Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Living in Norman Rockwell's world December 2014 Newsletter

When I was a child, I was fascinated with two artists: Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney. Interestingly, the art community has never held them in high regard. On the Disney side, my love came the day my hat-designer aunt handed me a book on creating cartoons. I was nine years old and learned that I could occupy myself for hours just by putting pencil to paper. On the Rockwell side, I was intrigued not only by the mastery of the artist’s hand, but by the stories each painting told. 

I remember pouring over Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post pictures. For years, critics have complained about him because of his silly, syrupy presentation of an America that never was. As a child I couldn’t care less. What mattered to me was his visual characters, especially the kids and the story being told without a single, written word. I still remember one of my favorites, although it was created when I was only a toddler, called The Girl with a Black Eye, 1954.

You see, I was a tom-boy and got into trouble when I was ten or so. My brothers needed a protector, at least I thought so. I wasn't going to let anyone mess around with them without answering to me first. So of course, I identified with this girl, sitting outside the principal’s office. I also remember those wooden benches, the green filing cabinet, the hairstyle and dress of the school adults and especially the clothes the girl is wearing. It spoke to me, and that was Norman Rockwell’s magic. He may never be regarded as a fine artist (although today he is being appreciated more), but for me and many others, he was a GREAT artist. That’s why I’ve chosen Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) as my first in a series of articles on American artists.

Born at the tail end of the 19th century in 1894, Rockwell entered our world as the second Rockwell son “in a back bedroom of a shabby brownstone,” on New York’s Upper West Side. A major depression, called the Panic of 1893, was underway, and the city was hit hard (by 1900, two-thirds of the city’s population would be living in tenements, or 2.3 million people). While his father, Waring, held a job at a textile company, times weren’t great for this family of four. For several years they moved, going from one cramped apartment to the next.  The city would always cause Rockwell some angst as he witnessed a lot of unpleasantries as a youngster. The family would vacation in Vermont, where he and his brother, Jarvis, would enjoy open countryside. He really loved it as he remarked in his memoir, 

“In the city we kids delighted to go up on the roof of our apartment house and spit down on the passers-by in the street below. But we never did things like that in the country. The clean air, the green fields, the thousand and one things to do … got somehow into us and changed our personalities as much as the sun changed the color of our skins.

“Maybe as I grew up and found that the world wasn’t the perfectly pleasant place I had thought it to be I unconsciously decided that, even if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be and so painted only the ideal aspects of it—pictures in which there were no drunken slatterns or self-centered mothers, in which, on the contrary, there were only Foxy Grandpas who played baseball with the kids and boys [who] fished from logs and got up circuses in the back yard.… The summers I spent in the country as a child became part of this idealized view of life. Those summers seemed blissful, sort of a happy dream. But I wasn’t a country boy, I didn’t really live that kind of life. Except later on in my paintings.”

By the time he was 12, the family finally moved from the city to the suburb of Mamaroneck, NY. Things began to change. Early on, he had an artistic bent, even drawing characters and events from memory. So it’s not surprising that within one year of moving, he would decide to become an illustrator. He quit school and studied full time at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League in NYC. 

In 1911, at seventeen, he illustrated his first children’s book: Tell Me Why Stories. These illustrations led to other opportunities including the official Boy Scout magazine, Boy’s Life. For five years he drew exclusively kids. The viewpoint was from their perspective: trials of trying to grow up in a grown-up world. He did remarkably well—so much so that by the time he was 18, he was named art director for Boy’s Life. His career was off sailing. He states in his book The Norman Rockwell Album, that from 1912 to 1915, “I was up to my neck in illustrations for young people’s magazines. Besides, Boy’s Life, he also published in several other magazines.

But his biggest break of all came when the Saturday Evening Post accepted one of his cover illustrations. He left his salaried job at Boy’s Life (though maintaining a working relationship for 67 years) and began his 47-year tenure with the Post.

