Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"The richest kind"

My grandparents made coffee in a percolator on top of the stove. Since my grandmother believed everything Mrs. Olson said, she bought just the richest kind---Folgers.
I always thought the key was the neatest thing. It came attached and you wound it around until it was all one tidy little coil and the lid came off. Too sharp for kids like me to handle.

This is a page from my 2014 Sketchbook Project. Search my name for any digitized pages from previous projects I'm in.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Snow Barn

"Snow Barn"
Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size: 10x10"

 I have childhood memories of winter in Eastern Washington. After a big snowfall, the temperature would start to warm up and icicles would drip, drip, drip like the timer in a "snow bomb". Finally, the whole slab of snow on the roof would come down at once....Whumpf! You could hear it clear across the yard, even if you weren't there to see it.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Watercolor Cards Workshop Tomorrow

"Weathered"  Sold
Here's a preview for those enrolled who subscribe to my blog. :)
See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Wet in Wet Snow

"Winter Walk"
Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size 8x10"  Price: $100

Just having a little fun in the studio, playing around with wet in wet watercolor and the subject of snow. I'll bring this with me to my workshop on Sunday at Kirkland Arts Center.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Make your own Watercolor Cards

These are just two of the designs for our upcoming watercolor workshop for beginners on Dec 1,  at Kirkland Arts Center. No experience necessary, all materials provided. As you can see, one is simpler, very easy for beginners to do. The other is similar in design, but uses more colors and technique. Once you learn the technique, the sky's the limit!

More info...............If you want to continue practicing at home, I have a Watercolor Starter Kit that can be ordered in advance and taken home after the workshop.
Open to new students and returning ones. Call in (425) 822-7161, come in, or register online.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Golden Beet Line and Wash

"Golden Beet"
Original Watercolor Line & Wash
by Michele Cooper
Size: 8x10   Price: $125

So much fun to draw!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Winner of Open House Drawing

Congratulations, Sherry!
Here's the winner and the painting she selected upon winning the 19th Annual Studio Open House drawing.

Next year I will have given away 20 paintings or $2000 studio credit toward artwork. If you missed this year, come next year on Saturday, Nov 8, 2014.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Welcome to Michele's NW Studio Open House

Thanks to everyone who came! Here's what we "nibbled" on during the 5-7 pm wine & cheese part of the evening. (Click to zoom, then proceed directly to your kitchen for a snack! I know it's making you hungry!)

Tomorrow I will post the winner of $100 studio credit/painting.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pop Up Workshop - Intro to Watercolor III - Make Your Own Greeting Cards

Pop Up Watercolor Workshop - Introduction to Watercolor III
Sunday, Dec 1, 2013
Open to new students and returning ones. No previous experience necessary. No previous class required.

What's the most fun for creative people? Making art!
After that? Sharing it!

Come experience the beautiful, exciting world of watercolor in a beginning level class with other new students. Your instructor, Michele Cooper, will lead you through a fun-filled day of making your own watercolor greeting cards. Step by step, you will learn how to use your brush, mix color and become accomplished at Michele's patented "tricks and cheating ways" with watercolor.

Join us for a hands-on class exploring the fun of miniature watercolor painting and hand made cards.  The goal will be for each student to create several miniatures, one which can be copied and made into your own personal seasonal card.  You learn to create snow among many other wonderful tips and tricks.

Open to new students and returning ones.
Call in (425) 822-7161, come in, or register online.

Venue: Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA. Skylight Room
Date: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 10:00am to 4:00pm (with lunch break)
Tuition: $81.00
All materials provided for a materials fee of $15

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Yesterday's "class portrait"--Autumn Leaves

We filled a whole table top with autumn leaves at my Intro to Watercolor II workshop at Kirkland Arts Center yesterday. 
We had so much fun, one more workshop has been added for 2013. It's called a "Pop Up" workshop, somewhat on the order of "pop up restaurants". It's not on the regular catalog, but if we have a minimum enrollment, we can do it. It would be held on Sunday, Dec 1, 2013 from 10-4 at Kirkland Arts Center.

