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Friday, April 25, 2014

Exploring unusual tools

I like to explore different techniques and materials in my journal--and might as well choose a fun subject!  This is Bearlie, a sister-bear to the one I sent my older sis for her birthday recently.  This time, I didn't do any preliminary drawing before jumping in with watercolor.  At lower left, I used a flexible nib Noodler's pen and their Lexington Gray ink.  At right, an old brown Micron Pigma with a black one for Bearlie's features.  The paper is WN watercolor paper, a bit lighter weight than what I normally use--you can tell it buckled a little.
Sometimes it's fun to paint with a raggedly little oil-painter's bristle brush--I often use this for spatter, but since this teddy is SO fuzzy I thought I'd try it for her fur!  These are the new QoR watercolors I've been testing--mostly, here, the Naples Yellow, Burnt Sienna, and Cobalt.

I sharpened the end of the brush with an X-acto knife to use as another tool--almost like an ink pen.

Here it is in action...

I did use a brush for the eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as the pads on her feet and hands--I have a bit more control.

The new Sharpie EF white waterproof marker worked well for eye-sparkles and light-struck fur...it's got acrylic paint in it, so once it dries you can paint over it. (I tried the oil base one but didn't like it--it soaked into the paper!)

Remember, your journal is a great place to PLAY and try out different tools, mediums, and approaches.  Mine gets a lot of use like that...

Come and Play at the Beach in January 2015!

Doesn't Interrupting Winter Sound Like A Great Idea!?! 

Imagine next January—the long, cold, gray days of snow, sleet and oh, yeah, more snow…or…imagine yourself soaking up the sun with your toes in the warm sand as you enjoy gentle breezes off the Gulf of Mexico!

Doesn't that sound much better than freezing!?! Then come and join me for Winter, Interrupted: An Artist's Beach Holiday, January 18th through the 22nd, 2015.

I'll be hosting a 4-day workshop and together, we'll explore St. Pete Beach, Florida as well as several other wonderful locations including lush Florida gardens, wild bird sanctuaries and historic John's Pass. 

With live sketching demos and one-on-one feedback from me, you'll be going home with a very special sketchbook brimming with beach memories and treasures!

The workshop will take place in the morning so that you have plenty of free time in the afternoon to go exploring or to bask in the sun in a royal blue cabana!

We'll be staying at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort for 5 fabulous nights. Click the link to check out this awesome resort!

Please click here to see and download the brochure with all the juicy details!

There is a Frequently Asked Questions document included with the brochure to help answer many of your questions.

If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at the email address listed in the brochure.

This adventure is so brand new, it's not even on the web site yet!

Saving the best for last, I have a very special offer to share with you, dear friends:
  • Everyone who registers by April 30th,* will save $100 per participant on the total workshop price they register for! 
  • Past ITMR participants** will save $150 per participant on the total workshop price you choose if you book on or before April 30th.* 
  • On May 1st, the pricing in effect will be prices listed in the brochure. 
  • Saving coupons are available here on my blog.
Let me mention now that our grand adventure will take place in one of the busiest seasons in Florida. This means I have a very limited number of rooms available. To get the room you want, please, please book early. I don't want anyone to be disappointed.

If you're interested in coming in early or staying after the workshop, book now! Don't wait. This isn't a sales pitch. This is me being me asking you not to wait—the rooms will become more scarce and the prices will only go up the closer we get to January. 

This sketching holiday is brought to you by Imaginary Trips Made Real, LLC (ITMR).
*One discount per participant. Completed and signed Registration and Liability Release Forms along with the deposit amount for each participant must be received before or postmarked by April 30th, 2014 to qualify for the discount. Regular pricing will apply if the Registration and Liability Release Forms are received incomplete and/or unsigned.

**One discount per participant from the NOLA Live! Trip only.Completed and signed Registration and Liability Release Forms along with the deposit amount for each participant must be received before or postmarked by April 30th, 2014 to qualify for the discount. Regular pricing will apply if the Registration and Liability Release Forms are received incomplete and/or unsigned.

As always, please let me know of any questions you may have and I look forward to interrupting winter with you next January!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Test Driving the new QoR Watercolors from Golden

To see the images larger, just click on them!