Rockwell was a prolific illustrator. In his lifetime he created over 4,000 original pieces, 322 covers to the Post and 200 covers for others. In his spare time, he was also commissioned to do portraits of the very famous, advertisements, calendars and other projects. He married three times (all teachers), had three boys, worked from sun up to sun down everyday and according to his son, Peter, never took vacations. He was what we call a workaholic. 

To give you an example, Rockwell explained in the book, How I Make a Picture, published in 1949, how complicated his working method was:

  • Brainstorm: sometimes would take days, while he locked himself alone in his room
  • Rough pencil sketches: working out all the kinks
  • Hire the models: he had to have the perfect person for the “part”
  • Secure the costumes and props
  • Explain to the models how to pose, even playing the part himself to demonstrate
  • Direct the photographer when, where, how and what to shoot
  • Create a full detailed sketch (from photograph[s])
  • Develop a color sketch
  • Create the final painting

Nothing was ever left to chance. He had it all laid out in his sketch and then moved forward to find the right models, costumes and props—even shipping in what he couldn’t find in his fully-loaded closet.

Rockwell preferred to use ordinary people:  neighbors, townspeople, even his sons over professional models. He talks about one boy, probably Billy Payne, who he used in his early years. The boy just couldn’t sit still, so Rockwell paid him 25 cents for every half hour he stopped squirming. I can certainly understand the difficulty. I had a hard time sitting still as a youngster (still do). He also had difficulty with people keeping the same facial expression. I don’t think I could hold a surprised look for too long either. It was about this time that he decided to use photography as a tool. The camera could capture that perfect moment.

Rockwell’s elaborate setups are legendary. In the book, Norman Rockwell Behind the Camera, the author Ron Schick shares Norman’s fascinating ability at staging and direction. For instance, to simulate walking, he’d put books under the models’ shoes or tape up clothing to give the impression of a windblown affect.

Not all of Norman’s paintings were set up in one fell swoop. He would stage one scene or a part of one scene and then use another to fill in the background or miscellaneous props. Saying Grace (below), one of his most popular, was originally planned for Manhattan overlooking Times Square, but instead he moved the “concept” to a train station. The models were photographed separately in the studio, seated at tables and chairs from the Horn & Hardart Automat (a long-lost cafeteria where you would buy your food through coin-operated boxes). The background, a railroad yard, was photographed separately. By the way, the elderly model didn’t live to see herself on the Post cover.

At this point I must admit that I was sorely disappointed when I found out that Rockwell used photographs. I had always wondered how he created such life-like characters. He was a wizard to me. But as I've read more and more about his methods and his commitment to authenticity, I've come to admire his style. His attention to detail and his craft are brilliant and most definitely inspirational.

In the end though, Norman Rockwell was a storyteller, sharing a world with us that he wanted, he visualized (true or not). Even in pictures where things go on that some of us never experience, we can still get the message. For example, in his series: Four Freedoms*, Rockwell used a Thanksgiving dinner to describe, Freedom from Want

I have never experienced this type of Thanksgiving scene in my life—even as an adult. Nor did Rockwell. His family lived in boarding houses after they moved to Mamaroneck, because his hypochondriac mother lost interest in keeping house. So as you can see in this picture, this was the life, the dinner he hoped for. And even though I haven’t experienced this in my lifetime, the painting still brings me joy. For the same reason, I don’t have to be in the midst of mountains to enjoy an Ansel Adam’s photograph. 

Rockwell was clearly a talented director as well. He was able to come up with the visual idea, illustrate the story and then execute it by directing the models, the scenery and the photographers (he worked with several over the years). Then after all that, he painted the idea!

Here are some examples of his setups and resulting paintings. 

The Art Critic
Rockwell would rework and rework until he was happy, well sort of. One example is The Art Critic, 1955. He talked about how he sketched the gal in the painting at least 20 times and asked everyone who came in to visit for suggestions. The Art Critic is one of Rockwell’s funniest painting, but obviously one that took far more time than anyone could imagine. Below notice all the attempts he has stacked against the wall. 

