World Watercolor Month

world-watercolor-month-square-badge-simple2Hello Minders,

I think I will try to participate in this as much as I’m able. Sounds like a lot of fun.

What’s World Watercolor Month? After many of us have been celebrating various national and international days with watercolor on Doodlewash, it became apparent that there wasn’t an official celebration of the medium we all love. Over 18,000 applications are submitted for “official days” each year and only 30 are added to the calendar so it was a long shot, but the registrars agreed with the cause and now it’s official! July is now and forever World Watercolor Month! Let’s make sure nobody misses out, please help spread the word!

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3-Layer Watercolor Landscape Challenge w/Postings

Hello Minders,

Last week I posted a YouTube video with a simple challenge. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the video again so you can take part. I’ve also reposted the guidelines for the challenge which are simple and flexible and meant to be a quick painting starter for which you don’t need to do a lot of planning and drawing unless you want to. At the bottom of this post I’ve included a Tagboard link so you can see some of the posts from other viewers who’ve already participated. This interaction has been really fun to see and there have been a lot of great posts and ideas. So keep on painting and posting. There is no immediate deadline so as long a people want to keep tagging their posts this will continue.

Challenge Guidelines

1. It should be recognizable as a landscape with 3 discernible layers representing foreground, middle ground and background. You don’t have to paint them in any specific order. These three layers do not have to include the sky.

2. Layers can be any size, width or shape. They can contain textures, water, tree lines, fields, buildings, rock formations, or any other landscape elements you can think of. Elements from one layer such as trees or a house, can appear to break the line and overlap a layer behind it.

3. Layers can be any color but work on good foreground to distance scale and Aerial Perspective (closer objects are warmer and more contrasty, the more distant they are, the cooler, less detailed and lower their contrast).

4. Draw it out on your paper ahead of time if you wish but you don’t have too. Just start painting if you prefer.

5. Painting from reference such as photo reference is fine but keep it quick and simple and try to paint more than one.

Have fun!

***Share your work with me and other Minders on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with hashtag #tmowatercolor I’ll be monitoring the hashtag on all three networks and looking for my favorites.***

Click below to see the Tagboard gallery of other participants work so far. Tagboard doesn’t always bring in every post perfectly so I apologize if it somehow missed yours. I will try to refresh this board from time to time.

tagboard pic

 

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Finding Art Show Inspiration

ideabulbSpring has fully sprung and with it comes a springboard of festival and art show opportunities right on through Fall. Its a great way to get out and get in some walking, but also a boon for artistic inspiration.

Here are some tips to take full advantage of the opportunities.

All Genres are Game

It doesn’t matter that all you do is draw, or that you draw or paint a particular subject or in a specific medium. If you are looking only for the same genre and medium you prefer, you’re missing a lot. There is motivation to be had in every artistic genre and medium. I’ve been motivated to paint by looking at ceramics and even jewelry. And if the work itself doesn’t provide that inspiration, sometimes the artist’s dedication and unique approach to their craft will.

Composition and Design

I made a big point of this in my video (below) but its a huge part of creating good art. A part that all too often is totally ignored by lesser artists. I love good art shows for this because I’m so often taken to school in the area of composition and design. These two artistic qualities are tightly intertwined but I would define composition as the artful balance of the elements in the piece. Design takes that a step further by the careful choice and arrangement of shapes, use of negative and positive space and combining those elements into a dynamic, graphic visual that moves the eye or interacts in ways that may have nothing to do with the realistic depiction of the subject. For me, a piece with great design can dispense with the realism entirely and still end up with an abstract that is artistically compelling.

Colors and Textures

Being primarily a watercolorist I frequently look for this type of inspiration. In addition to paintings and drawings, great colors and textures can be found in abundance in works like woodworking, ceramics, sculpture or jewelry. Art exhibits can provide a prime opportunity to visualize various color combinations and palettes you might not have thought of otherwise.

Subject Matter

A good art exhibition often times sends my creative imagination off in unexpected directions with an artist’s unique treatment of certain subjects. Not just choice of subject but the point of view, scale, lighting, placement, crop, combination with other subjects or objects, etc. Interesting treatment of a subject can also supply clues as to how you might treat a totally different subject. Let your mind roam free with the ideas you encounter. “Hey, I never thought of combining a flower and vase with pruning shears in exactly that way, maybe I can do a similar thing with…”

Talk to the Artists

This is perhaps one of the most fun and engaging activities at an art show. You’ll learn a lot and strike up some interesting conversations in the process. Its true a few exhibitors are hesitant to talk or share. If they’re sitting in a chair behind their booth reading a book, its a good bet they prefer to be left alone (hmm, not so good for sales either unfortunately). Most artists, however, are anxious to discuss their work and some will even talk your ear off. Take advantage of it, but talk to them about THEM and their work, not about YOU! I like to engage an artist by complimenting them on something I specifically enjoyed in their work. This is a great conversation starter. Being specific is important! Realize that good artists are used to general compliments on their overall exhibit. Its ok to do that, but try to point out something specific that particularly impressed you. That tells them you are really studying the work and engaged with their art. Want to know how they did it? Naturally. A few questions about their chosen medium and technique is ok, but avoid a long list of very detailed questions about their technique and process. Some artists are very protective of those details. Let them bring it up if they are willing. Other great conversations starters are usually questions about the subject of their work, why they chose it and what about it appeals to them or what inspired a particular piece. Finally, be considerate. In shows such as the one in this video, some of the artists can be quite busy selling, answering questions, explaining their work, etc. Wait your turn, talk to them briefly then get out of their way. If you want to talk more, come back later and engage them when they aren’t busy.

