Monday, November 25, 2013

Well Traveled Paintings

"The Night Before Christmas" 6" x 6" watercolor by Carrie Waller

"The Night Before Christmas" 6" x 6" watercolor by Carrie Waller

"Falling For You" 6" x 6" watercolor with 22k gold leaf by Carrie Waller

I'm happy to announce that I have 3 paintings on their way to California to the 6" Squared, Randy Higbee show.  This is the 4th time that I've participated in the show.  It's always been a super fun and positive experience.

In other news I'm attempting to paint for our Holiday show on Dec 3rd at Local Colour Gallery in Little Rock, AR.  But this overcast, cold weather is getting me down and I miss the sunny skies that we always had in Alabama.  I'm hoping when we move next summer it's somewhere sunny.

I also wanted to share how some of my collector's framed their leaf and acorn.  A good framing job just enhances art so well.

I wish everyone a Happy Turkey Day and if you're traveling be careful out there:)


Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Feature: Kelly Eddington

"Self Portrait" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
It's Friday again!  Is there any way we can slow down time, maybe double the month of December?  It is flying by and I am not ready folks. 

This week I'm bringing you a new discovery of mine.  I found Kelly's work through Imagekind and fell in love with it immediately.  I found her on face book and  after chatting a bit I found out that Kelly and I share some common ground.  She lives in Illinois where I call home and her sister is an news anchor in the area that I went to high school and college, small world.  Anyway, Kelly's work is AMAZING!!!!!!  It speaks for itself.

If you would like to see more of her work check out her website and blog.

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

When I was four or five my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas. “A scribble pad.” That was a pad of 9”x12” newsprint that retailed for around a dollar. “What else?” she asked. I already had crayons, so I was legitimately stumped. Drawing was my favorite thing in the world along with playing in the pasture behind our house, where I made forts out of paneling scraps, looked for monarch caterpillars, and hid from the ponies. (My grandparents had ponies, strangely enough, and I think I kind of assumed everyone else did, too.)

My love of art continued during my years at school—I was the only one in my grade who found any real pleasure in it. Inspired by my dog Alex, I created a comic strip about a family of basset hounds that my small-town newspaper published. My drawing style evolved from child-art to realism when I was 13. I felt like some kind of veil had lifted and I could really see. My right hand and my brain became best friends, and suddenly I could draw whatever I wanted. I was an overachiever in high school, a mathlete, if you will, and I knew that one day I would have to choose between art and math.

During the summer between my junior and senior years, I wanted to paint. I had been exploring acrylic painting in my art classes, but the only paints we had in the house were a set of watercolors that belonged to my three year-old sister. I spent the summer painting with those sad little watercolors and their awful plastic brush on drawing paper so thin that it turned a translucent gray whenever I’d flood it with too much water. Even though this setup was less than ideal, I fell in love with watercolor, and once I got my hands on decent brushes, acceptable paint, and actual watercolor paper, it became so much easier. All thoughts of studying math in college went out the window.

I loved being an art major at Western Illinois University, and those years flew by. After completing four semesters of required courses, I was finally able to study watercolor, and I didn’t even have to think about it—I knew that this was officially my medium. After graduation I became a graduate student in art education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My father was a teacher, and my working-class background dictated that I would need to make a reliable living once I was on my own. Teaching art seemed like the way to go.

I taught art for seventeen years in two medium-sized Illinois public high schools. I didn’t marry until I was 39, and teaching allowed me to support myself and pursue my painting every summer. I spent the bulk of my twenties exploring abstract expressionism before returning to realism in my thirties.

Teaching at its best is the most fulfilling job imaginable, and I loved helping students discover talents they didn’t know they possessed. My first teaching position was wonderful, but after eleven years my job became increasingly difficult—classes loaded with forty students, no money for supplies. I accepted another teaching position at a different school, but its breakneck schedule and factory-like environment burned me out in a hurry. I found that I was jealous of my students. I wanted to be the one doing the projects. Teaching at its worst can be crushingly repetitive, and eventually I experienced “I shouldn’t be here” feelings every morning when I pulled into the parking lot. So two and a half years ago I took a giant step and quit teaching in order to pursue my painting full-time, and while I am no longer raking in that big fat teacher’s salary anymore and have to hustle for every dollar I make, I have never been happier in my life.
"The Graduates" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 Where were you born?

I was born in Iowa and spent my entire childhood in La Harpe, a small town in western Illinois.

