Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday

Phew just getting this post in under the wire!  Where did Wednesday go!!  Here are the work in progress pics of my latest painting "Emerald City".

"Emerald City" 11x14 original watercolor on 260lb Arches  by Carrie Waller

Monday, February 25, 2013

Emerald City

"Emerald City" original watercolor on 260lb Arches 11"x 14" by Carrie Waller
Hi Everyone,

Here is my completed painting, "Emerald City".  It is 11" x 14" original watercolor on 260lb Arches.  I decided to revisit my green glass series.  I couldn't help thinking of The Wizard of Oz while I was painting this.  I hope the title isn't to "out there".

I also wanted to show you the picture rail in my studio area.  I really enjoy utilizing these shelves.  They were very affordable at IKEA.  Also thought I would show you my new painting next to the larger version "Going Green".  Also pictured are my paintings "Italian Heritage" and "Summer Kaleidoscope".

I'll share the work in progress pictures of "Emerald City" on Wednesday.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Work in Progress Wednesday: Emerald City

Work In Progress photos of "Emerald City"11" x 14" watercolor by Carrie Waller
Hi Everyone,

No it's not de ja vu, I'm working on another green glass painting.  I took a ton of photos the day I set up the still life so I have a plethora of references to work from.  This photo is from a different angle and captures some very interesting patterns and shapes that were enhanced with the dramatic sunlight pouring through them.  I titled this painting Emerald City because  all the bottles remind me of the skyline in The Wizard of Oz.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Italian Heritage

Hi Everyone,
SOLD "Italian Heritage" 11" x 14" original watercolor on 260lb Arches by Carrie Waller
Here is my finished painting.  I had a lot of fun with this commissioned piece.  I have never had so many components in a still life and never painted any of these elements before except for the green bottle.  It was a great challenge and I feel ready to tackle more veggies:)  Maybe I should make this into a series, I say that about almost every painting.  But wouldn't it be fun to travel around the world through food.  What is in the kitchen of someone in Greece, Spain, Germany, England, Thailand, Korea, Japan, China, etc.  Wouldn't that be fun.  I'll add it to my ever expansive list of painting ideas!

This piece was commissioned by my favorite 3rd grade teacher.  We reconnected through facebook after 28 years.  I moved around a lot as a kid so I was thrilled we found each other.  The still life is comprised of pieces from her heritage and things she saw in the kitchen when she was growing up.  She mailed me the olive oil can to include in the piece because it is from Sicily where her family originates.  We talked about other elements to include, she wanted the Italian trinity (carrots, celery and garlic) included.  She said there was always olive oil and fennel in the kitchen when she was a kid.  I added in the olives. She also loved the green bottles I painted and asked if I could include some green glass.  And of course I did all of my photo references with dramatic natural sunlight, which proved difficult during these gray winter days.  All in all I just love the lively colors in this piece even though it's mostly greens, there was just such a variety.  And the graphic punch from that olive oil can really sets everything off. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Feature: Mary Jansen

Hi Everyone,
"Midas Touch" original watercolor by Mary Jansen

Today is another amazing Friday Feature, I feel like there is a never ending supply of fabulous artists and I'm so happy each week when I get to share another one with you.  

This weeks is Mary Jansen, her work is spectacular.  She is really a jack of all trades and seems to master everything she touches.  I met Mary through a blogger group I'm part of called Art Colony.  Mary not only paints at full size but she also paints in miniature and she does these amazing Celtic Ukaranian eggs. 