How to Find Art Shows

If your area has any arts organizations, thats a great place to start. Greenville, SC has at least 3. Our Metropolitan Arts Council for example lets anyone get on their email list for free. I get notice of any upcoming arts related events and call for entry notices as well. Google-ing “Arts” and your closest and largest metropolitan area is a good place to start (i.e. “arts Greenville, SC”).

If you really want to get into the show circuit and perhaps even travel to a few, check your local book store or magazine stand for Sunshine Artist Magazine and pick up a copy, or subscribe online. This is the premier publication for art and craft show listings across the US and Canada. You can also access listings on their website.

Also check out ArtFairCalendar.com. Although I found the site a bit confusing and difficult to use, they seemed to provide a ton of links and listings for arts and craft shows across the US and Canada.

Get out, enjoy some great weather, exercise and ART!

 

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Sketchbook Peeks

Steve Mitchell here with just a bit of news. I’ve started an ongoing series of Patreon exclusive content videos and posts called Sketchbook Peeks. I thought it would be cool to give my patrons a peek at things going on in my sketchbook or on my drawing easel along with helpful tips and tricks. This may take the form of short time lapse video or pictures with brief descriptions and comments.

IMG_0697The first installment is this bird sketch using ink, pencil and Tombow marker as a brief time-lapse video and its available now in the Patreon exclusive feed.

If you’re not a Patreon supporter you can have access to this type of ongoing content for as little as $5 a month. In addition you would be supporting me and the time and effort involved in creating and sharing my main content on YouTube at The Mind of Watercolor

Thanks so much to all of you who’ve already partnered with The Mind of Watercolor. Hope you enjoy these, you’re the best!

Tombow Dual Brush Gray Marker set http://amzn.to/1Tsel4V

 

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Rose Botanical Workshop Now Open

Hello everyone. Week three and the second part of the Strathmore Online Workshop is under way. We’re working on a realistic botanical painting of a rose. In this one we’ll get into a good bit of subtle blending and glazing. Hope to see you over there.

rose_bot-low

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Watercolor Basics Playlist Guide

I’m often asked by beginners if I have any order or steps to viewing my videos. Well, not really. I started my channel as a way to post random tips and techniques and its a scatter shot approach. But now, almost 2 years later, I have enough videos that I can kind of direct you to the basics, at least in a more useful way. YouTube Playlists make this easier. So i’ve gone back and rearranged one of my first ever playlists in an order that might be helpful for first time watercolorists. Its not comprehensive mind you, so may not teach you everything you need to learn from start to finish, but it definitely has plenty to get you moving and I hope you beginners (or anyone wishing to review) find it helpful.

Here is a synopsis of the episodes, numbered as they appear in the playlist.

Materials

1-5: These 4 videos deal with picking your basic supplies. What you need to know, useful tips and even my own personal favorites as you gear up to paint.

Control

6-10: I call these the “control” videos because they teach you basic control of the medium, how to spread, apply and blend watercolor paint. The techniques in these 5 videos will make up the mainstay of what you need to know and practice to paint with confidence.

Misc. Techniques

11-15: 4 videos on other miscellaneous but important techniques to learn in your painting development. Here the videos get a little more random and far from being all inclusive. This section will hopefully expand as time goes on.

Brushes

16-19: These 4 videos demonstrate features of specific brushes that might be helpful in deciding what brushes to buy and use.

Color

20-23: 4 videos dealing with colors and color mixing. I’m just getting started on this section of videos, so look to see this part of the list expand in the future.

Inspiration and Motivation

24-26: 3 pep-talk videos to inspire, motivate and get your artistic enthusiasm moving forward. These were produced very randomly, so more may surface in the future as I think of them.

If you think of other videos on topics you would like to see covered that might fit well in this beginner’s playlist, I’m open to suggestions. I will open the comment section in this post below so feel free to leave suggestions.

26 Video “Basics” Playlist

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Sketching Fail? Yes and No!

fail_sketchIf you saw the video in this post, my remarks beg a simple question – “Did I fail?” Well, for me the answer is yes and no. Many who commented on YouTube were gracious and said they thought the building sketch turned out great. And while I appreciate that, there is a deeper teaching moment here. If you’ve watched my other videos, you’ve heard me say it before. “Embrace failure as a teacher.”

Was the Sketch Good?

This is a different question than, “Did I fail?”  Ask 10 people differing in skill from master to beginner and you’ll get 10 different answers. Its really far from the point of failure or success. So… what am I saying? What is my teaching moment? I thought you’d never ask.

Set Goals and Reach High

When you’re learning (and that includes 100% of us), study other artist’s work. Reach for ambitious standards. As you do, you will quite often say with me, “this was a failure”. Get comfortable with it. You’ll say this a lot if you’re learning. And others may never understand what failed. So be it.

Set Failure on it’s Ear

Once you’ve come to terms with the failures, its time to redefine your work. This takes some analysis. As a beginner, you may not even know how to fix what you’d like to fix. Keep learning everything – technique, color sense, media control, process. Bit by bit you’ll understand what you can do differently. Redefine your “fail” in instructive terms just as I did near the end of this video. It was an awesome day, with awesome weather, and an awesome subject. The bonus? I learned something and I’ll always remember what it was when I look at that sketch. I tried a process that did not work well for me. Next time I’ll try again only differently.

Will I fail again? I’m counting on it!

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