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February 2022 – Art by Aurae Happenings

This February I have several events happening in the community. If you are out and about, please check them out.

I entered this 8×8 watercolor painting into the “Big Show of Little Art” at the Gallery Calapooia in downtown Albany, Oregon for the month of February. Jeff made a lovely wooden frame as well. My mom and daughter also entered a piece of art into the exhibit as well. “Are Ewe Looking at Me?” was a painting I had tried a few years back but I found this one to capture the inquisitive nature of this little sheep. The lamb/sheep and purple signify spring, renewal and rebirth.

The “Big Show of Little Art” runs through February at the gallery. The Gallery Calapooia is located at 222 W. 1st Ave. Albany, Oregon 97321. The gallery hours are Tues-Sat, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Hanging Around Town

As a juried member of the Corvallis Art Guild, we have monthly opportunities available to hang our artwork around Corvallis. For the month of February, my work is hanging at the Samaritan Radiation Oncology. This is the largest venue I’ve hung my work at. I hope that my paintings bring joy to those who are coming to the clinic for treatment.

Hanging Around Town Display
Hanging Around Town Display

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Basic Watercolor Painting: Getting Started with Supplies

I’ve been watercolor painting on a regular basis for the past year and a half. I had some old supplies from college but have had to freshen my supplies and add new paints and brushes. Below is a list of items I have in my ArtBin and you can find another post about the paint colors I use:

  1. Palette – I started by using paper plates – one for each painting but then it got out of hand as I had 5-6 paintings going at once. Then I purchased “The Watercolorist’s Answer Book, edited by Gina Rath and tip #34 suggested using a butcher tray palette so I purchased one and it’s worked great. I’ve only had to reload my paint once over the past 1.5 years.
  2. Brushes – the brushes I use the most are a large brush for applying water (even a hardware store paintbrush works), a large round brush (Princeton #16 round I’ve had since college), two angle brushes work well for skies and ocean – 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch (Silver Brush 6806S-034 Crystal Golden Synthetic Filament Short Handle Brush with Brown Tip and Nickel Plated Brass Ferrules, Angle, 3/4-Inch), and some small brushes for fine detail or fur and feathers, 0 or 1 round. I also like this one for hair or grass – Princeton Artist Brush Neptune, Brushes for Watercolor Series 4750, Script Synthetic Squirrel, Size 1.
  3. Paint – Some of my paint is almost 20 years old but I’ve updated my stock with Winsor & Newton Cotman water colors 12 tube set and then individual tubes as needed. I find that even a 5ml or 8ml tube will last several years. I’ve added some Daniel Smith Luminescent watercolors as well – Iridescent Moonstone and Iridescent Antique Copper to provide a fun and unique look. I do also have a tube of white gouache paint that I’ve only used once or twice on ocean waves.
  4. Paper – I mostly use ReadyCut Strathmore 140 lb cold press paper in 8×10 and 5×7 but have been branching out into larger sizes and block painting. I typically order a few of each size and I am set for the year, depending on how much I will be painting or any orders I’m working on.
  5. Boards – I use clipboards or sketchboards. I started out using cardboard and cutting out what I needed from my Amazon boxes!
  6. Phone/tablet and stand – I usually use images saved on my phone as a reference for painting but sometimes need a large image so use my iPad. I did purchase a gooseneck tablet holder but don’t use it too often.
  7. Painter’s tape – I use good old Scotch blue painter’s tape in .7 inch width to tape down my paper to my boards. It’s hard to find in that narrow width but it works the best for me.
  8. Jar/Tupperware for water
  9. Paper towels or washcloth
  10. Scanner – I have the Epson Perfection V600 Photos and scan each painting I finish in two sizes (just to be sure I guess). I use these images for prints and cards.
  11. Masking fluid – if you want to keep your white areas white when doing a colorful background liquid frisket can be handy. I have a specific cheap brush I use for applying it so that I don’t ruin my good brushes.
  12. White gel pen – works well for adding snow capped trees or building or whiskers.
  13. #2 pencil and eraser
  14. Micron pens – I use these for pen drawings or for adding in detail such as black whiskers.
  15. Portable Painter – I was gifted a pocket size portable painter for traveling and I’ve used it a few times. It comes with a paint brush, palette and a place for water.
  16. Transfer Paper – if you do want to trace an image from reference you might need transfer paper.
  17. Salt – adding salt to wet paint can add some fun, snowflake like patterns – make sure your paper is loaded with wet paint and then add the salt sparingly or go crazy and see what happens.

Where do I purchase my supplies? Mostly I do find some specific items at my local art supply store as well as my frames. Amazon has everything just about and sometimes has good sales so watch for those. Some artists have specific stores on Amazon where you can find the brushes and supplies they use. Happy shopping!

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Basic Watercolor Painting: Wet Into Wet Background

  1. Start by identifying the reference photo you’d like to use for your painting. I try to use an image that’s about the size of my paper choice.
  2. Choose your paper size. For this painting below, I used a pre-cut Strathmore 140 pounds cold press 8×10. I use painter’s tape to create a clean white edge and to secure my paper to a clipboard. I chose the vertical page orientation for this painting.
  3. Prepare your work space. I use a jar of clean cold water. My palette is a butcher’s tray with my paint around the edges and my color combinations in the middle. I’ve used this for over a year and never wiped it. I just continue to re-wet what I need and mix any new color in an open space or one that’s a similar color. My brushes and paints are kept in an ArtBin for easy transport. I typically paint at my dining room table with light from windows and a chandelier plus a desk lamp if needed.
  4. I use a simple mechanical #2 pencil to lightly draw my subject. I draw free hand without tracing usually but tracing can also be done especially for large pieces.
  5. Once you have drawn your subject and the areas of dark/light that break up your imagine, it’s time to paint!
  6. Wet into wet. I usually use a wet on wet technique for my backgrounds with a lot of bleed of the wet paint into the already wet areas. Sometimes I use a mask (liquid frisket) but usually I just apply water around my subject, careful to stay on the lines.
  7. Once my paper is thoroughly wet, I use a large round brush (Princeton #16 round in this case) to add paint to my background. For this I am using turquoise and french ultramarine. I get the dried paint pretty wet but then make sure I have a good amount of paint on my brush. Then I begin to outline the subject with the thickest paint at the line as it bleeds out onto the wet paper.
  8. I also added some green and darker blue to the other areas of the background (Prussian blue, indigo, . You can continue to gradually darken the background by adding more paint; however, you may also muddy the paint or if it dries, it could create lines and add shapes (unfortunately that’s what happened to this one (image 10).
  9. Let this paint dry completely before working on the subject(s).
  10. I went to far and didn’t stop so it lost it’s unique bleed look. I will try again!