Monday, January 30, 2012

The Original Blizzard

Hi Everyone,
"The Original Blizzard" original watercolor on paper by Carrie Waller BID NOW

The theme this month for the Cook-Waller challenge was "winter".  Now living in the South that word doesn't have the impact that it does in other areas of the country,  so it took a little thinking.  My brother was in town over the holidays and I asked him what word comes to mind when I say winter and he immediately said blizzard.  I responded, "The only blizzard you're going to get around here is at Dairy Queen".  So there you have it the answer to my challenge:)  It is after all "the original blizzard" it says so right on the cup!  My painting is up for auction through DPW.

"The Storm Breaks" original watercolor on paper by Crystal Cook 6"x6"
Crystal had a different approach, living in Utah, I would expect she sees a little more of this than a DQ blizzard.  She answered the challenge with a beautiful landscape, which is a departure for her.  I think it is beautiful and dramatic and I love her sky. Check out her blog here.

"Tall Drink of Water" original watercolor on paper by Carrie Waller 20" x 35"
I also put the finishing touches on my painting "Tall Drink of Water" (thank you Kathy Cousart for the title).  My stars on the little labels weren't aligned, and it's never good when your stars aren't aligned.  I had to fix that.  I also softened the background a little.  Also had other little details I wanted to finish. 

We also found out that we'll be moving to Little Rock, Arkansas after Brian gets back.  So if anyone knows anything about the art scene there I would love to be in the know:)

See you Wednesday,


Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Feature: James Green

Hi Everyone,
"Chasing the Wind" by James Green 13 x 24
Today I want to introduce you to a fabulous artist that also resides in Alabama.  Even though we're from the same state we met via facebook.  James and I are both part facebook group Behind the Brush.  James' artwork caught my eye because he paints a lot of aviation art.  Since the Air Force is such a big part of my life I find these works fascinating.  

To see more of James work check out his blog and website 

How did you get your start? 

Basically, I simply stumbled into trying to “make a go” of being a freelance artist. In December of 2007 I had just graduated from Northeast Alabama Community College where I had received Associates Degrees in Art (Art Studio – BFA Prep), Business Administration, & History Education. During the first three months of 2008 I couldn’t find work: I was over qualified for any job I interviewed for in this area. Even my previous employer in Chattanooga – Vincent Printing Company -didn’t want to pay me what I was worth with the additional training & education, so in the Spring of 2008 I decided to pursue my dream & open my own art studio/business.
"Widge" by James Green 30 x 48
 What’s your artist journey so far? 

Well, after spending over twenty years - the prime of my life - in the Army as an airborne/air assault soldier, I guess one could say that I am a retired soldier who now tries to create quality art. My values, beliefs, work ethic & sense of professionalism that I subscribe to are those of a soldier (or any other career military person). I still operate as an artist with the same set of ethics that I acquired from my service in the Army. I would like to honor those who have or are currently serving through my art. That is why I am proud that I have been accepted into the Air Force Art Program as of last August. I still have yet to be requested to create something for the Air Force as of this writing, but with Obama’s agenda to cut the military, there have been fewer opportunities for artists to do work for the AFAP due to the budget cuts.

Creatively, these past two to three years have been a sort of “watershed” for me; I’ve had some great creative successes, and these have translated into limited commercial success, but I have learned that I don’t have to accept being “pigeon-holed” into only one genre of art versus another. I now consider myself a “generalist” when it comes to my direction in art; I was initially trained to be an illustrator, and because illustrators are required to render anything well, that is why I have gotten into doing a variety of different things, including portraiture, railroad & automotive art, wildlife & landscapes, instead of just military or aviation art.

Where were you born? 

Richmond, California. My Dad was sent out there as a contractor working on a project for the Navy’s oiler depot in the San Francisco Bay area. Mom was about 5 months pregnant with me at the time, so that’s how I came to be born there. When the contract work was finished, they returned with me back to Huntsville, Alabama. Being less than a year old at the time, I have no memory of California and don’t consider myself to be a Californian.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?  Huntsville, Alabama.
"Itinerant Fliers" by James Green 15 x 20
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why? 