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

If I could magically transport my current, weird home in eastern Illinois, along with its stream and dozens of trees across the ocean—and also take my extended family, husband, and three cats along in a way that would stress-free for all involved—sure, I’ll live in Italy.
"Mabel" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with things that are wet, shiny, and/or complicated. For a while I was really into reflections on water. Now I’m crazy about jewelry. It’s also very satisfying to complete a portrait and watch a human being take shape under my brush—I like to say that it looks like the person I’m painting is slowly rising up from a vat of milk. Usually my portraits are very tight, so I tend to follow those up with a looser floral. I feel like I will never come close to painting everything I want to.
"Studio Assistant" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

The majority of my paintings are watercolors in the 22”x30” range. They’re highly detailed and can take from a couple of weeks to over a month to finish. I work slowly, completing one section at a time. Nearly everything I paint begins with one or two layers of wet-into-wet paint, and once those areas dry (or not) I’ll glaze over them with additional flat washes and drybrush techniques. I use the smallest amount of water required and rarely flood my paper. I’ve avoided using masking fluid for over twenty years—I felt that to use it would violate this ludicrous old-school code of mine—but a couple of years ago I had no other choice and broke my rule. And now I love the stuff. I use it sparingly, but if you want to paint sparkly things, it’s the only way to go.
"Burano Glass" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?

Most of my watercolors are from Old Holland (tubes). Their cadmium red light is so beautiful I want to be it. I fill in Old Holland’s color gaps with other brands such as Windsor and Newton and Van Gogh. I’m crazy about W&N’s turquoise. And opera. Oh. That’s the most gorgeous hot pink, and it stuns me when I squeeze some out of the tube.

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

I was an art history minor, so I have so many, and I’m the crazy person in the museum who stands in front of paintings with tears running down her face. Artists who have made me weep include (in no particular order) Giotto, Masaccio, Rembrandt, Goya, Durer, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rembrandt, Hopper, Warhol, Vermeer, Picasso, Rothko, Bellini, and de Kooning.

But, and not to sound too precious about this, my biggest inspiration is nature. The colors and shapes I see in this most boring of landscapes blow my mind sometimes. Yesterday I gasped at a stubbly, harvested cornfield in afternoon light—that yellow-gold was stunning. Or swirly snow drifts by the side of a ditch after a blizzard: there is no better sculptor than the wind. Color combinations you see on birds, shapes created by wilting flowers…I feel like I must annoy my husband whenever we take a walk in the fall because I can’t see a red tree without pointing it out to him. It’s really kind of a problem.
"Glass Gems" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What have been some of your crowning achievements?

I’ve had a great year: I’m now a signature member of the Illinois Watercolor Society, saw one of my paintings turned into a mural in downtown Urbana, won an online art competition put on by CaféPress, and received special awards in a couple of juried exhibitions. I’ve had two one-person shows over the past year and a half. A few months ago, I finished an insane wedding portrait that kept me busy all summer long.

I follow Roger Ebert on Twitter, and one time he tweeted that he always looks for books on film criticism in bookshelves in the backgrounds of movies, but he has never seen any. Coincidentally, I had just completed a portrait of a little girl named Mabel, and one of Roger’s books was on a shelf behind her. I brought this to his attention, and he’s blogged and tweeted about my work and has been a pen pal of mine ever since. We even sort of collaborated on my painting Abandoned Knowledge (he sent me a photo and said, “You should paint this,” so I did). I got to meet him last year, which was a thrill. He is unable to speak and communicates via a small notebook and pen now. He introduced me to one of his friends by writing the word “artist” on his notepad. And then he underlined it. And then my mind exploded.
"Planets and Foil" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)

I want to remain healthy and keep doing what I’m doing. I don’t take that for granted for a second. I’d like to have a few more one-person shows, maybe publish an article or two in watercolor magazines, and take on some high-profile portrait commissions. I also think it would be awesome if every “like” or positive comment on a Facebook post of mine would automatically translate into cash that would come spewing out of my laptop. How about a dollar per like, and five dollars per comment? Ten dollars per share!

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

Paint what you love and realize that you’ve got to put in lots of time no matter how talented you are. I’ve been painting for over 25 years and feel like I’m still improving. Challenge yourself and take on projects just to see if you can do them. Be prepared to deal with rejection and keep expectations low as far as competitions are concerned. Don’t get too down on yourself if you lose, but don’t get too thrilled if you win. Count on the fact that people who ask you to paint something might flake out at the last minute. Down-payments need to happen. That person you said you’d email? Email her today, not tomorrow. Social media will not lead to many direct sales, so don’t get discouraged; if you stick with it, it can provide a foundation that will lead to other opportunities. Let your audience get to know you as a living, breathing person with other interests beyond begging them to buy your work. If you like to write, create a blog. If you are like me and live in an area where the art scene is not exactly robust, online art galleries and printers like Imagekind can be your friend.
"Ruby Liberty Dragonfly" original watercolor by Kelly Eddington
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?

