday
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 7" x 10"
On 300 lb. Winsor Newton Watercolor Paper

Painted this afternoon.  I have not painted on 300 lb. paper in awhile, I do enjoy it.  I actually love it!  The ability to paint wet into wet for a longer period of time suits my style perfectly.

Those with October birthdays get to enjoy the splendor and beauty of Autumn's colorful display.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Etsy Front Page

In the wee hours of the early morning, my Squier Etsy Shop made it to the front page of the website and by early afternoon our featured item has sold.  Yay!

In his spare time, my husband Michael makes business card holders and pen holders out of black walnut with vintage tools.  We add them to the Desk Accessories section of our Squier Etsy Shop.

Thank you Etsy!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Lost and Found Edges 

To create drama in your watercolors you can add lost and found edges.  Also known as hard and soft edges.

The first blue shape consists of all hard edges or found edges.

The center green shape is a mix of found edges and lost edges.

The purple shape on the right was painted and all the edges were soften and have completely lost the hard edge.

To create a lost edge, I paint a swash a color, then use a clean brush, barely damped with clean water and work from the outside dry paper area, scrubbing toward the swash of color.  Lightly scrubbing the hard edge will help soften it up, you will loose the hard look and it will soften and fade away.

For some people it takes a bit of practice.  Use a scrap of watercolor paper or practice on a painting that did not turn out so well, practice right on the front or flip it over and use the back of the paper.  Add some lost and found edge shapes.  Who knows, maybe that painting you didn't think was so great will look fantastic with a few added shapes of lost and found edges.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sneak Peek

Autumn Approaching 
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size:  11x15"

Here's a sneak peek at tonight's watercolor class painting project.

Dark and stormy sky with a colorful wet into wet fall tree line and a simple light, medium, dark varying foreground.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Tilt the Board 

Tilting wet into wet watercolor can create drama and cool effects in your paintings.

1. Apply strong colors wet into wet.
2. Tip your board at a steep angle, allowing the colors to flow and blend.  For this one I tipped the board almost vertical and angled it resting the right bottom corner on my table.  I used a paper towel to blot and paint & water that ran off the edge of the paper.
3.  Once your are satisfied with the movement of the paint.  Lay the painting flat to dry.

This is an excellent way to create a dramatic sky in your paintings.

Think driving rain storm.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Finished Product

Brushes and Tape
by Artist Rita A. Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size:  11x15"

This is the finished product from Tuesday's Tips.  I meant to post it first thing Wednesday morning and other stuff just got in the way.

I loved the project so much, I used it as Wednesday's Watercolor Class project for the first night.  Kind of a really hard test for my students  (Sorry about that.)  But in a way, it really does give me an idea of where people are at watercolor painting wise.

It's not perfect, but it's great practice in painting without drawing first, value changes light to dark, painting a quick still life and painting negative space.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

My tip for today:

Step out of your comfort zone and paint what is right in front of you.

Try a style of painting you want to improve upon or have never tried before.  Challenge yourself.

Today's a blustery rainy day here.  I look out my window and I see maple leaves and small ornamental trees in the background.

Inside, right in front of me a still life waiting to be painted.  A simple roll of tape and a few watercolor paint brushes.  I personally do not set up a lot of still lifes.  But there it is, right in front of me.

A painting style I would like to do more of is negative shape painting.  I would normally give it a go with trees, leaves, flowers.  Today, I am attempting a negative space painting with a still life of common objects from my studio and I will do it all with one color making it an exercise in value tones.  I chose a blue with a wide range in values for the gloomy weather outside my window.

A quick shot of how my painting table looks right now at this very moment.  By now the paint and water have dried back and the painting is ready for step 2.

What's on your table?
What style or technique can you challenge yourself with?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Recipe Sharing

Easy Shortbread Cookies 

Sift together:

1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1/2 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Flour

Mix in:

1 Stick of Butter (1/2 Cup)

Mix by hand or with a mixer.

The dough will come together and form a smooth ball.

Scoop into 22 - 24 small round balls
Place on Ungreased Cookie Sheet
Sprinkle with Sugar

Bake at 350˚F for about 12 minutes or until edges are barely golden.