Usually, my favorite thing to paint is whatever is on my easel that I am working on at the moment. But I must confess that my affinity for military & aviation subject matter is always strong! J

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

 My painting techniques are a result of being mentored by Northwest aviation artist Bob Hill. He was a master of using the airbrush & had a motto, “Whatever works!” If it was a technique that would help you do a better job of rendering with skill, while not compromising the quality of your work, then he was all for it. His open minded approach has led me to always try different mediums & techniques. That’s why I switch around a lot.
"Thoroughbreds" by James Green 14.75 x 23
 Where did your fascination with aviation art begin? 

I was a “latch-key” child from the age of seven. In the afternoons after school I would build model airplanes, and then draw pictures of them. The historical background of the aircraft printed on the model kit instructions usually led to a greater journey of discovery at the school & public library to do even more research. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn!
"Gruesome Twosome" by James Green

How did you arrive at your current style? 

I pursue realism. I merely try to paint & draw what I see. I endeavor to truly see what it is that I am looking at when I am rendering it.

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration? 

Northwest aviation artist Bob Hill. Bob & I met in 1992 at the Yakima Air Fair when I was assigned to Yakima Training Center at Yakima, Washington. He & I became close & when I was preparing in 1998 for my upcoming retirement from the Army, Bob encouraged me to attend the Graphics Technology program at Perry Tech where he worked as an instructor.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist? 

Feeling validated by people who are fellow artists, or who are well informed & knowledgeable art patrons, that I am doing quality work. And if what I do sells, that helps a lot too!

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites? 

In airbrush colors I typically use Medea COM-ART or Badger acrylics. Gouache - Windsor & Newton. Oils - Windsor & Newton and Grumbacher (which I typically mix with Windsor & Newton Liquin).  Colored pencils – Rexell-Derwent & Prismacolor.
"Kathryn" by James Green 20 x 28
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? (Dream big here:)

  1. To start making a steady income from my art.
  2. Win best of show in the ASAA International Aerospace Art Exhibition!
  3. Be in HUGE demand for sales of my originals through prestigious galleries & prints via the various print distributors such as Historic Sales, Brooks Art, & various others.
  4. Gain acceptance into the Portrait Society of America & break into the portrait & figurative art field.
  5. Always be known as an artist who not only does quality work, but is good to honor his word as an artist & businessman.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career? 

Know that what may work for others, may not work for you. There is no “cut & dried” formula for being successful as an artist. How well you & your works are accepted will vary greatly on the audience you are trying to produce for, so get to know your audience.
"Friday Harbor Soliloquy" by James Green 18 x 30
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist? 

Do what works; use sound, proven methods & techniques, but don’t become an “art snob” who thinks that there is ONLY one approach to rendering your works. Don’t compare yourself to others

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat? Mountain Retreat!

Book or movie? Hmmmmm……..a good book!

Favorite author? The late Stephen Ambrose (historian)

Favorite movie? The Aviator

Romance or comedy? Comedy

Favorite ice cream flavor? Strawberry

Night owl or morning person? Morning Person

Cake or Cupcakes? Cake

Have a great weekend everyone:))  See you Monday!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What's Your Process? Inquiring minds want to know??

Hi Everyone,
My messy paint boxes
I've had several questions lately about my process, so I thought I'd share a little of that today, answer some questions, and I want to know about your process.  I really find it interesting, I think everyone may approach their art a little differently, so I would love to know how you create.

So here are some  questions and answers.

1. What is your painting process?

I paint from right to left, I'm not sure why.  I didn't even realize that's how I painted until I started taking WIP pictures.  I think I do this to avoid dragging my arm across my pencil drawing, but like I said I wasn't really aware I painted that way.

2. Are you left handed (because I paint from right to left)?  No, I'm right handed.  I think I start on the right so I won't be dragging my arm and hand across the pencil lines smearing the graphite onto my paper.  After I have a section painted I cover it in paper towel.  I have my painting draped off kind of like a surgery with a small opening over the section I'm working on.