After his second wife died at the early age of 51, Rockwell, married again a couple of years later. The third Mrs. Rockwell was a retired teacher as well as a liberal and social activist. She encouraged him to leave the Post because they did not want people of color to be seen on their magazine covers as anything but servants. He moved over to Look, a competitor that had more of a political bent. Here is where Rockwell told the national secret of racism.

The Problem We All Live With,1964
In November of 1960, six -year old Ruby Bridges, was escorted by four U.S. Marshals to William Frantz Elementary School, an all-white school in New Orleans.  

Rockwell cropped this painting in such a way that all the emphasis is on Ruby. Dressed in white with supplies in hand, she demonstrates her bravery. She was the only black child to enter this school by court-ordered desegregation.  The escort was a result of threats she received. Rockwell does a great job of creating tension on canvas with the graffiti  and tomato splattered on the wall.

Former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, "She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we're all very very proud of her.” 

One more note on the painting: Notice above the boards used by the models to replicate walking. You can also tell how the artist took a little bit from each gal to create his final Ruby.

Triple Self-Portrait, 1960 To reiterate the point that Rockwell wanted us to see what he wanted to see, notice the image in the mirror in Triple Self-Portrait, 1960, doesn’t necessarily translate  over to the painting. Instead we’re viewing his idealized self.

With all the research and wonderful background material I’ve collected on Rockwell’s paintings, I could go on forever. He is a thoroughly fascinating artist. But for now I must end. If you want to learn more, you may try the websites and/or books listed below: 


The Norman Rockwell Album by Norman Rockwell

What’s ahead for 2015!
Weekly Classes at Glastonbury Studios
Drawing • Sketching • Acrylic Painting.

Workshops at Glastonbury Studios
Watercolor I & II • Beginning Acrylics

Workshops at Portland Community College
Basic Drawing • Drawing Cats • Travel Sketching • Drawing Flowers

2015 Sketch’n on the Go™Workshop 
Mediterranean Sketching Workshop
7-Night France, Italy & Malta Cruise
April 26 to May 3, 2015
See trip blog for details.

Happy Holidays and Best wishes for 2015.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is Tracing Ever a Good Idea—It depends. November 2014 Newsletter

I've been reading about American illustrators recently. While the Impressionists and post-Impressionists were making headlines in France (and later in the U.S.), there was something equally exciting going on here in the States. It was called the Golden Age of Illustration, although at the time it wasn't called that. Instead it was a boon for illustrations in books and magazines in order to meet the “new” mass circulation. The whole concept was brought on because of the advancement of high-speed presses, cheaper papers and photographic innovations, including line-engraving and half-tones. And the best news of all was that publishers were willing to pay more for illustrations.

It’s interesting to note that fine art and illustration were not considered separate entities back then. An illustrator who created for a magazine, such as Winslow Homer for Harper’s Weekly, was considered the same type of artist as an easel artist. It wasn't until the next century in the 20s and 30s that a schism occurred.  Illustrators became commercial artists and easel painters were considered the fine art artists. I’ll be covering more on this topic in another post.

What intrigued me about the artists of the 1850s and onward was how they embraced the camera. Many of them considered it just another tool and many used the new invention here in the States as well as in Europe. Here’s a short list with some examples below:
  • Fredric Remington
  • Winslow Homer
  • N.C. Wyeth
  • Toulouse Lautrec
  • Edgar Degas
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Paul Cezanne
Toulouse Lautrec Poster

Edgar Degas Dancers

Cezanne The Large Bather

In later years, illustrators would welcome photography as a tool even more with Norman Rockwell leading the way serving as a director in his photo shoots and then tracing the photograph to create his paintings.

Why trace when you can certainly draw?
I spoke with an illustrator not long ago and posed the same question. He is an excellent artist who could draw circles around what I do—in his sleep. So why trace? He said it succinctly, “Time is money.” When you are under a deadline like so many of these illustrators are, they really don’t have time or even the money to hire a professional model and spend hours putting down on canvas what can be translated from a photograph in a matter of minutes. Rockwell used to hire neighborhood kids, neighbors and friends to pose for him. What’s more, if you want expression (like a goofy or surprised face) or a running/walking motion, an artist can’t expect the model to hold the contortion for an hour or two. It’s difficult. Notice that art before the camera isn’t quite as action-packed as illustrations or comics are today.