Designed for absolute beginners, no previous experience necessary, all materials provided.

Want to come? Please email me: michele at michelecooper dot com for more information, price, etc.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Announcing 2013 Studio Open House

"Snow Bird" Art Lesson on DVD
Our 19th Annual Studio Open House takes place on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. Hours: 10am-7pm

5-7pm: Wine, Cheese, Nibbles and a drawing for $100 worth of Art from Michele's NW Studio

We are excited to show new works and welcome artists, students and friends. Enjoy some nibbles, conversation and perhaps take home a painting, DVD or just the experience of visiting a real working art studio.

Save a spot on your calendar and come on over!
Contact me for map and directions. Send email to michelec12 at gmail dot com

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Start with the Darks

Autumn Silhouette
Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Artwork: 5x7      Framed: 8x10"
Price: $95 framed, $75 matt/wrap, or $60 without

This demonstration shows how to "paint backwards" watercolor, that means starting with the darkest values.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Warty Lunch Lady Gourds

From the Warty Lunch Lady Gourds to the giant pumpkin made of vines, Gordon Skagit Farms is the place to be in October. (Click image to zoom)

There is inspiration around every corner and I quite understand why the Anacortes Sketchers visit there at least twice in the season. Thanks, everyone, for inviting me to come and sketch with you. :)

The crate of Indian corn beckoned, with it's varied textures, graceful husks and colorful dried kernels. See my ink drawing here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Indian Corn

Indian Corn by Michele Cooper
Micron Pen
Size: 9x12   (click image to zoom)

Well, now I have a problem. I drew this on location at Gordon's Skagit Farm, froze my fingers off and decided to wait to paint the watercolor wash later. I'm not so sure I should.
What's your opinion? See my inspiration here.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


 Here's my line and wash painting of the delicate Chanterelle mushroom. As I was buying it at Schuh Farm Stand in Stanwood, they told me this is a big year for these yummy wild mushrooms.

Now that you see how it's done, first line, then wash, why not pick out something you like and express it in line and wash.

If you "pick" chanterelles as your subject, how about a grilled cheese sandwich with sauteed mushrooms when you're finished drawing and painting?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Man on a bicycle

From the sketchbook
This is a combination of ink scribble and contour drawing with line and wash.
I used a Micron pen without any preliminary drawing and artist's quality watercolor on an Aquabee sketch pad.

It's a process of elimination. Here's the board I used for my students. It shows that the more you eliminate, the stronger your statement is. Choose what you really like and paint that.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ink Scribble Figure

Here's a quick 1 minute demonstration I did for my class. It's a combination of gesture and contour drawing with a Micron pen. I scribble from the inside of the shape to the outside, adjusting as I go for the proportion and angles that I need.
The whole idea is to use your sketchbook all the time, not worrying about how to perfect what you're doing......just do it! Practice creates freedom, freedom and enthusiasm create artistic growth.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunshine on a gloomy day

"Summer Squash"
Original line and wash Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size: 5x8"  without frame  Price: $50

We have had stormy, gloomy days this week and I was in the mood for something cheerful. Good thing these summer squash bottled up some sun for me. I laid them out on my studio table under the skylight. I had almost more fun with the colors in the shadows than in the subject. Click to zoom.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sketching tools

This illustrates the entire process of planning a painting by using a value plan.
The purpose of a value plan is to reduce a composition to the barest essentials, concentrating on arrangement and simplification.

Three possible tools:
  1. Sketchbook and pencil
  2. Sketchbook and markers
  3. Watercolor sketchbook and black watercolor

Friday, September 20, 2013

Value Plan

Digital value plan with markers
in Paper by 53 app
Personally, I like the feel of the implement in my hand and the "drag" that comes from using real artist's materials on real paper.