3.  . Interesting to see how you build the painting up in sections Carrie that something you've developed to fit in with your young family or have you always painted with this approach?

I have always painted this way,  I believe it stems from impatience.  I really need to see if my painting is working.  If I lay down washes over the entire paper it really overwhelms me.  So I finish a section at a time and I feel that I'm accomplishing something and I can see if I'm getting the desired results.

4.  How do you get such dark, darks and such intense colors.

For most of my darks in the background the really saturated black sections I use a combination of Indigo (very staining), sepia and occasionally I throw in some lamp black (but it is sedimentary so it's hard to get a nice even wash), in the case of my last painting I mixed some of the greens I was using to the blacks to make a cohesive color story.  I also don't use a wet on wet technique very often.  I mix more saturated mixtures of colors.

5.  Do you use fresh paint each time?

That would be a big fat NO!  That would be such a waste of paint, in my opinion.  I also really love some of the colors that mix and mingle on my palette.  One of my strong points is that I can very easily match a color that I mixed.  I don't write it down it just is a natural color sense.

6.  What do you use for your palette? and what  brand paints do you use?

My first set of professional paints were Schmincke brand ( I bought them when I lived in Germany) and they only sold half pans and full pans.  So I have a large set of Schmincke large pans and the enamel boxes that they came in.  I have 4 of these sets and I use the case they're in for a palette.  I also recently purchased some metal cafeteria trays from a military surplus store and I love, love, love them for mixing my paints.  They aren't white which I was worried might throw me, but I've had no problem adjusting.  I also use Daniel Smith paints, my favorite, go to colors are the  DS Quinacridone paints.  They are gorgeous and I love them!

7.  How long does it take you to complete a painting?

My larger paintings normally take 2-3 weeks.  My smaller paintings take a couple of days.

8.  Do you paint from life or photographs.

I set up all of my still life subjects using only natural daylight and very strong lighting.  I then photograph the still life (I'm talking 200-300 digital pics) and then choose my favorites put them in Photoshop, crop them and saturate them.  I then paint from my manipulated photo.

9. How long have you been painting?

I've always been interested in art and have always been into some kind of creative project.  But, it wasn't until after college that I picked up my first professional watercolor set and a book on how to "The Ultimate Watercolor Course--Simple Techniques To Paint Like The Pros)"  that I really started to paint.  I painted for a couple of years at that time, then went on to paint murals with acrylics in peoples homes and work at my Mom's frame shop. After I had kids I picked it back up again.  It wasn't until that point I got serious about it.  That was 2 years ago.

10.  What attracts you to painting still life paintings specifically glass?

I first painted a still life last year as an answer to a challenge that an artist was hosting.  I was hooked after that.  I then wanted to challenge myself so I added glass into the still life and I was hooked once again.  I love the challenge.  It amazes me how many little abstract paintings are in a realistic painting.  It is really painting shapes, forms and colors at it's best.
Steven 5 doing his thing
Sam Man creating
11.  How do you keep your kids out of your paint?

I don't!  I'm one of those Mom's that doesn't believe in putting away the breakables or bubble wrapping the coffee table.  They have learned from an early age that it's Mommy's art and paints.  I  will allow them to "help" me some times.  Steven has added paint to a lot of my works, in an extremely supervised manner.  They both have their own art supplies and access to do art any time they want to.  So far I've only had one painting ruined and it was in the beginning stages, Sam decided to add to my drawing--and that was about 6 months ago--he's much older and wiser now (the ripe old age of 2.5) :)

I would love to hear about your process.  Do you have anything you're dying to share?  Share with the class, we can all learn from each other.  And if you have any other questions for me I'd be happy to answer them:))


Monday, January 23, 2012

San Pellegrino or Tall Drink of Water

Hi Everyone,
original watercolor on paper copyrighted Carrie Waller 2012 32.5" x 20"--There is a little white showing top right, I have to take a better pic tomorrow, my camera battery died.
I'm 98% of the way finished with this piece.  I have a little tweaking left to do.  I'm trying to decide if I should stick with the title "San Pellegrino"--straight forward or go with "Tall Drink of Water"?  What do you think?  Kathy Cousart left that phrase in a comment last week and I thought it was fitting and clever:)
"The Night Before Christmas" original watercolor on paper 9.75" x 9.75 copyrighted Carrie Waller 2012
My painting "The Night Before Christmas" was awarded Outstanding Watercolor for the FASO Bold Brush Competition month of December.  I'm thrilled and super excited about this:)