I was asked to test the new QoR colors, and I jumped at the chance--what fun!  Golden makes my favorite acrylics, so I really wanted to see what they'd do with this medium--my favorite.  Above is the selection of colors they sent--not always the ones in my normal palette, but it made me stretch a bit.  Here, you can see directly from the tube, pulled down with water, then I allowed the paint to dry for a further test.  In the small two spots above each pigment, the one on the left is lifted from dry pigment, the one on the right is after pre-wetting a bit. (QoR is pronounced "core," by the way!)

You may remember my initial exploration, in this post: http://artistsjournalworkshop.blogspot.com/2014/03/finally-sketching-outdoors-again.html

I didn't have a lot of brands to compare similar colors, and of course that's what's most fair to do...here in the left column are Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton paints (Sorry, don't remember which is which, except the cool red is DS--they were in my reworked Prang palette.)  The middle column is Russian Sonnet, and the column on the right is QoR.

Here, I allowed the paint to dry on the page...the bottom light streak is lifting with one quick stroke and blotting, the next up I scrubbed a bit more, and the soft edge at the top of each swatch was lifting with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  Not many colors lifted entirely, but it's useful to soften and define areas if you need to.

The Transparent Red Oxide isn't quite as transparent as I expected (I've used Rembrant's version of that one), and the gray at lower right won't be useful to me, though you may find it so.  It was a bit weak, didn't lift all that well once dry, and I don't use gray from a tube anyway!  (Sorry the pigment names didn't make it, the test sheet was just a bit too big for my scanner!  You can see most of them on the image at the top of the page, though.)

This is the handy little plastic palette I happened to have on hand--just fit the new paints!  I'm good to go.

I tested them out at our sketchcrawl in March...nice!

And as a background to give this ink sketch a bit of snap...

Then, more testing!  Back to the studio...

If you want to know how your colors will glaze, you can make a swatch of one of them, let it dry, then add a quick brushstroke of another color--move fast so you don't lift the undercolor!

I used a band of India ink and then painted over with each of the colors QoR provided, as I do with every new paint I try out.  For the  most part, these are reasonably transparent, and the ones that aren't are the ones I would choose for their opacity anyway...the Pyrrole Red, Venetian Red, and the blues on the far right, especially.

I compared their quin gold with Daniel Smith's...it's quite a bit warmer, and it flows well...

Cobalt Teal and Indian Yellow...a fresh spring green, and isn't that teal gorgeous??

Finally, I did a self portrait of the Watercolor Crone, going for subtlety (and wrinkles, of course, don't forget the wrinkles!)  Nice and delicate!

These are definitely nice paints, that compare very well with other brands I've used...they re-wet nicely for the most part (except that grey!), and seem to hold their color well once dry.  And by the way, I didn't use the grey for my hair, that's a mix of blues and browns, my normal way to get a variety of greys.

I'm definitely going to be turning to that little palette a LOT.  Thank you, QoR and Golden paints!

More info on their web page, here: http://www.goldenpaints.com/company/news/2014/qor-watercolors/

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

At last, the new Keeping an Artist's Journal Mini-class is UP!

I keep calling these "mini-classes," but there are four lessons of between 16-18 pages each, with demos, exercises, inspirations, tips, links, and brand new videos...

They're self directed, so you can do them ANY time you like, at your convenience--no waiting for my time or energy!  You can find it HERE: http://cathyjohnson.info/journalminiclass.html --there's a PayPal button right on that page!

(For those who have my book, the CD of the same name, or took my original interactive online class, rest assured--this is NEW.  I started from the blank page to create this mini-class.  All new text, exercises and videos!)

We talk about family treasures and there's a video on this (This is one of my baby toys...NO idea what it is!)

There's a lot of keeping a nature journal, plus a video...

There are even videos on basic washes, textures, and spatter, as well as one on fixing "mistakes!"
Travel journals are some of my favorite kinds...this is my California journal, an accordion style.  You'll see a video on that, as well!

Look for this button at the link and check out the syllabus for more information!

I did a quick little sneak preview on the "fixing journal pages" video on YouTube...watch it in this post or check it out HERE for a taste of the class.

...and shared the complete video on Journaling, Contemplation and Meditation...which is essential, to me...HERE.

Look for the rest of my videos HERE, including the new one on making your own super-quick folding journal.

I hope to see you in the class rolls!
Best--Kate (Cathy Johnson)

Make a Super-Quick No-Sew Folding Journal

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