To see more of her work visit her blog.
"On Golden Pond" original watercolor by Mary Jansen
 How did you get your start? What’s your artist journey so far?
 This is a tough question for pinpointing the “start” of an artist’s career is ambiguous at best. When were we not artists? I believe creativity is an intrinsic character trait built into our own DNA. This particular attribute defines who we are and how we see the world around us. Constructing pots of mud from our backyard or pilfering plaster cast “sculpture making” materials from my Dad’s medical office as a child were favorite occupations from day one.  Mom always had a pencil and paper on hand with which I could doodle. So when did I start? From the moment I learned to grasp a tool. When did I begin professionally? The moment I realized I had no choice but to respect and acknowledge the disquieting creative process that churned within me. This was when I had decided to hone my skills with the pursuit of a degree in the arts.
Since then my artistic journey has been tremendously fulfilling leading me to occupations in graphic design, design department management, fine arts crafts and finally, full time watercolorist. It is through watercolors that my creative muse is most satisfied. My artistic journey continues as I explore ideas on formats anywhere between 2 x 3”, (miniature painting) on up to full sheets of watercolor paper.

Where were you born?
I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio but grew up in northern California.  San Francisco/Bay Area is a marvelous place to nurture a creative soul. There is so much cultural diversity and artistic stimulation packed into that community!
"Golden Goose" original watercolor by Mary Jansen

If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I am drawn to the west coast. I would be at home any place among big trees- from northern California up to British Columbia. It’s important to live within a creative community as well. Artists have a way of generating a thrilling kind of synergy among their friends and acquaintances!

What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
Birds. I just adore birds! I never tire of their unique personalities, clever antics, graceful stature and movement and dazzling feather patterns. When I paint them I focus on inherent characteristics of the species I’m trying to convey. Are they particularly intelligent? Graceful?Awkward?Energetic or cocky? If I can capture the personality of my subject then I will have considered my composition a success.
I enjoy painting other topics as well. If the lighting is enticing and the subject tells a story then it simply doesn’t matter WHAT the subject matter is. It matters only that I convey the appropriate idea.
"Ugly Adolescence" original miniature watercolor by Mary Jansen
 Could you talk about your painting techniques?
Watercolors are fickle and stock full of personality. To really commit to this medium one must develop a relationship with every tube of paint. Every color has its own characteristics, perks and flaws. And each one must be tested so one is not surprised later while working on a painting. Once that “relationship” is developed the fun begins.
A painting for me is an evolutionary process. It is critical to begin with a strong concept and then remain faithful to that concept throughout the development. This affects everything from how one composes the elements to how one regards the lighting and pigments. I choose my limited palette of paints before I even begin the drawing process.  (And yes, this varies though I do use a core palette of paints I couldn’t do without. They are my “Old Faithfuls”!) I work from light to dark layering hundreds of washes to acquire luminosity, hue intensity and value variation that best defines what I believe expresses the original idea.
Some watercolorists are quick and confident in their approach. My process is slow and calculating. Neither style is right or wrong but merely a reflection of one’s personal tastes.  Because my paint application is time consuming, (arduous at times!) I must routinely remind myself of what the painting is about. I will repeat this in my head and recite it as a kind of mantra to keep me on target for it’s easy to digress from the core concept.
There are times in the process of painting where I become extremely frustrated. I call it the “Ugly Duckling Stage”.  This is generally the time when many of the initial wash layers are applied and cover the greater part of the paper. The image looks dull and unexciting as at this stage the value development has really not had a chance to evolve. I must remind myself to push on and grind through this stage for it is at this point that visual excitement is just around the corner! I mention this because I know that many artists go through a similar process only to give up at this point. Persevere and one will be rewarded with a rich, satisfying piece of art!