And on the home-front we're 2.5 months into Brian's 6 month deployment, almost half way over:))  And the big news is Sam, my 2 year old, peed in the potty for the first time last night.  If you're not a parent you may not be as excited about this, I understand, but for all of those that have been there or are yet to be there, that is a major accomplishment.  I for see a diaper free future, woooo hooooo:)))

Have a great Monday:)  See you Wednesday!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Feature: Barbara Davis

Hi Everyone,

One of the fun parts of moving around all the time in this crazy military lifestyle is meeting lots of new people.  It is so great to meet artists from all over.   Barbara Davis is a fabulous artist that I have met during my time in Montgomery, Alabama.  She paints in plein air and I have never seen such beautiful skies.  Not only is her work breathtaking, but  you have never met a nicer person.   She is beautiful inside and out and her outlook and demeanor just pour through onto her canvases. 

To view more of her works visit her blog and website.

"The Memory Brightens" oil by Barbara Davis
 How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I have always loved art and, probably like most of my artist friends, it all started with a big box of crayons!!  Still love ‘em!  Thank you, Crayola! 

Fast forward to the 9th grade – My art teacher, my favorite teacher, was killed in a car accident at the end of the year.  Little did I know, the day before she died she had turned in my name to receive the ninth grade art student award.  This event really spurred me on to continue. 

I ended up majoring in art in college, working after graduation as an illustrator at an advertising agency.  After things went sour for that company, I worked at non-art related jobs for sixteen years except for a brief year-long ill-timed stint when I tried to make it as a full-time portrait artist.  I worked at a bank for 13 years – all the time painting, mostly portraits– on the side.  Something clicked in 2004, when I turned 40!  I knew if my art career was ever going to happen, I was going to have to do more to get there! 

I don’t believe in coincidences, so I know God led me to pick up an American Artist magazine for a little beach reading the summer of 2004.  In it I saw an article about plein air painting and feature article on artist Patti Andre.  I knew that’s how I wanted to paint!  The next month, I bought a French easel and starting painting outside.  I was hooked!  My painting improved dramatically and I won my first award.  That’s when I became confident that this could happen!  Every weekend was spent plein air painting from that time forward. 

I got involved with the Alabama Plein Air Painters and met some wonderful supportive artists who shared my passion.  I also became involved with the Montgomery Art Guild.  The support of my artist friends has been so important to me!

It seems like a dream come true that six years after my first venture into plein air painting and my commitment to make this art career succeed, I am painting full time! 
"Many Mansions" oil by Barbara Davis
Where were you born? 

Montgomery, AL

If you could live anywhere where would you live? 

Somewhere out west in a wonderful art community!
"Warm Glow" oil by Barbara Davis

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

My favorite thing to paint is the wide open sky for several reasons.  It’s such a spiritual thing to me to see the sky unfold each hour, each day, each season.  On most days, it is breathtaking.  It has been a challenge and a delight to try and capture clouds and light.  Painting the subtle changes in color temperature and value and the ever-present struggle to not make those clouds look pasted on is difficult, but so much fun!

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

I paint as often as I can outside en plein air.  This process really teaches me so much.  I truly feel like I learn something every time I paint from life.  Of course, I also work in the studio and the process is really the same for both.  I paint wet-on-wet, alla prima usually.  I work from dark to light and usually begin with an underpainting in transparent red oxide. 
"Fields of Cotton" oil by Barbara Davis

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration? 

I have several oil painters in our region that I have taken workshops from and learned so much from – in particular, Perry Austin and Roger Dale Brown.  I love their work!  Roger has inspired me so much because of his story.  He has worked so hard and has quickly become a very accomplished and well-known artist.  He set goals for himself, i.e., paint 365 paintings the first year, for example.  He is a fabulous teacher, too!  I also love the work of Kathryn Stats, Scott Christensen, Richard Schmid, Rose Frantzen and study from them any way I can – by video or studying their work in magazines, books, and on-line.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist? 