Tracing is the easy part, finishing the project is harder than you think
Years ago I was in a painting class that everyone projected their photos onto watercolor paper. I never used it because I was a “purist.” Okay, I was stuffy. I wanted my paintings to be fresh from my hand, not stilted from a camera. I continue to believe that if not done properly and with a good drawing ability, paintings created from tracing do look somewhat off. But that’s the key—the ability to draw. I can look at a Rockwell painting and even with the knowledge it’s been traced, I’m still awe struck.

Take for instance, The Perfect Prom Date, listed below. Yes it was all staged by Rockwell, but if you look closely at the end result, he’s added his own style, more props, more people and certainly his own color. All his photos were done in black and white. Moreover the people are not exactly the same in the photo as in the painting. Rockwell had this incredible talent for drawing the same subject three or four times and each would look like a different person.

After reading about how these illustrators used photography to aid them (yes, I've used reference photos for years), I pulled out my handy Pico projector and decided to do some tracing myself. Fortunately, my Pico is a hand-held projector so I didn't have too much to do to get the project going. I plugged in a photo of Bette Davis and traced it onto some drawing paper. I was astonished at how hard it was to add the values and all the detail after tracing. Below is the photo and the drawing. Half of it is the traced side; the other is the “drawing.” I added the darker lines so that you can see the outline.

It was harder than I thought and this was just a 15-minute study. All I really had were the lines, the outline of the face. I had to put in the rest. As you can see, I still have a long way to go in order to capture Bette in the drawing. I’m just amazed that Rockwell was able to put color to this as well.


Tracing can be a learning tool.
Tracing can be a learning tool as well. In fact, the idea of using tracing dates back to the 15th century or earlier. A book by Cennin Cennini, c.1437, entitled The Craftsman’s Handbook (Il Libro dell’Art) gives instructions on how to learn about drawing by tracing.

“Chapter XXIII
How you may obtain the essence of a good figure or drawing the tracing paper.
You should be aware that there is also a paper known as tracing paper which may be very useful to you. To copy a head, or a figure, or a half figure, you can find it attractive, by the hand of the great masters, and to get the outlines right, from paper, panel or wall, which you want to take right off, put this tracing paper over the figure or drawing, fastening it nicely at the four corners with a little red or green wax…. Then take either a pet cut quite fine or a fine brush…and you may process to pick out with the ink the outlines and accents of the drawing underneath….”

Author and painter Gregory Manchess wrote the article, 10 Things to Remember…About Tracing, where he explores the different things you can learn by using tracing paper. One point he makes is tracing a foreshortened object, such a flower or finger. It’s one of the hardest things to capture in drawing and/or painting. But if you take a piece of vellum and trace the object, it helps to see the problem. Sometimes we have to do things to help us really see. Three other points he made that ring true to me:

It helps the memory. About a year ago, I included a video in one of my posts where we saw how John Ruskin used tracing to see how far off he was when drawing a leaf. The same is true for helping you to memorize, such as in anatomy.  If I go over the same object many times, I don’t need to trace it anymore. My muscle memory takes over.

Draw for shape, not detail.
As much as I can see with my projector, I found that just including the lines and shapes were much easier and gave me more liberty to finish the drawing in my style—not the camera’s.

Use it as a guide.
When tracing Bette above, I again kept my tracing simple, as a guide to help me with the subtle facial positioning.  

I know you are probably wondering if I’m smoking something these days (I’m not). How can I back up tracing? Like I said in the title, it depends. That is, it depends on the project at hand, is it a commission that must be perfect, is it a learning possibility, is it a way to see something you haven’t seen before or is it because you just don’t want to be bothered learning to draw. Of course, the latter doesn’t help you that much. It’s better to come to one my classes or workshops to learn how to draw and use tracing to help you perfect it (okay, I couldn't resist that one itsy-bitsy commercial).

For the next few months I am going to be covering the lives and art of American artists, beginning with more on Norman Rockwell. It seems we never spend enough time learning about our own.  