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
My all-time favorite paints are the Daniel Smith Quinacridone series. (Q. Deep Gold is my favorite of those.) These colors are superior in blending, lifting, and the layering of clean washes. I find them reliable and stunning.
I tend to steer away from opaque colors and rely on washes to build up color and definition. I enjoy mixing interesting grays and love the warmth of Winsor Orange mixed with French Ultramarine.
"Come to the Dark Side" original watercolor by Mary Jansen
 Do you have a favorite artist? Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I have so many favorite artists I couldn’t possibly list them all! I am spoiled for I live within close proximity to Chicago’s Art Institute and get to indulge in the best! I love the lighting drama of old Renaissance masters such as Caravaggio and Vermeer and I admire the design considerations of Art Nouveau artists such as Parrish, Beardsley, Rackham and Mucha.  Extraordinary color juxtapositions from Matisse and delicate portraits of Mary Cassatt excite my muse! And who can leave out the fantastical illustrations of Brian Froud and Adrienne Segur!
 But watercolor artists are my favorite. Of these there truly are too many.  I think this is the “Age of Watercolor” and we are so fortunate to not only see masterpieces come to fruition but we have opportunities to rub shoulders with some of the “greats” and glean tips and helpful information from them. I have never met a watercolorist yet that I have not enjoyed wholeheartedly!
"Maggie's Nirvana" original watercolor by Mary Jansen
 What have been some of your crowning achievements?
More rewarding than the acceptance of any award is the affirmation one feels when a viewer takes in a painting and responds to it in the way one had intended.  To get feedback through unsolicited comments and compliments is its own award for only then can one really bask in the satisfaction of knowing a job was well done.
I have won many awards in several international miniature shows in the last five years.  Of them the most noteworthy was the coveted “Excellence in All Entries” in the Florida MASF exhibit in 2011. It’s always a thrill to learn the news of an award but I think my most crowning achievement is having trained my family to subsist on days of dinner leftovers while I obsess over paintings!

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? (Dream big here)
1. Acquiring signature membership in TWSA and AWS
2. Acquiring signature membership in MAA (Miniature Artists of America)
3. Writing and publishing an article in a watercolor magazine.
4. Development and facilitating of a watercolor society/community within the Chicago suburbs.
5. A personal invitation to teach watercolor courses on a year- long cruise through the Carribean, (hey, you DID say dream big here, right?!)
"Yellow Lilies" original watercolor by Mary Jansen

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
There is a gentleman in our church who, in our weekly prayer petition always says, “Pray for the perseverance of artists everywhere.” I love that he solicits the Spirit to help artists remain true to the inherent talents God has gifted them.  Whether or not you believe in God I think it so very important to take yourself and your profession seriously and then maintain that mindset. Find that spirit or inner tenacity to keep you motivated in the down times because there WILL be down times regardless of how talented you are! It’s too easy to give up, especially when society attempts to pigeon-hole our creative careers into “less-than-serious” professions. An artist’s life is an emotional roller coaster ride but if one examines those who have succeeded one will find a couple of  common denominators among them: 1. they don’t let society define who they are, 2. they take their professions seriously and acquire the marketing and business skills to make it profitable.
"Humdinger Christmas" Mary's Christmas card for 2012
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Choosing the vocation of artist is not an easy path to take.  I can’t stress enough how vital it is that one becomes involved in creative circles. Yes, artists are notoriously introverted but to isolate oneself from the rest of the artist community is to truly do oneself a disservice. Not only are there tremendous resources and gleaning of techniques and information to be had from colleagues but there is an emotional support system as well. I have been involved in several art circles over the years. Some are local and some are online. Many of these artists have become very close friends. The advice, support and companionship is priceless. Get involved. Make friends and watch your career develop!
Mary's amazing Celtic Ukranian eggs, I want to learn how to do this!!

Chocolate or Vanilla?
Both. What’s light without the shadow?
Your dream vacation spot?
Well…if I’m “dreaming”…then a place resplendent in delicate lights streaming through mossy redwood groves and cascading waterfalls. Oh…and endless miles of hiking trails!
Book or Movie?
Book, (on a sunny couch with a purring kitty on my lap)
Favorite author?
Bill Bryson, Stephan Jay Gould, Annie Dillard,Phillipa Gregory, E.O.Wilson, (what…I can only choose ONE?!)
Favorite Movie?
Galaxy Quest (so silly!)
Romance or Comedy
Favorite Dessert
Root beer float with Mocha Almond Fudge Ice Cream
Night Owl or Morning Person:
Morning.  I like to greet the day.