My husband, John!  He’s my favorite guy and definitely essential to my well being and my success!  He’s my greatest cheerleader, my security guard when I’m painting outdoors, my helper, my marketer –he helps me dream!  He’s behind me 100% - even after years and years of listening to me whine about wanting to paint full-time!  I am very blessed to have him in my life and I know it!!
"Evening" oil by Barbara Davis
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Although I use several different brands, I primarily use Gamblin paints.  I am very partial to sap green.  My sap green color chart is my favorite!  I love the effect it has on so many colors.
"5'oclock on Washington" oil by Barbara Davis
How do you balance your teaching life with your art career?

At this point, I try not to commit to long-term teaching assignments, but prefer to teach periodic workshops or four-week courses.  I enjoy teaching, but I don’t ever want it to interfere with my painting.  I will say I learn a lot when I teach because I am researching and studying for my teaching, so my art benefits as well!

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

Okey dokey!  Here goes!
  1. Expand my market and gain representation in a gallery in the western US market.
  2. Become a sought-after workshop instructor.
  3. Build a studio!  My current space is tiny!
  4. Paint the landscapes I see in my head!  I want to be able to achieve what I am visualizing!
  5. Take a couple of workshops with some of the country’s best artists!
"Summer Still Life" oil by Barbara Davis
What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Paint all you can and paint all you can from life!  If you’re like I was and have to work at a non-art related job while you build your career, it may be hard finding the time to paint.  Commit to painting 5 minutes a day.   The little problem is that once you paint for 5 minutes, you’re probably not going to stop!  Don’t give up!  You are the only one who can make it happen!   

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist? 

The best advice I ever received came from my art professor and adviser at Auburn University Montgomery, Phil Coley.  He said, “if you want to learn to paint, you just paint, paint and paint.”  Sounds simple, huh?  So true, though!  Another similar adage, but I don’t know where it originated…”You’re only as good as the miles of canvas behind you”!  Keep at it!!!!
"Sunshine on a Stem" oil by Barbara Davis

Chocolate or vanilla?  Vanilla

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?  Rustic mountain retreat…although hard to choose!!!

Book or movie?  Movie

Favorite author?  Harper Lee

Favorite movie?  To Kill A Mockingbird (although this time of year, it’s definitely “It’s A Wonderful Life”!)

Romance or comedy? Comedy

Favorite ice cream flavor? Coffee

Night owl or morning person?  Morning

Cake or Cupcakes?  Cake

Barbara's interview leaves me wanting to go outside and plein air paint:)  Have a great weekend everyone:)


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

San Pellegrino-- Still A Work In Progress

watercolor on paper full sheet
Hi Everyone,

I'm still plugging away at my painting.  I almost broke one of my goals last night.  I vowed not to pull any all-nighters this year.  Last night when the munchkins were snug as a bug in a rug I was so tempted to stay up until I was done.  But the thing is I would have so payed for that today.  A 5 year old and 2 year old aren't quite so understanding about being in a painting groove.  And since neither of them ever nap, that mean no nap for Mommy.  So I was a good little artist and packed away the brushes at 2 a.m. giving me just enough shut eye to function today:)

On another note I found the perfect place to photograph my work at night.  My laundry room.  It has fluorescent lights and it provides enough light for my camera to at least pick up a fairly good representation.  A friend says she puts a pink light bulb and a blue light bulb in her fluorescent lights to simulate day light.  Anyone know if this works?  Also the washer and dryer are the perfect height to prop my board up so that I get a great angle.  Of course I would figure this out when I only have 6 more months before we move.  Fingers crossed I have a designated art area in my next house, at least a place to store my ever accumulating art stuff!

