Monday, May 31, 2010

Wednesday Sketch Evening June 2 at 6:30PM - BYOC

Although the weather is calling for 81 and no rain, anything can change between now and Wednesday. And if it cools off like it's doing now, being by the water could very well be like April.

So let's meet in Sayville around the Starbuck's. If it's cool we can warm ourselves with Java and if it's warm, we can pop into Ralphs's for some water ice.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wednesday Sketch Evening May 26 at 6:30PM - BYOC

It's supposed to be a nice warm evening. Let's meet at the little park on South Ocean and Terry Street. It's just off Main street and there's a Church right across the street. There's some park benches but you might want to bring your own chair.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wednesday Sketch Evening May 19 at 6:30PM - BYOC

Our next outing will be in Susan's Garden on 62 Pine Neck Ave in Patchogue.

The rainy day spot will be the River's Edge Studio on River Road in Patchogue, shares the same space as the Tiki Bar.

Bring Your Own Chairs (BYOC) for both locations as seating is a premium.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tonight's sketch evening was....

nice. Because the weather was drizzly, we sketched in the Sayville Starbuck's and it was a very nice Starbucks, too. Plenty of seating.

Susan brought a great book about color theory to show us called Blue and Yellow don't make Green by Michael Wilcox. Being the savvy IPhone user, I found it up on the Northlight site. (thank you Susan!!!)

Here's the link ( I hope it works)

It's $13.50!

If the link doesn't work, go to and do a search on Michael Wilcox. If you spend $25, the shipping is free. Their prices are pretty good.

Also, on the discussion of color, there's a great site out there that belongs to artist Bruce MacEvoy, who is spending a lot of time rating watercolors. He's testing them for lightfastness and other qualities, sort of like a Consumer Reports for tubes of watercolor. It's a useful reference for pigment identifications too. I've actually used his site when buying certain pigments I am looking for to ensure the manufacturer I was researching was selling the real pigment and not a cheap substitute. It's a pretty good site and he dedicates a lot of time in between painting for this research. His link is:

I was so impressed with his research that I had to email him to thank him!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A veil of tears

For those of you who get the Painters Keys Bi-weekly newsletter from Robert Genn, you would have read today about an artist who gets so emotional when she paints portraits, it reduces her to tears. Some folks get emotional with painting a beautiful scene or painting something that triggers a memory. Listening to music in the studio while you paint can trigger an emotional memory.

Artists are a sensitive group, I think we dig down deeper into ourselves than most people. Robert says that for those of us who can cry, be proud because it shows our humanity.

There are a few things from Robert's bi-weekly newsletter that have made such a profound impression on me as an artist, that I have pasted some into my sketch books....One is an artist prayer/mantra and the another is an artist 10 Commandments.

The artist 10 commandments always stick in my head when I am plein air painting or sketching on location, many people who see my sketchbooks inquire about these quotes, I tell them it's to remind me of what's important to me as an artist:

Thou shalt not spill paint around in the bush.
Thou shalt not work on poorly prepared grounds.
Thou shalt not be shabby in thy looking and seeing.
Thou shalt not fight, torture or avoid thy work.
Thou shalt not take thy personal passion lightly.
Thou shalt not repeat thyself too frequently.

Thou shalt paint to please thyself.
Thou shalt be hard to please.

There are some interesting discussions in his bi-weekly newsletter, some thought provoking tidbits of inspiration. If you would like to subscribe, you can go to or click on the link to the right of this entry.

Note: I have requested and received Robert's permission to quote him in our blog.

Wednesday Sketch Evening May 12 at 6:00PM - BYOC

Don't forget we'll be sketching tomorrow evening in Sayville, rain or shine. Dress warm. If it rains, there's always Starbucks, where we'll be meeting. Plus you can also sketch from your car.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Those watercolor questions.....

Many folks have asked about watercolors and my use of them. I have two preferred methods for watercolor, one is the watercolor pencil and the other is squeezing my tubes into a travel palette, that gets stuffed into my sketch bag.

I have a box that I carry pencils, pens, kneaded eraser, glue stick (you never know when you wanna glue something in your sketchbook, like the fortune from a fortune cookie), pencil sharpener, a small ruler (artists can't draw a straight line either, though we get closer than some.) and a full range of watercolor pencils. I can be a color junkie when I shop for supplies. I have the basics of what you need for a palette, but sometimes that bright purple, or amazing blue, or hot pink just screams to be added to my box.

If you want to buy the watercolor pencils loose, or create your own watercolor travel palette and you aren't sure what to buy, these basic colors will get you going:

Lemon Yellow
Cadmium Yellow (or a safer version)
Cadmium Orange (or a safer version)
Cadmium Red (OK, ditto the above two)
Alizarin Crimson (this color is fugitive so you might want to get the more permanent version)
Sap Green Or Hooker's Green Light (I like Daniel Smith's Sap Green)
Ultramarine Blue
Cobalt Blue
Cerulean Blue
Yellow Ochre
Burnt Sienna
Burnt Umber

These pretty much can make anything work. Brands are a matter of preference. I like Derwent and Cretacolor AquaMonolith watercolor pencils. The Cretacolor AquaMonoliths are awesome, the whole pencil is pigment and it's wrapped, where the others are like a traditional pencil.