Thank you so much Mary!!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Work in progress Wednesday

"Italian Heritage" work in progress 11"x 14" watercolor on 260lb paper by Carrie Waller
 Hi Everyone,

Here's my progress on "Italian Heritage" watercolor 11" x 14" on 260lb Arches.

This is my foot warmer.  He's under my feet at my painting table for every painting:)

I still have a few spaces available in my workshop.  Come join us:)


Monday, February 11, 2013

Italian Heritage: making some progress

Hi Everyone,
"Italian Heritage" 11 x 14 work in progress watercolor by Carrie Waller

I'm still working away on my commissioned piece "Italian Heritage".  Thought I would share my progress with you.

Hope you had a great weekend.  Can't say I was too happy to get out of my warm bed this morning, uggghh!


Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Feature: Lisa O'Regan

"Playing with Fire" watercolor by Lisa O'Regan
Hi Everyone,

Get ready for a fabulous Friday Feature!  Lisa O'Regan's work is stupendously spectacular.  I just can't get enough of it and absolutely love following her works in progress on facebook.  

To see more of her work join her on facebook.

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?

I have been drawing and painting since a very young age, for as long as I can remember really.  My mother was a painter, and my father also had talent but never practiced (other than the few caricatures that we would draw of one another for fun left to decorate the refrigerator door).  I knew before entering High School that I would continue my education in Fine Arts, and was very fortunate to have both my parent’s support and encouragement in doing so.  I received my BFA from University when I was 21, but at such a young age, I had no idea what to do with it, and eventually succumbed to a nine-to-five position, which I’ve held for the past 24 years, completely unrelated to my field of study.  I had basically secluded myself from the art world, even while in University.  I would hide behind my easel, feeling daunted that I wasn’t following the norm (in any respect whatsoever) and feared any piercing eyes looking over my shoulder, so unsure of what it was that I was doing or needing to say.  I didn’t want to follow artists at all, not wanting to mimic anyone else’s style.  I took up watercolour painting, without much direction from schooling, and proceeded to paint mostly for the pure enjoyment of painting tied in with the occasional commission piece, until I gave painting up altogether for a full fifteen years to raise my three beautiful children.  Fifteen years is a long time, and I was pretty much kicking myself the whole time for neglecting it, and my degree, but no regrets.  It was almost five years ago that I finally took out my brushes again, and have not laid them down since.  I no longer hide, or shy away when someone ogles while I work, and I rather welcome the abundance of art displayed daily in my Facebook newsfeed – I just simply can’t get enough of it!  I still have no idea what I’m doing, or needing to say, but it doesn’t matter so much to me anymore – I simply want to paint.  Whatever, wherever, whenever.  Much of my recent adventures have included the rebuilding of my portfolio, taking on commissions, as well as entering and being successfully juried into art competitions.  It’s a solo journey that I’ve embarked on, and I have absolutely no idea where it will take me, but I’m enjoying every second of it along the way!
"Standing the Test of Time" watercolor by Lisa O'Regan

Where were you born?

I was born in St. Lambert, Quebec, a town on the south shore of Montreal.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I am a proud Canadian, and love my heritage, and even though I complain about the cold snowy winters, I wouldn’t have it any other way – but the views are much more spectacular out West, and wouldn’t mind eventually settling in British Columbia or Alberta one fine day.
"Sepia" watercolor by Lisa O'Regan
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Oh… the choices!!   I had heard that it was best to paint what you know and love, and so, without any other forethought, my kids and cats would be my favourite things to paint.  I love so many other things too, such as, nature and wildlife, that I could never say that I focus entirely on any one type of subject matter solely, and hope to see many other ideas to fruition as well.
"Harry" watercolor by Lisa O'Regan
 Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

I’m not sure I can describe my painting technique other than to say that I like to paint realistically enough, but in a painterly manner so to speak.  Even though I alter between watercolour and acrylic, I think my technique remains the same.  I tend to build up shapes and forms, by layering the acrylic on the canvas, much the same as I would glaze layers of watercolour on paper, and by the same token, I will work wet-in-wet wherever possible or necessary for either/or.