Hope you're having a great week.  See you on Friday for the Feature:))


Monday, January 16, 2012

San Pellegrino WIP and Winner Announced

San Pellegrino WIP full sheet, watercolor
Shows the scale of the painting.  And that is a large bottle of Perrier, not the small guy:)

Hi Everyone,

Here is my progress so far.  This painting is a beast so I included a picture with a bottle to show you the scale.  And, yes I realize that it is a Perrier bottle that snuck into the picture but the size is comparable.   I will post my progress on Wednesday, lets hope it's finished by then:) 

The winner of my 2nd Blogiversary give away is--drum roll please--Sarah from Monaco Interiors:)  Congratulations Sarah! (I used to generate a winner)

See you Wednesday!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Feature: Anne Harwell

Anne Harwell of Annechovie
 I  became aware of Anne Harwell during one of my marathon blog sessions, you know the kind where you start with one blog and it leads you to another and a few hours later you can't remember where you started:)  I came across a blog called Annechovie, it is such a charming blog I couldn't help but linger.  Anne's work is right up my alley she has a mix of fine art and Design.  She also has a tie with my favorite movie "It's Complicated" which made me even more fascinated--read below to find out her connection.

To see more of her work check out her blog or Etsy page
Anna Spiro Chair
  How did you get your start? 

I started painting at around 19 out of sheer boredom one cold Winter evening.  Things slowly evolved from there and I started selling some of my work in a home furnishings shop my parents owned in the Atlanta area. I started painting/blogging full time 5 years ago.
Bermuda Swirl Collage by Anne Harwell
 What’s your artist journey so far?

It's been an amazing experience. Having been self-taught, I don't have any formal classroom experience or training, so I've had to just learn by doing.  Life is 90% work and consistency in the mundane and about 10% inspiration and mountaintop moments. I remember painting a pastoral landscape in the early days that included sheep this day, my brother jokingly calls it "Spuds Grazing" because the sheep were so "flat" they looked like potatoes. I have always been a very visual person and loved art supplies and art as far back as I can remember. Most rceently, the clients I've had and the connections I've made through blogging have been a tremendous boost to my career and provided huge inspiration and support.
Chinoiserie Chair on Color Steroids by Anne Harwell

 Where were you born?

I was born in Detroit, Michigan.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

Probably either Palm Beach, Florida, Paris, or Barcelona.
Hoops by Anne Harwell
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

I am actually really enjoying breaking away from my years of realism and dabbling a bit more in abstracts of late. The freedom to focus on color is kind of liberating.

Could you talk about your artistic style

That's a bit difficult for me to answer, as I don't really exactly know how to label it.  I guess it's generally sort of colorful and eclectic, but based in realism.
Chanel No 5 by Anne Harwell
 How did you arrive at your current style?

It sort of just evolved over time through a sort of visual digestion of many styles I admire and then my natural bent thrown in.
Anne's art in It's Complicated.

Orange Chair Silhouette by Anne Harwell

Meryl Streeps, “It’s Complicated” is one of my favorite movies, I know your artwork is in the movie, that is so exciting!  How did that come about?

An assistant to Nancy Meyer's (the producer) set decorator contacted me through Etsy, saying that Nancy Meyers had specifically requested 2 prints of mine for an unnamed film shooting in Brooklyn at the time. She claimed her credit card wouldn't work with PayPal and she needed them overnighted. My first instinct was that she was scamming me and I almost ignored her, but I am very glad I didn't!
Red Chinoiserie on Black by Anne Harwell
 Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I have many favorite artists, but especially enjoy Mark Hampton, Bonnard and Matisse.
My biggest inspiration was my parents, because they both painted when I was young and encouraged me to try it. They have also been my biggest fans and supporters, even when I thought I had absolutely no talent.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?

My number one essential for well-being is my relationship with and daily dependance on Jesus Christ.  He gave me any gifts or talents I have and He keeps me sane, centered and at peace, even when things are most chaotic or difficult. ultimately I have confidence that He is in total control and loves me more than I can ever grasp, so, because of that, everything works together for my good, even at times when it looks like life's a disaster.
My family. They all mean the world to me and keep me grounded.
Good food, garlic and cooking.
Chocolate with sea salt.
Hot showers and clean towels.
My computer and printer.
Blogging and the internet and ETSY!