Watercolors, I prefer Daniel Smith but there are a lot of brands out there, just make sure that what you pick isn't student grade color because the student grade colors are not made with the rich pigments that the artist grades colors are and they are not as lightfast as the artist grade colors and can fade over time.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

What if you want to work in color when you sketch?

If you are tired of the pencil or ink without color, then you are ready to move on. Some sketchers like to work in pencil or ink and color their sketches later on in the studio. If you want to do color sketches on location and you are not sure what to bring, we'll give you some tips.

What sort of color did you want to add? Pastel? Colored Pencil? Watermedia? If you want to try the pastel pencils, they are fun to work with in the sketchbook, they are softer than pencil so they may smear, but you can do some fun stuff with pastel pencils. A good brand is Faber-Castell and they come in sets so you can get a basic set to add color. They are a dry media so you don't need to lug around water.

Colored Pencils are a fun way to add color and highlight a sketch. These also come in sets so you can shop around to get the best price to add these to your sketch kit. Prismacolor and Faber-Castell make some decent sets.

Watercolor pencils, the alter ego of the colored pencil, has a dual function and I would recommend these over the dry version because these can be used as dry AND wet media. These are awesome because you can use them in your sketch and then take a wet brush and swipe it over the colored are and VOILA, watercolors!! I carry a whole bunch of these and what's great is all you need is a cup of water and you can get a cup of water in most places you sketch (cow pastures not included). I carry slightly beat up watercolor brushes, one small, one medium sized, in my sketch box and use them to add that touch of color with water. I use the beat up ones in the sketch box because stuff has a tendency to get a little banged up in there, good brushes get the royal pampered travel, not shoved in a box. Watercolor pencils are amazing!

Another way to add color is watercolor paint. You can get a small travel set and carry it in your sketch kit as a way to add color to your sketches. There are amazing little pan sets out there, most on-line art suppliers carry them and there are small tube sets out there. Daniel Smith, Jerry's Artarama, Cheap Joe's and other on-line merchants can be browsed for a decent watercolor set, or you can make your own from your watercolors and just getting a decent travel palette.

There are many other ways to add color, gouache, conte crayons, good ol' crayolas, craypas, oil pastels, markers, inks, the choices are numerous and it's up to what you want to lug along on your sketch outing. Keep in mind, you want to keep it light. Bring along what you like to use best.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Interesting Blog/site to Join

Check out the new box added to the column to the right, Illustration Friday.

Every Friday, you will get a new word to illustrate and you can post it to your website or blog, then attach a link to the Illustration Friday site before the following Friday, to show how you illustrated the Friday word. If you go to the website, the rules on how to participate are there.

Join up and have fun illustrating the word of the week!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What to bring when you sketch?

Oh my goodness! You are going sketching with a group of people and you don't know what to bring? Check out the list of suggested items in the right column on this blog. You really only need the basics, a sketchbook and pen or pencil. The type of pen or pencil is a personal preference, I prefer to use Sakura Micron pens in black or sepias/browns and I prefer Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils, I am very picky about the pencils. Been using them since my college days....I like the tips on the Sakura pens, but that's my personal preference. A lot of people like the Faber Castell Pitt pens, or even the ol' Bic roller ball type pen. I also like the old fashioned pen and ink with the India Ink, but years ago I spilled India ink on my mother's Oriental carpet and have a whole new respect about traveling around with India Ink, it's better off in a closed pen form where it can't be permanently installed on clothes or your favorite sketch satchel, or your mom's carpet.

As far as sketchbooks, again my personal preference is a Hardbound book, for a few good reasons. First being, there's no rings to get hung up on stuff. Hardbound pages don't shift or move around so those great pencil sketches you did won't get smeared. And finally, a lot of the better hardbound books like Moleskine or Hand.Book Journals have sturdier pages that can stand up to wet worked sketches, like watercolor or gouache. I am actually kind of impressed with Hand.Book Journals, they crinkle and buckle a little bit, but they can handle loose watercolor. I also use Strathmore hardbound sketchbooks, they aren't too bad and handle water work pretty well, but the Moleskines and Hand.Book journals are a little sturdier.

Where to buy? Well, you can get the Strathmore books and Pitt pens at Michael's or A C Moore. Moleskines pop up everywhere, Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc....but if you want to order something specific and can't find it locally, there's the on-line suppliers who are usually pretty reasonable, like Jerry's Artarama, Cheap Joe's, Rochester Art Supply, Dick Blick, etc. Your best bet is to spend a few minutes at the laptop cross checking the different sites for the best prices. They all don't carry the same items, either. It's not as much fun as when you can shop in person, but it's the next best thing.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Sketch Evening May 12 at 6:00PM - BYOC

Next Wednesday, we are going to head into Sayville to Sketch. We'll be using the Starbucks on Main Street as a meeting point, but there is a lot to sketch in Sayville, so bring your chair and sketchbooks. I'm dying to sketch that little shop across the street with all the pink foo foo stuff in the window.

If a thunderstorm is in the forecast, come on out, thunderstorms are great subjects to paint and you can do them from your car!

Suggestions!!! We are always looking for places to paint so if you have any suggestions, let us know! Leave a comment!