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

Windsor & Newton Burnt Sienna for watercolour and Pebeo Indigo Blue for acrylic – both are musts for every palette, and for every painting that I work on. 
"Insignificant Boundaries" watercolor by Lisa O'Regan
 Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I’d have to say that Mary Whyte is my favourite watercolour artist.  There is just something about the figures that she paints, and the emotions that speak to me whenever I view one of her paintings.   My biggest inspiration, without a doubt, would be my mother.  It has been such a pleasure to follow in her footsteps, sharing not only her love for painting, but photography and nature as well.  Of course I have a favourite go-to list of artists that I am constantly checking up on as well, and couldn’t live without a daily dose of artwork, in some  way, shape or form, which is so very contrary to my younger days.
"First Born" acrylic by Lisa O'Regan
 What have been some of your crowning achievements?

My kids, of course… without a doubt!  Are three enough? :)
"Life Goes On" acrylic by Lisa O'Regan
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

Like most, I’d want to win the lottery, travel the world, quit my job and paint full-time – whether it be as employment, or enjoyment solely, doesn’t matter… but in all honesty, I don’t play the lottery, and all I really want is a new house, with a big bright room of my own, to call a studio – MY studio! :)
"Watcha Lookin At" by Lisa O'Regan
 What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?

Practice makes perfect.  Just keep doing what you love to do, and eventually, your passion will turn into a profession.   At least that’s what I’m hoping for, for myself!
"Mellow Yellow" watercolor by Lisa O'Regan

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

Paint what you love, and love what you paint.

Chocolate or vanilla?


Your dream vacation spot?

I would love to go to Ireland one day, but today, anywhere hot would suffice – it’s so cold right now!

Book or movie?

Movie (no time to read these days)

Favorite author?

John Grisham

Favorite movie?

It’s a toss-up between One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and A Nightmare before Christmas… oh, and anything featuring Tom Hanks!

Romance or comedy?

Ew.  Drama!

Favorite dessert?

Not really into desert… but pecan pie, if I must!

Night owl or morning person?

Morning person, definitely.  It’s all about the light! :)

 Thank you so much Lisa.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday: Italian Heritage

Hi Everyone,
WIP "Italian Heritage" 11 x 14 watercolor on 260 lb Arches by Carrie Waller

I'm working on a commission piece this week.  It's a tribute to my clients childhood and heritage.  Each component in this composition has special meaning.  Now I'm off to work on the painting.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Be My Valentine

Hi Everyone,

Some days it's a struggle just to get a blog post up.  Actually these last couple weeks have been a struggle.  One sick kid after another has led to lack of art productivity.  Throw in the first formal event I've had to attend in 6 years and it complicates things even more.  I haven't painted a painting in over 2 weeks, aaaahhhh!

I did experiment with Daniel Smith Ground.  I got a sample of DS ground with one of my paint orders and you're supposed to be able to paint the stuff on any surface and have a watercolor surface.  It's kind of like gesso.  I decided to apply it to some artists panels to see how it worked.  It was okay, not great!  I would never be able to paint a painting to my satisfaction using it.  But it was fun for crafty type projects, it was a little like painting on aquaboard, which I still don't have a handle on, so maybe with lots of practice/frustration you could get a professional product.
Sam with his heart--And Moose too:)

Sam modeling Steven's heart, since he accidentally deleted the pic of Steven showing his work off.
 So what do you do when a painting is failing?  You let your little boys improve it:)  Steven and Sam created their own Valentine's after I threw in the towel on the last 2 panels.  They created beautiful paintings!