I love this quote by Nick Cave.

"Inspiration is a word used by people who aren't really doing anything. I go into my office every day that I'm in Brighton and work. Whether I feel like it or not is irrelevant. Inspiration is nice, but if you only work when it strikes, you're going to be an unhappy artist. This is especially true if you want to earn a living at it; you don't hear about surgeons getting ‘surgeon's block’ or garbage men getting ‘garbage men's block.’  There are assuredly days when the surgeon doesn't want to be removing gall-bladders, but she does it anyway, because that's her job."

Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate

Your dream vacation spot? Venice/Murano/Burano (I’ve been there twice.)

Book or movie? Book

Favorite author? Vladimir Nabokov

Favorite movie? Pulp Fiction

Romance or comedy? Breaking Bad

Favorite dessert? This: (Malted crisp tart, from my blog)

Night owl or morning person? Morning.

Thanks Carrie! :D

Thank you so much Kelly:)

Happy Friday everyone1!!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Night Before Christmas

Hi Everyone,

"The Night Before Christmas, In Texas That Is" 6" x 6" watercolor by Carrie Waller
Today I'm sharing a couple of new Christmas paintings:)))))  I think I have another one or two up my sleeve before it's all over this year.

When we were moving this summer I found this childhood book of mine, "The Night Before Christmas, In Texas That Is".  I knew that it would be the inspiration for this years painting.  I knew immediately that I wanted to find a glass cowboy boot to put the milk in, do they make those?  I stopped in at my local antique store that day and what did I find, a glass cowboy boot.  It was fate!!!  I was just about to make some star cookies to complete my set up and I found a box of star cookies at the grocery store--yay, made that easier and they had white frosting, I was going to do a gold color but I love the monochromatic quality of this piece with that pop of gold and red.  Anyway, why Texas you ask? I plan on doing a series of these Christmas paintings based on places I've lived and even though I was born in Indiana we only lived there for a year before moving to Texas.  Sooooo most of my early memories are of the Lone Star State.  Are any of you Big Bang Theory fans?  I get such a kick out of the fact that Sheldon is from Texas, he'll start singing songs from Texas that I had to learned in grade school, just love that!!  Living in Texas you learn songs like, "Deep In the Heart of Texas" and "The Yellow Rose of Texas".  You also learn how to "Texas Two Step" in the first grade and how to square dance.   When I was a kid I was fascinated that it was illegal to pick blue bonnets the Texas state flower and was worried I would accidentally pick one an end up in jail:)  I have very fond memories of my Texas upbringing (we lived in Dallas and Houston in case you were interested:)
Here I am in my Texas gear, I think it's state law that you own a cowboy hat:))
The second Christmas painting that I did was a smaller version of a painting that I did a few years ago.  It's slightly different but I just love this composition.  I think it was a huge help that I had painted this larger the first time, made all of those details like the balls on the candlewick dish and glass and the powdered sugar so much easier with this smaller scale.  This one is just alive with Holiday cheer:))
"The Night Before Christmas" 6" x 6" watercolor by Carrie Waller
Have a great week everyone:)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Work In Progress Wednesday

"Smitty" 16" x 20" watercolor by Carrie Waller

Here are the work in progress pictures of my newest painting:)  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 11, 2013


Hi Everyone
"Smitty" watercolor by Carrie Waller 16" x 20"
I finished my painting:)  I present you "Smitty" 16" x 20" watercolor on 260lb Arches.

"Smitty" is my Grandpa.  He is prominently featured in the center of the composition.  I found this photograph this passed Summer when I was visiting family and acquired some of the family photos.  My Grandpa passed away when I was 6 years old but I have lots of memories of him working on cars at his auto body shop.  This photo was taken when he was visiting Indianapolis, where I was born.  He got the opportunity to visit the Indy 500 test track.  I knew when I saw this photo I wanted to paint it, but how could I incorporate the photo with my love of still life painting?  I'm sure anyone that has kids, boys in particular, have lots of Hot Wheels around the house.  So I didn't have to go to far to find the rest of my composition.  I blew the photo up and surrounded it with several of the cars.  I tried to find vintage cars, in fact the Independence car, bottom, center, kind of represents me.  I was born in 1976.  The old red truck off the left of my Grandpa reminds me of him for some reason.