However, you will never run out of ink, paper or pencil if you choose the digital app, Paper by 53.
The rewind feature is one I wouldn't mind using on a few of my paintings. :)

For a "real" planning sketch like this, I use Prismacolor or Copic Markers: 30% warm grey, 60% cool grey and black in my Robert Bateman sketchbook.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fall Classes Begin on September 19 at A Guilded Gallery, Stanwood

It looks like summer isn't quite finished with us just yet! Our Pacific NW "heat wave" is on for this week, but back to school weather is up next week. We'll be back to comfortable temps and a little rain by then....Just in time for the beginning of my fall watercolor classes at A Guilded Gallery in Stanwood.

If you've been meaning to sign up, now's the time. Just click the leaf badge on the top of the right column for more information and contact the gallery to sign up. Email: , or call the gallery during office hours at 425-493-4422
Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Plein Air Workshop - Day Three

My Demonstration
Ben settles in to paint the tidal marsh.
We're on location on Camano Island. We spent all day here, painting, sketching; a picnic lunch and ice cold watermelon at the end of the workshop day.

It's not often that a location provides clean facilities, picnic tables, shade,  an inspirational subject, AND a comfortable bench. My intimate knowledge of the location and several scouting forays paid off!
Jeanne working in the shade.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Plein Air Workshop - Day Two

 "It's all downhill from here"
Original Line and Wash Watercolor
by Michele Cooper

One of the two quick sketch methods covered in our 3 day workshop...Line and Wash. If your time is limited, or you just want a way to quickly get the essential character of your subject, line and wash is one method that works.

These scenes are all over the territory we covered today in our plein air workshop.

In a Private Garden

John's Irish Shed
Line work with Micron Pen
by Michele Cooper

 We were working on thumbnail sketches at a viewpoint over the ocean, when the owners, John and Helen, invited us into their private garden next door. It is a prime example of what skill and loving care can accomplish.
John built the shed. Helen is a notable fine artist in her own right. Visit her website here.

My plein air workshop students and I were captivated and inspired by John and Helen's kind invitation and stunning garden. You could paint for a lifetime here. Thank you, John and Helen.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Plein air between the raindrops

Here's my demonstration from this afternoon, the first day of our 3 day plein air workshop.

In the afternoon, I took everyone to my secret spot where it doesn't rain when I'm there to paint. Evidently, it was the only spot in the entire vicinity that was dry. It was perfect: lots of NW atmosphere with mist on the distant purple hills, a vast panorama of golden summer fields, a skein or two of Canadian geese flying over, and a flock of swallows skimming back and forth over the field.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


As I was watering the garden, I caught a brief flutter of movement out of the corner of my eye and I thought the hydrangeas were moving!

Look closely and you'll see how perfectly matched the dragonfly is.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Landscape accessories

Sometimes as I'm scouting for possible subject matter, I'll look back through my rear view mirror and discover a little jewel. It's nothing significant other than a few landscape accessories. But the interplay of light/dark and warm/cool is enough to satisfy me.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Travel Light with Plein Air Watercolor

Yesterday, I took the most minimal kit I could think of:
Hat, spray bottle with water, Kilimanjaro paintbook (bound with both watercolor and sketch pages) , and my zip up kit with the 12 color Yarka pan set, brushes, pencil, etc.
Put keys, camera phone in your pocket, find a log or rock to sit on and have a great day learning from nature.

Except for the Yarka pan set, here's a peek inside the carry case.

Just in case this one is not compact enough, try this pencil case set.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Gallery Walk Friday Night

The Guild's 20th Anniversary, and the gallery's 1st birthday  will be held on July 26th, which is also an Art Walk evening, and a Farmer's Market afternoon. Everyone is invited. Come celebrate with us, and spend time in town on this special Friday. Visit A Guilded Gallery, in Stanwood, Wa.

I was there earlier today and even have some work on the wall and in the window. Everything looks so good! Great job, everyone!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hollyhocks for Summer

 "Hollyhocks for Summer"
Original Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size: 5x3.5"  Price: $35 plus S&H

Once the painting is dry, I usually erase the pencil lines. Sometimes, though, I think keeping just a few lines from the original drawing can make it a touch more personal. You can get a glimpse of the artist's creative process from start to finish.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hollyhocks and Hot Weather

This extremely hot day reminds me of my childhood summers in Eastern Washington and my Grandmother's garden.
As she watered the flowers along the side of the house, the smell of petunias filled the air and sometimes a few blossoms would fall off the hollyhocks. I would take them into the shade and pretend they were ballgowns for beautiful fairies and princesses.