In loving memory
Maria Goodell
1972 to 2014

 What's ahead for 2015
See website for details on workshops and classes 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Contemporary art sometime escapes me!--October 2014 newsletter

I'm sorry to say that sometimes contemporary art escapes me. Almost always if I can get an explanation of what I'm viewing, it usually makes sense. Unfortunately, in museums, magazines or even on the Internet you don't always get the straight scoop. This leads me to the question: "How am I supposed to appreciate a straight red line running down the middle of a canvas?" Why is this more important than our children's work in first grade?

There is a great article in Aristos, an online review magazine, by Michelle Marder Kamhi entitled, Understanding Contemporary Art. It is the first article I have ever read that seriously covers the inability to understand what's called today's art. When it comes to this subject, I am truly lacking in understanding. I really do wish I could go on and on about what some of this "art form" means, but I usually don't get it. And it appears I'm not alone. According to Kamhi, the ordinary person (that's me!) doesn't either. What's more, many of the artists have no intention of expecting us to know what their art is about. Kamhi says, 
"Despite the abstractionists' lofty intentions, their work is incomprehensible to the poor viewer .... We cannot begin to guess their intended meaning just from looking at their work. We know it only from their theoretical writing--the equivalent, in effect, of today's artists' statements."
For example, let's consider Marcel Duchamp's (1887-1966) Fountain, 1917. I first noticed it at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in San Francisco. Okay, I am going to share my ignorance here. I was struck by its lack of "art." Design itself didn't even save it. After all, it's a urinal! What's with that?

The good news is that we are living in an age where you can get a lot of what you need from the Internet (or as my husband likes to call it the little black box--the laptop).That's where I learned that this urinal was actually a statement by Duchamp. According to the Tate Museum in London, England, another modern art museum, 
"Fountain is an example of what Duchamp called a 'readymade,' an ordinary manufactured object designated by the artist as a work of art. It epitomizes the assault on convention and good taste for which he and the Dada movement are best known."
What he did was to turn the urinal upside down and signed it Mutt, 1917. Later in an article, an author, some believe to be Duchamp, claims the following:
"Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view - creating a new thought for that object."
Therefore in essence, if I choose to hang a set of keys from the lamppost in front of my house, I, the artist, have chosen it and thus it is art. This is where I get lost and so do others. When I go to an art gallery, I expect to be told a story--not have to stand there wondering what a blue square on white background means to:  me, the artist or whomever? Instead, most of us just shrug our shoulders and move on.

Sometimes, I think it's got to be a joke. Take for instance, Yves Klein's (1928-1962) The Void shown at Iris Clert Gallery in 1958. He took everything out of the gallery except for a cabinet that he painted white. Three thousand people waited to enter the empty room. It was a show of nothing. Why can't I have a show about nothing for 3,000 people??? Here's what Klein said,
"Recently my work with color has led me, in spite of myself, to search little by little, with some assistance (from the observer, from the translator), for the realization of matter, and I have decided to end the battle. My paintings are now invisible and I would like to show them in a clear and positive manner...."
Believe me, I get Picasso and Matisse. Perhaps I have to know a little bit of what they are trying to say, but they are at least saying something! They are at least showing something!

Another artist I don't get is Piero Manzoni (1933-1963), especially his Merda d'artista (Artist's Shit). I kid you not, Manzoni canned 90 cans of his excrement in 1961 and was able to display the "work" at a gallery! In 2007, Sotheby's sold one of the tins for €124,000 or over $160,000 and in 2008, tin 083 sold for £97,250 or $158,000. Are we pretending to ignore the Emperor's clothing here? Why in the world would anyone pay good money for a piece of @%$#.

