Monday, October 12, 2009

Hillside Red Barn

From the Sketchbook
8x10" Original Watercolor

This is what I would call an exploratory sketch. I painted it on location near Coupeville this summer. I had never been here before, so didn't really plan on "catching a painting".....Just interested in seeing what I could discover with my paints and my brushes.

Friends were scattered around the hillside with their plein air equipment, too. At the end of the morning, we all realized that every single one of us had chosen something different to paint. I love that!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Free Watercolor Lesson at the Library, Oct 10

Join me on Saturday to learn basic watercolor techniques while painting a sunset. All materials supplied; preregistration required. Supported by the Friends of the Arlington Library and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.

10:30 am-noon---Arlington Library
2:00 pm-3:30----Darrington Library

Learn to paint sunsets--online registration and info

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Outdoor Kit Contents


1. Windbreaker, portable easel and "healthy back" bag. The Anderson Easel is portable and has its own case. My "yoga" bag carries everything else and has a single strap. The windbreaker can be stuffed into its own pocket, making a small 5"x5" zipped up packet, which fits inside the bag, too.


2. Front pockets of my bag hold: sunscreen & insect repellent, bottled water, hand sanitizer, travel size band-aids, facial tissues.

I wear a hat and sunglasses and carry my car keys, ID and cell phone in my jeans pockets or jacket. My camera is either in my hand, on its strap on my other shoulder or inside the bag.

3. Inside bag main compartment: Spiral bound Cheap Joe's Kilimanjaro 9x12" Paintbook (every other page is 70# watercolor paper and sketch paper) A large bulldog clip keeps the wind from opening the pages.

Ziplock bag containing Daniel Smith collapsible water container/sponges, Yarka St Petersburg original set of 24 colors (holds a pencil, rigger, #8 round wc. brush and 1" flat aquarel brush inside), two blue paper towels/folded, X-acto blades, and old credit card for scraping.

Five Star stand up pencil case containing: kneaded eraser, set of drawing pencils, pencil sharpener, business cards, Berol Prismacolor pens for sketching and pen/small sticky note pad for leaving messages on the car for fellow painters.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Field Kit Lite


This is the "lite" version of my field kit for painting watercolors. Click image for larger picture. I used this almost exclusively this summer from August-September.

The easel is an Anderson Travel Easel that has its own quiver-style carrier case. It has quick release, telescoping legs, and adjustable tray-support with little hinged arms that hold your brushes (see the right side) and painting knives. (I use the easel left arm to hold my Yarka palette if I'm not holding the palette on my arm.) The Velcro strap is permanently attached, so it holds my water container.

The board is gator board (16x22") and I stack two or three half sheets of watercolor paper on it, then clamp all together with four large Boston clips (Bulldog clips)

The water container is from Daniel Smith, Inc. It collapses down to a flat disc for easy transport when empty and has a ridged handle to keep it from sliding sideways on the holding strap. I squeeze out my sponges and store them in the flattened container.

The black bag on the ground is a waterproof rain gear "yoga bag" with one shoulder strap, a top zipper and a long back zipper. It has two small zip pockets and a long elasticized pocket on the front.

I will take a photo of the bag and its contents for the next post, so you can see how it all fits easily. Please let me know if there is anything else I should add to this description.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wapato Lake

Tire Planters
10x14" Original Watercolor

As I was going through my sketchbooks, I came across this one, painted at Wapato Lake. My husband and grandson, Evan, were out in a boat fishing, while I stayed on shore to paint. Typical of the rural areas here, people plant used tires with the most charming little flower gardens in them.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"The Cook's Flowers"

The Cook's Flowers
15x11" Original Plein Air Watercolor

Captain Whidbey Inn graciously offered complimentary box lunches for those of us painting there on Friday. They were delicious! Thank you!

After lunch, leaving the comfortable deck and returning to the car, I found this subject lit up for me in the afternoon sun.





Setup for "The Cook's Flowers"

Barn Painting

Red Barn Sketch
8x10" Original Watercolor

This farmer already painted his barn. Now it's my turn.

This is another one from the US Open Plein Air Event this summer.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Down Holbrook"

Down Holbrook
15x11" Original Plein Air Watercolor

I kept going back here every morning for 4 days. The first day, I was painting something else but the view down the road kept catching my eye. The next day, it was foggy. The next day I went back to sketch it and the last day, I finally had the light and inspiration to paint this.

That's the old fire station on Holbrook and Penn Cove Road in Coupeville.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Shadows of the Past

St Paul's on Salt Spring Island, BC
10x14" Original Watercolor

This was a demo for my workshop, too. We painted the old ferry dock in the morning and the church in the afternoon, all from under the shade trees in a park nearby.

