Silk Aquatint Mixed Media: Library Cat

Library Cat 4x4 Silk Aquatint with colored pencil
Available, framed, in my Etsy Shop
Here is another mini silk aquatint of Library Cat from the edition of 10, with colored pencil, based on a quick cell phone snapshot of my trusty studio assistant, Scout.  He's all about being helpful, especially if you need things like fur in the paint, a head butt to the elbow while carving details on a block, paint brushes scattered to the floor, or a lap warmer. He's household-renowned as an expert in his field of Bothersome-but-Cute. Do you have a studio assistant?

Sitting on source material; "You don't need to see it again, do you? You're good, right?"
pulling the print after a trip through my takach press
Wiping the plate
Applying ink to the plate surface with scrap mat board
getting ready to ink the plate
Art Quote
This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.
Steven Pressfield


Mixed Media Portrait: Leaving Rockport

Leaving Rockport 6.75x3.25 Mixed Media
Available in my Etsy Shop
The winner of the Printmaking DVD give-away featuring Catherine Kernan's amazing woodcut & monoprint methods - Between Ink & Paper - is Ellen in Maine!  Congratulations, Ellen! (Please email your address so I can send this awesome DVD: bdelpesco at mac dot com)
Stay tuned for more giveaways - I have a box of goodies pulled from my studio-clean-out, ready for new hands! Have a creative day and thanks for stopping by!

On a scrap of Arches 300 lb watercolor paper: this started as ball-point pen doodle after dinner while having tea with family, and later, in the studio, I added watercolor washes, colored pencil & hand-carved rubber stamps. 

The same process used on this piece was demonstrated in the video below (if you can't see the video window, you can watch it here):

Art Quote
Actually, it goes the other way

Wouldn't it be great to be gifted? In fact...
It turns out that choices lead to habits.
Habits become talents.
Talents are labeled gifts.
You're not born this way, you get this way.


Sketch: Red Chair Porch (& a Printmaking DVD #giveaway #free )

Red Chair Porch 9x6 graphite & watercolor 
When I arrived in California from New England, I lived in a 1950's apartment about 30 minutes from Los Angeles. I was just beginning to ponder the notion of getting back into art-making, and I started sketching occasionally after work. This view (above) of my balcony was probably sketched in 1991. It took me another decade to get my goals aligned with my fingers, to prioritize art-making in my life. When did you decide to be an artist? How did you push art-making to the top of your list?

The winner of last week's book giveaway is Bonnie Rinier! Congratulations, Bonnie, and thank you to everyone who shared their favorite art books. Almost all the books mentioned are also in my art library, and I loved discovering that I have overlapping tastes in books with all of you lovely online artist friends!

My studio organization is complete, and I found a spare copy of an excellent printmaking DVD to give away. Printmaker Catherine Kernan does amazing, innovative, large scale woodblocks & monoprints, inspired by the pattern and juxtaposition of chaos & symmetry in nature. This DVD, Between Ink & Paper, is 85 minutes full of inspiration,  and tips and tricks from her studio, as well as great working practices for anyone interested in using Akua inks & modifiers.  If you don't win this DVD, I'd recommend adding it to your art library. When an artist has spent years teaching their craft, they get incredibly articulate from the repetition of process description, and this DVD is evidence that Catherine has been teaching for a long time. She is very, very good at what she creates, and how she describes her process.

Here are minute long samples from the DVD (if you don't see them below, you can watch them here and here.) Search youtube for a few more teasers.
Check out the size of Catherine's woodblocks in her studio (!)
Watch Catherine pull a full sheet of paper off a block after several layers of monoprint ink transfers.

If you'd like a chance to win this DVD, leave a comment (with your contact info if you don't have a blogger account) and tell us the size & subject or inspiration for your next art project. I'll draw names from a hat and post the winner on Tuesday, Oct 28th. Good luck!

Catherine Kernan's Afterimage 3 (55x56 woodcut & monoprint)

Catherine inking a woodcut (image courtesy of Boston Public Library)

Art Quote
I've never done a perfect drawing. The cheapest camera installed at the gas station parking lot will collect a more accurate depiction that I can make. I think of Art like I think about baseball. Whether you win or lose - isn't it great to be playing baseball?! Even the best players only get on base one third of the time. The reason we're doing this is that as kids, we started drawing and felt happy. So now, we should still be happy doing it. The focus should be on the love of art-making. Joy is in the full deployment of our faculties.
Anthony Ryder ~ 2010 during a Drawing demo


#Monotype: Shorty & Scooter (& a #video of #watercolor #artist Mary Whyte)

Shorty & Scooter 6x4 Monotype Ghost print with Watercolor (sold)
Would you like an instructional book on painting illustrative watercolor? See this post for give-away details.