Interestingly, Kamhi notes that some of the artists who participate in non-objective art, installation art, readymades, spot painting (Damien Hirst) and so on, don't have a formal art education and some don't even know how to draw. She states:
"An entire generation of would-be artists like Hirst have graduated from art schools here and abroad with little or no real art instruction. Contemporary museums and galleries are filled with their videos, photography, and installation pieces, while ignoring the work of contemporary artists who adhere to the traditional media of painting and sculpture and who have attained the skills needed to achieve value in those forms."
And I guess her last statement is most important to me. We as artists struggle to create something from inside us. Yes,we may use a vase and some flowers to accomplish this, and for that we go unrecognized. Cezanne's fruit would rot before he would complete his paintings. And within today's terms, he would most likely be considered too traditional, too representational, too trite. 

In the end, if there were design, some substance; some real sense of thought and perseverance, no assistants painting the spots for the artist, and especially thinking much more out of the box than trying to can one's own bodily waste,  I'd probably stand behind all these works and say, "Yes, we have the right choose our form of art." But instead what I see is great marketing techniques, good salesmanship and a whole lot of--well, you know. 

I'll stick with my love of line, shape, form and color. I will never be in MOMA, Tate or for that matter any museum. I'm happy to submit my work to the occasional art show and teach art to my wonderful students.  I'm glad for that because I would have a real hard time trying to create nothing and expecting accolades for it.

For classes and workshops go to website: www.jillgoodell.com

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August Newsletter: Brusho product review & free video

While I was at an art show in England, I ran across a painting done in watercolor (or at least I thought it was watercolor) with a technique I have never seen before. It was lovely. Fortunately, the artist, Nadine Gould, was there and she was kind enough to tell me that her painting was created with Brusho®. It’s a water media product manufactured in Sheffield,England by the company Colourcraft C &A LTD. 

When I got home, I found the product on dickblick.com—12 colors for $22. Recently  I have learned I can buy the product directly, along with an ebook (which I bought) and a DVD from Colourcraft's website. Just google Brusho and you’ll find the company.

So what’s so amazing about this product? For one thing, it’s totally made up of powder. It reminds me of the type of stuff artists used before painting tubes were invented, but these are made out of highly pigmented ink powder.  And when they say highly pigmented they are right. Just a few sprinkles of the stuff and you have brilliant color.

While technically Brusho® is a water-based medium, it behaves very much like watercolor from basic washes to lovely glazes.  What makes it unique though is the powder—you sprinkle it on your paper, spritz it with your spray bottle and bam! you have a blaze of color.

The starter kit comes in a box with 12 small containers inside. At first, I was a bit perplexed about what to do. Unfortunately, the box I received had no instructions in it. So I goggled (don't you just love it) the name with video and found this link:  http://youtu.be/nSiiZLH0678  It's a great little film created by Joanne Boon Thomas, an accomplished artist, where she demonstrates how to use the powder. 
Here’s what I learned:
  1. The small containers should not be opened, although I did so with one immediately. Instead, pop a pen or sharp pointy object into the top, which will make the container a shaker.
  2. You can shake the color out on your palette, add water and create a mixture of brilliant color similar to other painting media.
  3. You can sprinkle the powder directly onto the paper (dry or wet) to create interesting effects.
  4. You can use Brusho® as an ink wash, remember though that the medium is water-soluble.
  5. You can also use it on fabrics, paper mache, collages, plus more!

Of course with every medium you do need to take some safeguards. For instance, the colors stain, so wear an apron or old clothing when working with the stuff. Keep the powder away from moisture and wind. I wouldn't recommend it for plein air painting. The powder is delicate and can blow away or cake up from moisture. Also I’d work on a flat, protected surface. I started working with the powder on my slanted drawing board and that created somewhat of a mess.

So how does it work?
It simply is amazing. Here's one of the many paintings I created with Brusho®.

Above, I sprinkled the powder onto the paper and then used it as paint. I also used wax as a resist for the highlights. Every painting will be different from the other. That's what is fun about this product.

Open the box
When you first open the box you will find 12 little containers. Here I have them in the box again. 

You probably can understand my bewilderment when opening the box and seeing these white little plastic jars. I've been used to paint tubes and cakes. Yes, I did buy this sight unseen. Look at the picture again and you'll notice the little holes in each top. That's how you get the powder out. They don't recommend opening it up. Of course, that's the first thing I did--no instructions and to my amazement, there was a pile of powder. That's when I knew I had to go online to see what I bought.