Salt Spring Island's oldest church was founded in 1878 by the first Roman Catholic missionary to the Gulf Islands, erected by community members between 1880-1885. The windows, door and bell were acquired from the "Butter Church" in Cowichan Bay. These were brought in Indian canoes from Cowichan Bay to Burgoyne Bay, then by ox-drawn stoneboat to this site. Colored stonework was added about 1973.

Ruckle Park, Salt Spring Island, BC.

Watercolor & Graphite Sketch
6x11"

This was a demonstration for my workshop at Ruckle Park on Saltspring Island, BC. Hope this brings back fond memories for those who were there.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Plein Air in Kirkland

Kirkland Sunshine
10x14" Original Watercolor

Fresh off the street this morning!
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Monday, July 27, 2009

A Delicate Balance

Plein Air Original Watercolor
8 x 10"

Another one for the Land Trust show, from mid-June. Just getting around to framing it today.

When I went to Kristofferson's creek, I didn't see a painting at first. I followed the path into the cool forest and down to a platform where the "creek" was. Mosquitos attacked immediately and the creek was just a trickle. Not at all what I expected, so I turned around to go back to the car.

Then as I was coming back out to the entrance, I saw it! The sun lit up the young trees and new daisies. All through this experience, I realized that there was a delicate balance at work......between the occupied areas surrounding the creek, between my expectations of what I was going to paint and, during the process of painting; between the warm/cool, light/dark shapes and the sunlit textures . It truly was a balancing act.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Discovery

Plein Air Original Watercolor
8" x 10"

Finally got this framed, too. It's another painting from Livingston Bay for the WCLT show.

While I was standing on the berm, concentrating on capturing the mud in the channel, I heard voices....quite close. Soon, two girls seemed to be floating in a sea of wild grasses and flowers. They were out for an after dinner ride on their white horses. They quietly disappeared further down the trail.

The Marsh at Livingston Bay

"Drift" sold
Plein air original watercolor
8" x 10"

I am posting these as I am framing them. This one goes to the show on Aug 1 at Gallery By the Bay in Stanwood.

Although I painted it June 15, it only got a signature today. Another one of those that "ripen in the dark".

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Award and Sold at Auction

Just a quick note regarding the previous post:

I am honored to have received an award for "The Channel at Livingston Bay". My painting was sold at auction during the Garden Party event for the Whidbey Camano Island Land Trust on Sunday. There were 5 awards and I am pleased to have been among such esteemed colleagues.

If you can, please attend the opening of the show at Gallery By the Bay in Stanwood on Aug 1. There are so many good pieces in this show.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How Large is a Good Painting?

The Channel at Livingston Bay
Original Watercolor (8x10")

One of my criteria for a "good painting" is that the impact is the same whether it is large or small.
A small painting, when it has enough emotional content, can seem large in the eye of the viewer.

I hope you'll agree that this one fits the criteria. How big did you imagine it to be?

I am finishing up the framing for this one to go into the Camano Island Plein Air Event, which opens on Sunday. There will be a live auction as well as a follow-up show at Gallery by the Bay in Stanwood.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June 20 Workshop Demo

Great day out painting with my students today. The workshop went well and the weather actually improved, hour by hour. There was a plethora of subject matter from which to choose.

I did two more mini-demonstrations, but gave them to the students who said they needed them the most.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ebb Tide at Livingston Bay

Plein Air Original Watercolor
8"x10"

Glad to have an opportunity to post this. I painted it on location, with Sylvia, Dianne and others in the area. It was one of four I did that day for the wclt.org plein air event and subsequent show.

At the time, I really didn't like it at all. It evidently ripened in the dark, because when I finally had the nerve to look at it again, I decided it deserved a chance afterall. That's the way it goes en plein air, though. Seldom, if ever, do we feel that we have captured the inspiration. It is to be hoped that the viewer adds their own unique memories and experience, so that between us we can regenerate the feeling of being there.

I will take this one to Gallery By the Bay in Stanwood, where you can see it in person and let me know what you think. The show opens on August 1. The place where it was painted is only a few miles away.

On Location for CWLT

On location on Camano Island

Here's why I haven't had an opportunity to post as many photos as I would like.

I've been out painting for the upcoming event for the Camano/Whidbey Island Land Trust.
See my Events page at www.michelecooper.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer Studio Roses

We have been having the BEST weather the past two weeks! Great for catching up on gardening and for outdoor painting, of course.

These are the roses that students may remember from our trip to Giverny at the end of our workshop in France. We stayed at a B&B which was a house and property formerly owned by Claude Monet. He gave it to his stepdaughter as a wedding present. The path in his painting "Advance of the Wedding Party" is now the road in front where we parked. The landscape architect who lived there during our visit had planted a beautiful rose to climb over the main gate. He gave me the name and I ordered these to plant here at the corner of my studio.

Whether you were there, or just want to share some photos of our painting adventures, click here, for a walk down memory lane.