Watercolor artist Mary Whyte published a beautiful book about painting portraits and the figure in watercolor four years ago, titled Working South, and just before the show associated with the book opened, CBS did an inspiring 7 minute story about her. She talks about the theme of her series; a generation of skills and jobs that are disappearing because things have changed, and they're no longer needed, or they've been replaced with technological advancements. A drive-in theater operator, a crab-pot fisherman, a spinner in a thread factory, etc. I've always enjoyed her work, and this is a lovely glimpse into her working style, her approach to painting portraits, and her amazing body of work.  (If you get this blog via email or rss and you don't see the video window below, you can watch it here.)
Art Quote
Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell (and often Joseph DeCamp) were invariably identified as a subgroup within the Ten American Painters. At least one critic noted the lack of Impressionist elements in their first submissions to the Ten's group shows. "Tarbell has recently suffered something like an eclipse of light and color. Several years ago both (Benson & Tarbell) were producing strong and spirited work, but just now, they seem to be wandering in dusky light, using washed out hues and questionable charm." Benson's response to this criticism was to submit to the Ten's exhibitions a flourish of outdoor pictures of his family basking in the summer sun in fashionable white attire. Tarbell responded with a group of Impressionist paintings (through 1906) but then suddenly turned away from these outdoor pictures to concentrate exclusively on interiors and pure portraiture.  Interestingly, most of the final works of Tarbells' peak Impressionist period were exhibited with the Ten, and all were portrayals of family members in outdoor settings. ~Laurene Buckley, Edmund Tarbell, Poet of Domesticity


Mixed Media: Uncle Al and Aunt Florence in 1940 (& a #book giveaway & a #speedpainting #art demo #video)

Uncle Alfonse & Aunt Florence, 1940  5.75 x 5.5  Mixed Media on paper
I just posted a video demonstration of this little mixed media portrait on my youtube channel. The art was created with graphite, watercolor, colored pencil and hand carved rubber stamps. You can watch the video demo (3.5 minutes, played high speed) here.

Pencil drawing on plate finish bristol paper, to start....
I'm cleaning my studio, and I have a spare copy of a book in my art library, Sharp Focus Watercolor Painting: Techniques for Hot Pressed Surfaces - and I'd like to give it away to one of you lovely readers.  It's a hard cover, published in 1981, with 70 color plates (a sample of a few of them are below) and 115 black and white illustrations, with a dust jacket, in very good condition. I learned a lot about working on hot press or plate finish papers (my preference) from this book via the lessons in it.  Here is what the book description says online: 

Traditionally, watercolor paintings have been executed on absorbent, often rough-surfaced papers. This book introduces the art of watercolor painting on a new surface - the hot-pressed or plate finish papers. These extremely smooth surfaces allow the watercolorist ultimate control of textual effects: making possible more precise definition of edges, offering greater opportunity for lifting out, and reworking painted areas, and highlighting brilliant color. The hot-pressed surface also responds to all the conventional techniques of watercolor. After a discussion of the necessary studio materials and equipment, this book details the basic techniques of sharp focus watercolor painting with 16 step-by-step demonstrations, including wet-in-wet wash, surface color mixing, dry brush technique, and more. After eight additional color demonstrations, there is a gallery of 30 sharp focus watercolor paintings from the Georg Shook's work.
I bought this book because the brush marks in some of the
art reminded me of Andrew Wyeth

If you'd like your name to be added to the hat when I pull a winner for this book on Wednesday night - October 22nd - leave a comment on this blog and share your favorite art book title. If you don't have one, name any book you've enjoyed. [Be sure you've left an email address if you're not a blogger user, so I can get in touch if you win.] I'll pull a name and post a winner next Thursday.

Art Quote
Rest assured that if you work every day at your art, using the materials nearest at hand, you will gradually discover such beauty in them that they will fill you with happiness. And if you paint these things with the deep understanding that comes of constant association, you will be an artist. ~John E. Carlson