Monday, June 30, 2014

Pt. Townsend with ASk

Top: Jude, Carolyn, Anne-Sophie, Missy
on the Ferry
Bottom: Missy, Jude, Carolyn
 sketching downtown

Perfect day at Pt. Townsend with the Anacortes Sketchers today. We had a truly melded group, joined by poets, a visitor from France, Lisbeth Cort of Whidbey Sketchers, and Kate Buike of Seattle Sketchers.
Michele Cooper's sketches
Missy, Lisbeth & Carolyn on the deck at Sirens

Thank you, Missy and Jude for carpooling. Special thanks to Missy for setting it all up.
(Wait until you see her sketch of Anne-Sophie's raspberry soda!)

Fun with "new" materials

Using my new Stillman & Birn Beta Sketchbook
I got a lovely new sketchbook (180# paper! no less) as a gift of the workshop.

Going through my studio hoard, I dug up my Van Gogh pocket palette. Never been used! They worked out quite well for our day at Pt. Townsend.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Painters - Art History

Mark Tobey sketches. One-man shows at both the Cornish School and the newly-built Seattle Art Museum helped introduce local residents to the "modernism" that was rapidly gaining Tobey national acclaim.
Photo Credit: Seattle Times.

(See previous post for info on current exhibit and recent USk sketching workshop at the market.)

Follow the tradition of one of your heroes in art, or visit your local museum to choose an artist for this experiment. Study their work, then visit the locations where they were inspired, and see if you can emulate the way they saw the world.

Gail Wong, one of our instructors, gave us brown paper, charcoal, white chalk and conte' sticks. She challenged us to find market textures and multiple images as Mark Tobey did. Here's my take on it. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

USk Workshop at SAM and Pike Place Market

My friend, Judy, and I attended a fantastic workshop today: The Urban Sketchers Workshop in partnership with the Seattle Art Museum. The event is tied to the exhibit Modernism in the Pacific Northwest featuring the work of the late Seattle artist Mark Tobey and other leading figures of the modern art movement that took place in the Northwest in the late 1930s and 1940s.

The workshop began with a tour of the exhibit, then lunch followed by a hands-on field sketching session at Pike Place Market led by Urban Sketchers instructors Gabriel CampanarioFrank Ching and Gail Wong. During the workshop, participants gained valuable sketching tips to draw on location —from perspective and composition to figure drawing basics— and channelled Tobey's spirit of sketching at the market.

Sketchbook sponsors: Stillman & Birn.
Pencils and 66 Watercolor "Try it Color sheets": Daniel Smith

Gail Wong, Frank Chin, and Gabriel Campanario were our Instructors.
We were divided into three groups and then rotated among the locations where each instructor gave their part of the program.
This was the plan. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Conway with the Anacortes Sketchers

Had a  great day with The Anacortes Sketchers today, since I was free to leave the studio. It seems gnomes are frightened of hedgehogs and I have boot brushes shaped like hedgehogs at the back and front steps to my house. Ha!

So no more gnomes! Hedgehogs are cute, though, huh?

Here's my sketch for the day. Click to zoom

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Arty, the sketching gnome

"Arty, sketching gnome"
 Original Watercolor by Michele Copper
Size: 8x10"    Price: $100
So back to "painting figures" or more to the point, gnomes. The finished painting is to the left.  Illustrated below is the example from a recent class with a photo of the reference, the sketch, first pale wash, and shadow wash. A few minor details and accents were added to finish.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Recommended Minimum Watercolor Palette

Since this is the plein air painting season, I thought I would encourage those who have never tried it
before. Very affordable travel palettes are available in art stores and hobby shops. I especially like the Yarka 12 pan set, which sometimes even includes a little brush.
If you already have watercolors in tubes, you can easily make your own travel palette, using your own colors. See complete DYI directions for my tiny Altoids palette here.
Fill each of the empty sections from tubes of watercolor. I used a warm and cool of each of the three primary colors.

Top Row: Permanent Yellow Deep, Vermilion, Manganese Blue

Second Row: Winsor Yellow, Crimson Red Lake, Ultramarine Blue Deep

Tip: Stir freshly squeezed color with a toothpick to make sure it is evenly distributed. Allow paints to dry with the lid open overnight before transporting.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Painters -- A Gnome a Day

Practice is what makes the lessons you learn stick. Nothing is a better inspiration to memory than trauma. :) So for you Sunday Painters, practice your figure painting by using statuary as the model....statuary that has loads of personality. What better than gnomes?

You will need:
  1. 10x11" sections of 140# watercolor paper, with an 8x10" frame penciled inside the borders.
  2. A Micron or Pitt Pen, black/waterproof/size .01
  3. A basic set of watercolors, #8 round brush
  4. water container, paper towels, sponge to dab wet brushes
For the next week, I will post brief descriptions on how I painted these and other gnomes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Lookout

I first noticed the Lookout Gnome, checking to see if the coast was clear. But as I turned, I noticed a movement on my left. As I glanced over, the guy in the yellow hat froze and he has stayed that way ever since. But I think I hear a growl now and then. Yoicks! I don't wanna be spade! :) Yes, I do know how to spell. (Click image to zoom)

Monday, June 9, 2014


I had plans to paint with The Anacortes Sketchers today, but a strange thing happened on the way to the garage.

I had the oddest feeling that I was being watched. If you look carefully, you will see 4 figures hiding on my deck.
Before I knew it, I was kidnapped by UGGs (Unidentified Garden Gnomes), was rudely shuffled into the studio and forced to paint their portraits.

Watercolors being the way they are, the time I needed to allow for drying between washes used up all my afternoon. Sorry guys, but I think I can post a sketch tomorrow, if they don't catch me doing it. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Painters, "Gnome" for it

I thought I would share a lesson from my weekly classes with you Sunday painters.

Eventually, most artists want to include the figure in their work, either as the subject or as an element of the composition. It's common to be intimidated by one's own expectations of how it is going to turn out. Drawing problems, color, proportion, etc. all create challenges.

But what if you eliminate the worry of disappointing your subject or not creating a "likeness"? Choose statuary and your model doesn't move, squirm or need a break. You need a subject with a lot of character. Gnomes are hard to find in the wild, but there are lots of domesticated ones available right in your area. Simplify the process by sketching with line and wash.
"Gnome" out on a limb and give a try. It's a lot of fun!