This painting was a fun challenge and I wasn't sure how it would turn out until the very end but I think my Grandpa would be proud.
"Emerald City" 11" x 14" watercolor by Carrie Waller
I also got some good news that my painting "Emerald City" won a purchase award from the Arkansas Small Works competition.  I delivered the painting last week.

I also had my painting "Going Green" featured in an Arkansas publication Soiree.  It looks great!  I love it when I get such amazing free coverage:)


Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Feature: Kathryn Ragan

"Bruno" 13" x 10" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan
Hi Everyone,  

It's Friday Feature time!  Today I have Kathryn Ragan as my feature.  I have followed Kathryn and her  
blog (Studio At The Farm) for a very long time.  Her blog is full of fun anecdotal stories of her life on the farm starring her cast of hilarious animals and of course her art is featured. Her connection to animals and nature shines through in her beautiful paintings.

Here is Kathryn's bio form her fine art america site; Kathryn lives on a small farm in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. She has been painting in watercolor for about ten years, and is self-taught. Finding her inspiration in the life around her, she strives to interpret to the viewer her love of the visual world. 

To see more of her work visit her facebook page and  fine art america site.

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?
From what I’ve heard, I was always drawing when young, and I remember being happy when drawing. I kept up the art through high school, and then put it aside for many years, while at university and later when working. I started again when in my early forties, and then fell in love with watercolor painting.
"Trigger" 14" x 9" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan
Where were you born?
Toronto, Ontario

If you could live anywhere where would you live?
I must admit, I am in a gorgeous part of Canada now ... except for the winter rain. If I could spend 8 months here, and 4 months somewhere hot and dry, that would be heaven.
"The Laughing Labrador" 17" x 12" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan
What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
I have always enjoyed painting florals just because of their beauty, and now I also love having animals as subjects. It gives me so much pleasure and satisfaction to re-create an animal’s appearance and to imbue the portrait with a sense of its spirit.

Could you talk about your painting techniques?
My techniques are fairly traditional. I use primarily staining  pigments. I try to do as much of the initial work in wet-in-wet. And I do a lot of glazing with thin washes to keep the glow of the work.
"The Little Red Hen" 6.5" x 6" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
I am very much attracted to quinacridone burnt orange and quinacridone sienna. My palette tends to the warm, and the Daniel Smith brand is predominant. 

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
I prefer the old masters [and mistresses, in the case of the 17th c. Dutch woman painters], and could lose all track of time viewing Velasquez, Caravaggio or Hals.
There are a lot of contemporary watercolor painters who are creating some fabulous work. Personally, I was initially influenced by Jacqueline Gnott’s glorious florals, and Catherine Anderson for her unbelievably exquisite washes and glazes.
"Carmella" 22" x 15" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan
What have been some of your crowning achievements?
Really, any painting that I have done for a client, and then watched their face as they look at the work - their joy. That is what I consider a crowning achievement.

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
Really big? I would love to be able to buy a small equestrian farm, with a studio hidden in there somewhere. I could then blissfully indulge in my two biggest passions - horses and art.
"Eugene's Rose" 13" x 9" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
It is trite but true - make art that you love. And always be conscious of improving your eye, your hand, your skills.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
I always tend to be a bit cautious with color intensity. I still remember, in one series of classes I took, the instructor always commenting “Darker ... darker”.
"Old Boots" 10" x 12" watercolor by Kathryn Ragan

Chocolate or vanilla?

Your dream vacation spot?

Book or movie?

Favorite author?
Can’t say - I am a voracious reader, fiction and non-fiction

Favorite movie?
Another hard question - probably “Dr. Strangelove, or How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”

Romance or comedy?

Favorite dessert?
Ice cream, with chocolate chunks and nuts and ...

Night owl or morning person?
Morning definitely

Thank you so much Kathryn:)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Still a work in progress:)

Work In Progress 16 x 20 watercolor on paper by Carrie Waller
Oh, am I ever the optimist.  I kept putting off posting my painting today, ever hopeful that I would have it complete.  But, it's not quite there.  So here is my work in progress for today.  Sooooo close:)

Funny story, while out driving today I passed a car and I thought boy does that car look familiar.  It looked just like one of the Hot Wheels I just painted:))


Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Feature: Frank Eber

"Donaufahrt" original watercolor by Frank Eber
Hi Everyone,  Hope you had a great night of trick or treating last night:)  We had one sick kiddo but managed to make it out for a bit.  It's NOVEMBER, crazy!!!!!!  Here's a little inspiration to start your month off right:)

  Frank Eber is a young, up-and-coming watercolor artist who paints uniquely fresh and atmospheric watercolors that possess a dreamy quality. He is known for his loose and magical plein air work. He is a Signature member of theNational Watercolor Society and has won awards in many international shows. Frank's painting Dordogne River Valley View, 2011, was awarded the Alden Bryan Memorial Medal at the prestigious American Watercolor Society's 2012 Annual Exhibition in New York City, and is currently in the Travel Show. His work is featured in the October/November 2012 issue of International Artistmagazine, the June 2012 issue of Watercolor Artist magazine, Splash 14: Light and Color! (North Light Books, 2013) and on the cover of the Palos Verdes Art Center Fall classes and Daniel Smith 2012 Summer catalogs.