See the summer workshops we have planned this year in the column to the right. Note the one at Lavender Hills Farm, where participants are invited to the studio afterwards.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Glass & Lilacs

15"x22"
Original Watercolor

Here is a section from one of my paintings of the lilacs that grow all along the edge of our deck. They're all "white" (I have a blue and white garden in the back.)

This combines our last few classes, painting lilacs and painting glass.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lilacs Print

Lilacs from my print

The original is sold and all I have left is a print, but I trust this will give my students an example of painting these white flowers in watercolor.

It's all about the light.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Slice of the Artist's Life

Study of lemon slice

Most of my painting time is taken up with teaching composition the last few weeks. Working out the compositions, shopping for fresh replacements of eggs, fruit, etc. ....and hauling everything to and from class....exhausting! Well worth the personal discoveries I see my students making, though.

This still-wet study is approximately life size of the actual lemon slice. I think, to explore the subtle color variations, you need enough room for your brush to make a color statement.

Fingernail sized fruit, flowers, vegetables, etc. fail to entertain.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

PaWa Saturday

Well, today I went to the tulip fields to paint with my colleagues in Plein Air Painters of Washington. I saw some other painters out there, and I know we were supposed to meet at noon at Roozengarde, but the light was just what I wanted here at 11:00 am and I had to stay. I actually finished in about an hour.

So many bystanders stopped to chat, take photos and ask directions to Tulip Town that I didn't make it into Roozengarde until 12:45. There were so many tourists there, swarming the parking lot and grounds, that my $4 entry fee was wasted. I didn't recognize anyone in the dining tent so I just went home. Next time, I'll follow my own advice and wait to go on a week day to avoid the crowds.

The good thing is: I went sketch hunting and I caught a good one!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Through the storm

Went to the tulip (or should I say daffodil?) fields after class in Kirkland today......through two major squalls and quite a strong wind out on the flats. Got there about 2:48 pm.

I was looking forward to painting with my friends from PaWa, but I could barely keep my car door open in the wind. So I just went photo sketching and will use this for future studio painting. I'll try again tomorrow.

That's what happens sometimes when you go "sketch hunting".....sometimes you miss!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Grape Hyacinths

From the sketchbook

Looking out the studio window on a (finally!) sunny morning, I can see spring bulbs producing their blooms.

In the middle of the dirt, surrounded by cold air and weak sunshine, my plantings of 4 years ago persevere.

Here's the haiku I wrote to inspire the sketch:

Spring quotes the painter,
"When in doubt, paint purple."
Up come hyacinths!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Painting and Poetry

Music and poetry inspire my work. I write haiku poetry in my sketchbook while working out the ideas of my paintings. I lay no claim to producing anything notable in my poems, especially when you read the words of a master. Here is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it.

Spring is like a perhaps hand
by E. E. Cummings

          III

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and

without breaking anything.


(from the website Poets.Org)
Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School.
At the time of his death, September 3, 1962, he was the second most widely read poet in the United States, after Robert Frost.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Watercolor Demonstration

8x10 Watercolor Demonstration
$100

This is the demonstration of painting a watercolor from your own original plein air oil. (See previous posts for watercolor step by step process of painting still life and landscape on location.)

It was truly a pleasure to present my program to the members of NWWS. If you were there, thank you for coming. Comments are welcome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Demonstration at NWWS

8x10 Oil on Canvas
Plein Air painting from Lavender Hills Farm.

Typically, artists will make a watercolor field study, then take it to the studio to make a more finished oil painting from it.

In my demonstration for NWWS last night, I reversed the processs, showing how to interpret an oil painting in watercolor.

My topic was "Using Positive & Negative Space in Watercolor". If you would like a free copy of my handout, please request it by email to michelecooper@michelecooper.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Presentation at NWWS tonight

Here is a section from a handout I am giving to the audience at Northwest Watercolor Society tonight. Click the link for times and location.

I am honored to have been invited to be the guest presenter and am looking forward to seeing friends, guests and colleagues. My program is on "Using Positive and Negative Space in Watercolor".

If you have an opportunity to attend, I would love to see you there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Color with a little salt

8 x 10"
Still life demo


Another small demo from last week's classes.

We are SO ready for color here in the NW!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Orange and Blue

Small study of an orange.

This was a quick demonstration for one of my classes, in which the "direct" method of watercolor was used.
Charles Reid's work is typical of this technique.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Figures in Landscape

My classes last week were about using figures in the landscape. We studied Winslow Homer's simplified, yet perfectly proportioned figures and how they were used for various purposes in his work. (Click here for a link to a previous post on Homer at AIC)

This is a very small section in a large painting of mine. The artwork is in the permanent collection of Edmonds Community College. A limited edition print was made and copies were sent to the sister school in Kobe, Japan.

I was asked to choose a landmark in the vicinity of the college and make a painting. Since it was a commission, you can see that I used a more illustrative, yet still fine art, approach.