Georgetown Rowhouse by Anne Harwell

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

I am not a loyalist to any one paint, but tend to use gouache and acrylics mostly, though I am experimenting with oils as well.  I love bright and saturated colors, especially, pinks, oranges, greens and blues.
Interior by Anne Harwell
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
Be an inspiration to others and live purposefully.

License more of my work.
Design fabrics.
Re-do a charming older home and work on some interior design for others.
Have a child or two.
Interior by Anne Harwell
 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Follow your instincts, work hard, be honest, and be KIND! Don't let others try to crush your style and be original. A bad original is still better than a good copy.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Don't give up!


Chocolate or vanilla?

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat?
Sunny beach every time!

Book or movie?
Depends on how tired my eyes are.....

Favorite author?
Oswald Chambers

Favorite movie?
Mid-August Lunch

Romance or comedy?

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Coffee Crunch - amazing stuff

Night owl or morning person?
Morning person

Cake or Cupcakes?
***Update***  Sandra Busby has an interview with me on her blog today.  Stop by and check it out and stay around and check out her fabulous work:)

**Just a reminder, I'm still taking entries for my 2nd blogiversary giveaway.  I'll announce the winner Monday.  To enter just leave a comment with your e-mail address so I can contact you:)


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Update!!! WIP and Give Away

Hi Everyone,
San Pellegrino WIP full sheet watercolor
 I trust that your week is going well.  It is gray and rainy here and it is making me tired.  I need my sunshine!!!  I'm plugging away on my San Pellegrino bottles, but I'm feeling like they're in that awkward adolescent phase right now.  I have almost started over sooooo many times, but I'm not giving up yet.  I will at least finish the first bottle and then re-evaluate.

Oh and I a few people ask what greens I'm using.  At the moment I'm using Schmincke Pthalo Green, Schmincke Sap Green and Daniel Smith Cascade green.  For the darks I'm using, DS Payne's Gray, DS Lamp Black and DS Indigo

I'm also wondering why it is I seem to procrastinate when it comes to competition entries.  I have several deadlines piling up and I'm scrambling to reach the finish line.  Definitely going to work on this, these deadlines are not a surprise and I do have an entire year to plan soooooo--Major goal for next year---PLAN AHEAD!!!  I want to have things finished a month out so I have some breathing room and a cushion for those unexpected things like commissions that pop up.

I'm still taking entries for my 2nd Blogiversary (is there a correct spelling for this? I think I've seen a dozen ways to spell this).  I'll be doing a drawing to give away a pack of Carrie Waller mini-prints.  Leave a comment with your e-mail address so I can contact you.  I'll announce the winner next Monday!


Monday, January 9, 2012

San Pellegrino WIP and my 2nd Blogiversary GIVEAWAY!!

Hi Everyone,
S. Pellegrino WIP watercolor on paper it's a big one--full sheet
I'm hoping that 2012 is treating you well!!!  I'm posting my WIP.  I'll share my progress again on Wednesday.  It's a big guy.  I'm working on a full sheet.  It's been a slow start because I've not used a mostly green palette before and I had to work out the colors, but now I'm on a roll.

I have let the New Year start without acknowledging my 2nd Blogiversary.  In some ways I can not believe it has been 2 years and in others I feel like this is such a part of my life and I've made such wonderful friends that I've been at this forever.  As I roll into my 3rd year I am proud of what I have accomplished.  I feel renewed and even more motivated.  I was worried that at the end of year 1 I would be burned out by my commitment to paint everyday, but it has become a wonderful habit.  This blog has held me accountable and you wonderful people have pushed me along and been there every step of the way!  I can not Thank You enough!!!!

To celebrate I'm going to be giving away a pack of my mini-prints.  To enter just leave a comment and an e-mail address so that I can contact you.  I'll announce my winner next Monday!

Let's make 2012 the best year yet:)))


Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Feature: Dorrie Rifkin

'Across Grand Central' watercolor by Dorrie Rifkin
 Hi Everyone,
For my first Feature of 2012 I have a very special artist.  Her watercolors are absolutely gorgeous!  Her use of color is watercolor at it's best, she layers and mixes and makes the most creative and beautiful compositions.   