Check back tomorrow to see how this one turns out.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Watercolor with Friends

Today I had the pleasure of teaching a private workshop at my NW Studio. The weather was perfect for painting outdoors in my shady and secluded blue and white garden. We kept up our energy with snacks and beverages.

Some of the group had never painted in watercolor before. As you can see, everyone did a great job. (One person is missing from the class photo, but her artwork made it!)

Why not schedule a private workshop for you and your friends? Especially while we can paint in the garden! The weather is supposed to hold up for at least 10 more days. I provide everything, art supplies, beverages, door prizes and more! Click here for more information.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Outdoor Workshop August 2, 3, 4

En Plein Air is a French expression for \"in open air\". You will be taught to travel light in my upcoming outdoor watercolor workshop on Camano Island. It's one of the Pacific NW unspoiled treasures and one of my favorite places to paint. The tidal estuary here at Iverson Point is just one example of this. Come paint with me. Whether you are a seasoned plein air painter or trying it out for the first time, let me share some of my tried and true ways of simplifying the outdoor landscape with you.

August 2, 3 & 4, 2013--Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sponsored by A Guilded Gallery, Stanwood, WA 98292
Phone: 425-493-4422
Instructor: Michele Cooper Website:

 Please visit this link for details.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Private Workshop

 We've been preparing the garden for a private workshop coming up this Sunday. It's one of my "Watercolor with Friends" series.

If the weather forecast is correct, they will walk under the "Welcome" banner and back into the outdoor studio in my blue and white garden. It's going to be a lot of fun!

See what it's all about. Click the link right here.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my house guests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green. Attributed to Lieka Romeijn.
Summer is my favorite time of year, except for Spring and Fall. :-) The reason I love summer in the Pacific NW is that we get these weeks of beautiful sunny days to enjoy the lush green landscape that comes from the previous rainy season. Sprinkled all around are colorful wildflowers...they grow all by themselves along the shoulder of the freeways and on top of ridges with views of the ocean.
I discovered the poem above that perfectly expresses my own childhood, too.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Plein Air Vineyard

"Richard's Vines"
Original Plein Air Watercolor by Michele Cooper
Size: 8x10

What a fun day I had!
There's a new winery and vineyard preparing to open in October. It's not too far from where I live and today I decided to go out and see what the sunshine, warm temperatures and summer light had to offer.

Here I am on location with the subject (tiny in the distance from this viewpoint).

I finished the painting about 99% in the field and then brought it back to the studio for a few little tweaks.

This is my "Plein Air Car Kit" ready for action. When the weather is this nice, the passenger seat turns into a nice shady mobile studio. No easel necessary. I stand outside in the shade and paint away.

When the weather's not so accommodating, it all works just as well while sitting inside the car.

Want to put together a kit of your own? Click the link for a description of the zip up kit and its contents. (I used the Yarka 12 pan set from the Starter Kit today.)
My Watercolor Starter Kits for Beginners have everything but the sponge, cup and water bottle. See here for more information.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cucumber Mint Ice Water

We are forecast to have a heat wave so I am getting prepared. Snip a few stems of mint, slice cucumber very thin, add ice and water. Ahhhhh, refreshing....and highly paintable!
I've already guzzled three glasses.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


The weather has been so beautiful this week that it makes you feel guilty when you're not out there painting. But then, once you're out of the air conditioned car, NW heat melt takes over. The solution is to find some shade on a hilltop and let the ocean breeze cool you off.

There's a very special reason why I wanted to use "Ocean" in this post. :-)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I wish there was a zoom feature on my iPad camera. This is the best I could do from my viewpoint, without disturbing one of the 5 or 6 hummingbirds that visit our back yard.