This is emerald green. I know it looks nothing like it,
but once you add water, you see all sorts of colors (including yellow)
that mixes together to form a lovely green. 
Once I got over the initial confusion and learned about what was in my hands, I couldn't wait to try it myself. To help me know what pigment I have though, I created my own color swatches (I know, I can get a bit over-organized at times) and taped swatches to each container. In this way, I can keep track of what's in each container. 

My color chart of what's inside the Brusho® box. 

Here are the containers with my color swatches taped to the back.
Notice the holes pierced on the caps. I created those using a stick pen.
Shake and Paint
While you can dip your wet brush into an opened container, it's not recommended. I did dip my brush just for grins and I found the mixture to be more lumpier than when you shake it. Besides, I can see that adding moisture could be a problem down the road. I can use so much less by shaking the pigment out and getting the same results. The company claims that one box will last you years.

I've elected to use my large ceramic palette so that I can shake the pigment out by gently hitting the container against the side to get the granules out. It only takes a few--believe me.

Here I gently hit the side of my palette to get the pigment out. I feel like
I have more control by doing this as opposed to just shaking it free-hand.

This is what comes out. I could add more, but I don't need to.
As I've said before, you only need a little--it goes a long way. I just add water and miraculously, there lots of paint.

Of course, I can add more pigment and more water to
get loads of paint for large projects. I can see why schools use this stuff.
Below, this is what it looks like when the paint dries. All you have to do is add more water and your paint is back!

Here's ultra marine in its dry state.
I've added water and the paint is back!
What's it like on paper?
Of course, I use 100% cotton watercolor paper and the Brusho® product takes to it perfectly. And what I like best of all is that the colors stay brilliant. One of the issues I have with watercolor is that I put a wonderful color down and once it dries, it's too light-- sometimes not even close to the original color on the palette. 

The product also works well with ink. It's simple. Here's how I developed these cherries:

I drew the cherries.

Because the powder is sprinkled onto the picture,
I use a wax resist to preserve the whites.

I sprinkled some scarlet color crystals on the paper.

I spritzed with my spray bottle.  
Then, put my brush to paper to paint the inside of the cherries.

I shake some red and purple into my porcelain palette.
 I then mix to get a deep cherry color. I
 then apply to the cherries while still wet.

Let dry.
After the painting is dry. I add purple for shadow effect. 
I'm going to leave the rest alone. 

Let dry.

Now it's time to add some pen. I'm using a 
#08, Micron pen here.

But that's not all! By using a piece of paper as a
mask, you can add more pigment around the 
cherries to liven up the piece.

I continue to add pigment and spritz all around the picture, 
occasionally putting my brush to paper to spread things around a bit.
And here's the result...

If you are taking one of my beginning watercolor workshops this summer or fall, you'll be able to enjoy a live demonstration of this fantastic medium. Below see my latest video. It's different than the one shown above. Enjoy!

For classes and workshops go to website: www.jillgoodell.com

Thursday, June 26, 2014

July 2014 My inspiration and an Art Shop

Fourteen years ago, my family and I lived in England. Since I didn't have a work permit, I had to put my ad business on hiatus until we returned to the States. This was the first time I had not worked since the age of 15. It was a little bit weird at first, although I sort of enjoyed the lack of pressures and stress. In time though, Alex, our 12-year-old son, and I got bored. We needed something to do. We were walking every Wednesday with our neighbor. Of course we read, shopped and traveled as much as we could to other villages and towns. But we needed more.
A visit to a small art shop
One day while visiting in a nearby market town, I ran across a small art shop. I'm talking really, really small. On one of the few shelves, gracing their walls was a book, entitled, The Right Way to Draw by Mark Linley. I hadn't done any real drawing for years. In fact, most of my advertising work was designing and writing copy. The computer age had tossed me into creating in front of a screen, either designing/writing ads or creating websites. My pencils, pens and brushes were gathering dust along with my other graphic tools. 