To see more of her work check out her website. 
How did you get your start?   
When I was a kid, my mom figured out that the best way to keep me entertained was a sketchpad.  My parents, both accountants, went through the Depression in their formative years, so Fine Art was not an option for me. I studied Graphic and Advertising Design at the University of Delaware.  I still make my living, in part, as an art director.  
'Bridges' watercolor by Dorrie Rifkin
 What’s your artist journey so far?

A few years ago, I just started entering art shows, not on a whim but as a self-challenge.  Not too long after, my artistic life-changing experience came, following a workshop I took with John Salminen.  He recommended me for an article in Watercolor Artist entitled, “Ones to Watch.”  After that, it became more than just a personal passion, as I started to gain more recognition. This year, the NBC TV show Prime Suspect bought a few of my prints. Now I’m being contacted more about painting projects than design projects.  

Where were you born?  

The Bronx, but I spent most of my wonder years in New Jersey, where I still live.
'Grand Central Station' watercolor by Dorrie Rifkin
 If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

New York City.  Home has always been where family and friends are.  
What’s your favorite thing to paint, and why?

Urban scenes.  I love type and iconic structures.  I look for design elements that I can play with, using positive and negative shapes.  
Could you talk about your painting techniques?  

Step 1: 
Go out and take photos.
Step 2: 
Photoshop.  Here’s where I work on getting a strong design.
Step 3: 
Get a piece of paper and start drawing.  I use Strathmore Wet Media Board because it takes a beating. 
Step 4:  
Paint.  I start with wet on wet for the background, and then slowly add details with layers. Wet Media Board doesn’t soak in the paint, which gives that soft wet on wet look.  I can also pretty much get back to the white of the paper without destroying the board.    

You have such a fabulous style. Tell us a little about how you evolved into this painting style.

My job as an Art Director was to sell a concept. It was important to make sure the client got the concept visually.  Before computers, I used magic markers to create conceptual layouts for clients.  If one wanted to go home, one learned quickly how to do this fast and loose.  All of this carried over into my style.

I love the blooms and gorgeous color combinations; you really seem to love to play with your paint, how did you arrive at your current style?

My secrets are, one, a messy palette, and, two, embracing happy accidents.

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration? 

I love so many artists that I can’t just name one.
  Andy Warhol started my love affair with graphic design and type. Bernie Fuchs and Bart Forbes: When I was growing up. I used to anticipate TV Guide’s weekly arrival in the mail.  If the cover was an illustration, I was in heaven -- usually it was by one of these guys. John Salminen: The “Bruce Springsteen of the Watercolor World.” Facebook: Every day, when I open Facebook, I go into a candy store of talent and inspiration.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist?

Having a good life.  My husband. New York City. American Idol. Macbook Pro. iPad. And Diet Coke.  

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Burnt sienna, quinacridone orange and manganese blue.  Anything quinacridone is all right with me.

How do you balance your teaching life with your art career?

Add to that, “…and with being an art director and a newlywed.”  Get up in the morning and breathe.  After that, supportive husband, good friends, and family who do not bill me. 
'Lincoln Center' watercolor by Dorrie Rifkin
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? 
Dream big here.

1.    Be represented by a gallery
2.    Travel and paint around the world
3.    A studio that isn’t my kitchen table, and a paid assistant.
4.    Teach workshops
5.    Have a painting on the cover of TV Guide.
What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Embrace technology, take business classes, have a second income, never stop learning (i.e., take workshops, etc.), and nurture a good sense of humor.
What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
You're the boss.  Nobody sees the photograph or subject matter that you're painting; it’s your job to interpret it.
'World Trade Center' watercolor by Dorrie Rifkin
Have you always painted in watercolor, or have you tried other mediums?
I explored all mediums, but always preferred watercolor.  It’s portable, and easiest to clean up.  Also, it’s the only medium I know that has a mind of it’s own, whose physical properties require the artist to cede control to it. I consider the watercolor a partner when I paint. 

Dorrie, thank you so much for a  wonderful interview:))