Frank grew up in Europe and was mentored by Italian master painter Renato Casaro in the early '90s. His work is currently exhibited in local as well as national shows and he currently serves as the 2nd Vice President (Traveling Exhibit) on the board of the National Watercolor Society. His love of travel has given him prime opportunities to paint: he lived for two years in the south of France, and has painted on location in Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and the Czech Republic.

Frank is happily married and lives in Redondo Beach, California.

To see more of his work visit his website and blog 
"Les Toits" original watercolor by Frank Eber
 How did you get your start?  What your artistic journey so far?

 My artistic journey began in early childhood. Drawing and painting was always part of my life. But I never pursued a carreer in fine art. Instead I became a professional illustrator in the field of video cover sleeve design in the early nineties. Later I pursued a career in Faux finishing. I haven't discovered watercolor until about ten year's ago.
Also in the nineties, I was fortunate to have studied with Renato Casaro in Munich. He is an Italian master painter who became famous in Europe for his painted movie posters. I did a painting apprenticeship and we worked both in oils and gouache. Other than that, I have no formal art training.

Where were you born?

I was born in Nuremberg, in the state of Bavaria, Germany - Albrecht Duerer is from the same city!

"Santa Cruz Church" original watercolor by Frank Eber
 If you could live anywhere where would you live?

I think I would move back to the south of France where I've lived for three years in the past. I might still do it!

 What is your favorite thing to paint?
 I can't decide! I like painting streets scenes plein air. It's such a formidable challenge and a great teacher! I love painting bucolic scenes with cows and farms, maybe because I grew up around them.

"Satrocesk Trdlo" original watercolor by Frank Eber
 Could you discuss your painting techniques?

 All my paintings are two or three wash paintings. I usually start with the sky and foreground establishing mood and value. I use big squirrel mops that hold lots of water. My paintings are painted loosely and with focus on an
atmospheric feel. I try not to have too many hard edges, so I paint mostly wet on wet and wet on damp.

 What are your go to paint colors?

 Go-to paints are definitely Cobalt blue, ultramarine violet, orange and turquoise, Daniel Smith is great, so is Holbein and Schmincke.
"Cow Pasture, Northern California" original watercolor by Frank Eber
 Do you have a favorite artist? Who are your painting inspirations?

Renato Casaro. Joseph Zbukvic is one of my biggest inspiration when it comes to watercolor painting. Also, Christopher St. Leger, Robert Wade and Charles Reid

What have been some of your crowning achievements?

"Three's A Crowd" original watercolor by Frank Eber
Winning one of the major awards at the American Watercolor Society in NYC this year. Becoming a signature member of the National Watercolor Society in 2010. Having a painting accepted at the Shanghai Biennial.
Being featured in both Watercolor Artist's magazine and International Artist without paying to be in there.

What five things would you love to see happen in the next five years?  Dream big here:)

I'd like to become a better painter. On the materialistic side: a *real* studio with lots of space. I'd like to become a household name in the watercolor world! That's dreaming big, right?
You said five, so I'll say the first sentence two more times! :) To me, that's the most important thing in the world!

"Total Concentration" original watercolor by Frank Eber
  What advice do you have for artists just getting their start?

Keep it real, work hard on your craft. Find a niche. Paint outstanding paintings and you'll get recognized. Compare yourself to the elite in your genre and brutaly, honestly assess where you are. Don't ask you family to critique your paintings.

"Vienna Calling" original watercolor by Frank Eber
 What has been the best advice you've received as an artist?

"Make it about the paintings, everything else is secondary"
"Wilder Ranch" original watercolor by Frank Eber
Speed Round:

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Dream vacation spot?
 New Zealand

Book or movie?
 book -

Favorite Author?
 Raymond Chandler

Favorite Movie?
 Run Lola Run

 Romance or Comedy

Favorite Dessert? 
fresh goat cheese (in France)

Morning person or Night Owl? 
night owl

Frank, Thank you so much!  Your work is oustanding!