Cool on cookie sheet.
Remove and enjoy!

The Details: 

If you want to flavor these cookies, you can add your favorite extract.  They're good with or without extract.  I've tried vanilla, lemon and almond at different times.  About a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.  But it's really not necessary.

Most of the time, I mix the dough together by hand.  Literally by hand, no spoon.  It forms a smooth ball, the sides of the bowl and your fingers will be clean when ready for the next step.

I scoop out the dough and create little balls using a mini ice cream scooper thingie.  You can do heaping teaspoons.  Use your hands to form into little round balls.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Find something nifty to use to flatten them.
A glass, a cookie press gadget with a pretty pattern, a vintage meat tenderizer is what I chose for my periwinkle shortbreads shown below.
Dip the flattening tool into flour occasionally and then press the cookies flat.

Sprinkle with sugar.  I took regular sugar and added a few drops of food coloring and stirred to make the sugar periwinkle in color.  When my husband made a batch, he really flattened them and added raw sugar and flattened them again.  We've been making them like that since!  Makes you think you're getting a bigger cookie even though it's the same amount of dough since we use the scooper.  Plus the raw sugar is a pretty amber color and saves one step of coloring the sugar.

Depending on how thin or thick your cookies are the baking time will differ.
The thinner the cookie, the shorter the time.
The thinner the cookie, the crispier they are.
If you like the more crumbly shortbreads, don't flatten them too much.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

A Good Cleaning

Sometimes to be inspired to paint in watercolor the studio just needs a good cleaning.  I sorted through some of the clutter in my studio and put most of it away where it belongs.

Stacked the watercolor palettes.
Put away the paper.
Scrubbed the art table clean.
Cleaned the paint splatter off the lamps, the tv.
The curtains, well the paint splatter adds character.
The hardwood floor is shiny clean.
The drop cloth is in the washer and on its way soon to the dryer.

If we don't turn to the left, the studio is ready and waiting for the watercolor painting to begin!

For me a clean and organized space is very important.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday Morning Creature

This giant creature was hanging onto the inside of the screen door as I was trying to take the puppy outside this morning.

I held the door open and he crawled up to the outside.  Then he stopped with one leg still in the door.  I propped my flip flop in the screen door so he would not get crushed.  I yanked the puppy back into the house, close the main door and ran upstairs for my camera.  I had to take a picture of this giant bug, I'd never seen a bug so big and seeing it for the very first time at eye level inches from me was rather startling and word producing.  A long slew of words  "Holy moly .... phew thank goodness he didn't jump on me!"  No potty mouth words.

As I took a bunch of pictures, he very slowly crawled up higher.  I was able to get my flip flop back and take the puppy for a walk.

I posted my picture on twitter and almost instantaneously found out I have a praying mantis crawling on the side of my house.  Apparently he is good luck.  I need all the luck I can get right now!  It was suggested I transfer him to my garden.  Yeah right!  He can find his own way there, I ain't touching it.

I did a little research on the internet and got a bit creeped out with the facts and some of the folk lore.  I'll ignore the bad stuff like men going blind.  I will hold onto the positive.  All is good now, I have luck on my side!

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Etsy Activity Feed

Here's a peek at my Etsy Activity Feed.

I love the new layout, the larger photos.

Etsy shop owners take amazing photos of their products.

The single photos are of items someone I'm following has favorited.

The four up photos are either a Treasury I'm in, a Treasury someone in my feed has created or favorited.

If you mouse over the the block(s) of photos info pops up next to the mini avatar to let you know more about that block, whether the item was favorited or a treasury was created.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yay! Etsy Front Page

My beads made the front page of this evening!

A pair of 18mm Foggy Blue Torch Fired Enamel Beads in the loopy style.

It's so exciting to see my items make it to the front page of Etsy.  The last time an item from my shop made it was November 2011.

Oh so Happy!!

Now someone needs to purchase them!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Obtuse Study

Obtuse Study No. 5
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size:  11.25" x 9"

An experiment with paint, color and water on paper.