Big things can happen from small acts
Does anyone ever know when one small act can change an entire life? That's what happened when I purchased this book. I spent less than ten dollars that day, without knowing how rich I would become (not necessarily monetarily) in the years ahead.

I took the book home. Alex and I poured over it and we began to following the author's instructions. Inspiration abound. I bought some real art pencils and a sketchbook. Alex was so interested in getting back to doing something with his hands, he opted to start putting model cars and airplanes together. We even bought a small table and tried to make the garage into our "art studio." Unfortunately, it was too dark, so we did a lot of our work outside, when it wasn't raining.

Your life can change when you least expect it
This is where it all started!
Picking up the pencil again to create art was life changing for me. To be honest I didn't
even know if I could draw. For years I had handed off my sketches and designs to illustrators. So putting pencil to paper in order to create life-like or somewhat realistic work was hard for me to fathom. Secretly, I believed what I had been taught in my college art classes: only the talented can draw!

Of course my drawings were primitive in the beginning. But most importantly, I liked doing it! I would set upon a subject and the time would fly by. Every worry or concern melted away while I added line here and shadow there. I eventually bought Linley's other books The Right Way to Draw Landscapes and The Right Way to Draw Flowers. I still own them today and all three are yellowing with age.

All three of these books are simple both the text as well as the examples. There's nothing elaborate at all inside. But the key was his first chapter in the original book, entitled, You Can Learn to Draw. He goes on to explain that we should all expect mistakes, be willing to learn a new skill, have the courage to think positive, be patient and use the right materials.

Drawing is a skill
From this small book purchased in an ever so small art stop in England, I began to draw. I did so every day (I still do) for the last 14 years. It was hard in the beginning and yes! I made lots of mistakes. What I learned though is that drawing is a skill that can be learned just like tennis or piano. It's take commitment. The difference between someone who can draw and someone who can’t isn’t talent at all. It’s being willing to work at it through trial and error, through practice. There’s no magic pill. You put the time in, you get results!

As most of you know, the rest is history. I returned home and took out every book I could find in the library on drawing. I signed up for drawing and painting classes. I started to create a small library of my own art books--really treasurers sheathe between two covers. And while I've been in art commercially since I was 18 years old, I eventually left that behind to begin a whole new world in fine arts--and I've never looked back. I've been given the rare opportunity to share my knowledge and skill to others through my classes and workshops. And I have Mark Linley and that small art shop to thank. Without them, the whole story would have been different.

What's coming up?
Summer Art Fun
PCC Sylvania Campus
Saturday One-Day Workshops

Drawing with Colored Pencil
Saturday, July 12 · 10 am to 4 pm

Drawing with Pen and Ink
Saturday, July 26 · 10 am to 4 pm
Call to register: 971-722-6266

Glastonbury Studios
Sketch’n on the Go™ 
Wednesday Outings
July 9--Mountainside Lavender Farm, Scholls
July 23--Red Ridge Farm, Dayton (nr. Dundee) 
10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Fee $25 per outing
To register and for more details email: jjgoodell@gmail.com
Second Sunday Visual Journaling
Sunday, July 13 · 1 pm to 4 pm
(no class in August)
Now taking registration applications 
for Fall classes 2014
Tuesday evenings 7-9 Drawing 
Wednesday mornings 10 to 12:30 Sketching
Thursday evenings 6:30 to 9 Intermediate Acrylic Painting
To register email: jjgoodell@gmail.com

First come, first served. Payment guarantees placement.

2015 Sketch’n on the Go™ Workshop
Mediterranean Sketching Workshop, Part II

7-Night France, Italy & Malta Cruise
April 26 to May 3, 2015
See website for details: http://sketchingthemediterranean.blogspot.com/
Check this out:
Cruise line is now offering buy one passage, get second half off until July 15th

Added by popular demand
In-studio Beginning Watercolor Workshop
Saturday, October 18
10 am to 4 pm
Tigard Studio
All supplies provided, including lunch
Pre-registration required. Payment reserves your seat.
To register email: jjgoodell@gmail.com