This watercolor and more are available for sale in my Squier Etsy Shop.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Obtuse Study

Obtuse Study No. 4
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size:  11.25" x 9"

An experiment with paint, color and water on paper.

This watercolor and more are available for sale in my Squier Etsy Shop:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Paisley Bead

Citrus Orange Paisley 
20 mm
Torch Fired Enamel Bead

Simply stunning!

I love torch firing beads and coating them with glass enamel.  The bead is beautiful and the photo is beautiful too.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Obtuse Study

Obtuse Study No. 3
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size:  11.25" x 9"

An experiment with paint, color and water on paper.

What do you see in this painting?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Obtuse Study

Obtuse Study No. 2
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size:  11.25" x 9"

An experiment of paint, color & water on paper.

This one and more can be found in my Squier Etsy Shop section for Original Watercolor Paintings.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bead Charms

I made a handful of bead charms.

They can be used as zipper pulls, perfect for those little tiny zippers you can barely get your fingers around.

Decorative little charm to add to anything with a little loop.

More Beads

More of my torch fired enamel beads.  A variety of beautiful colors for the 18 mm loopy beads and the 14x16 mm woven beads.

I love coating the metal beads with glass enamel using a small torch.  The spinning of the bead, the choosing of colors, watching the colors blend, it's almost therapeutic.

Sometimes the color combinations are a complete surprise.  The nature of the torch, the variation of heat on where you place the bead in the flame, the mixing of colors, timing, so many variables.

You just have to wait until the bead cools to see what you got!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beads Glorious Beads

I have created lots of torch fired enamel beads.

Here is a box filled with 20 mm of three different types of filigrees.  My mission style beads, flower beads and paisley beads.

I have created more beads than I can use myself.  I love seeing what others can create with them.

You can find my beads in my Squier Etsy Shop.  I have a whole section devoted to just Torch Fired Enamel Beads.

I love torching the metal beads and coating them with glass enamel.  I love color and playing with the colors.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday's Tips and Techniques for Watercolor Painting

Misting Your Palette

Depending on the brand of watercolor paint you're using, the time of year, the location or the age of your palette it may be necessary to mist your palette with clean clear water before you begin painting.  This will help soften the paint and make it easier for you to pick up more color, more quickly.

This is my very first palette of watercolors.  I started painting in watercolors in 1995.  All but two colors are Winsor Newton watercolors and they are the colors suggested by my first instructor.  The two additions Sap Green and Permanent Violet Bluish are Maimeri Blu watercolors.

The Winsor Newton colors consist of Paynes Grey, Brown Madder, Burnt Sienna, Alizarin Crimson, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine, Hookers Green, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Orange and Sepia.  Many of the colors have been replaced over time.  However, the cadmium yellow and cadmium orange I know for a fact I have only purchased one tube of each of those.  A little spritz of water before I begin painting and the paint works perfectly, like a charm.  Yes, you can use that old watercolor paint palette!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Obtuse Study

Obtuse Study No. 1
by Artist Rita Squier

Original Watercolor Painting
Size: 11.25" wide x 9" high

I created a new series of watercolor paintings entitled Obtuse Study.  It involves an experiment of paint, color and water on paper.

This series is currently available for sale in my Etsy shop:

Office Helper

Scooter enjoys rearranging my desk, commandeering anything he believes should be his or may be fun.

Two sheets of tissue wrapping paper now belong to Scooter.  Tissue paper apparently is lots of fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy July

 I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Today was a busy day, but I found a little time to bake a tray of homemade scottish shortbread cookies and topped them with periwinkle sprinkles.  Then I found the perfect bowl in my cupboards to place them into ... the cookies keep disappearing.

I've decided to call them my Periwinkle Shortbreads.

This evening I took a break and went outdoors to pick tomatoes.  I found one ripe yellow tomato the size of a little super ball, remember those?  And one ripe little Cupid Tomato.  They were gone within two minutes of picking, so no pictures.  :)

I also noticed the bumper crop of raspberries growing on a raspberry bush that I tried to dig out of the garden last summer.  Guess I didn't get all the roots. It only took ... oh ... 22 years to be able to pick this pretty bowl full.  Tomorrow even more will be ready for picking.


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