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It’s time to harvest the last of my lovely “crops”, clean up and mulch the garden for winter and enjoy the last of the blooming flora.  I’ve enjoyed my garden more this summer than ever: digging, planting, growing, being inspired and having the time to paint it!  In these crazy times it’s wonderful to be connected to something “real”!  It doesn’t get much more real for me than working in the dirt and, today, eating the last of my home grown peaches.  However, I didn’t paint the peaches, I painted the flora and ate the peaches!  Until next month, stay safe and well my friends.  Kathleen

Imaginative imagery.

Summer’s long days of sunshine are waning but I’m happy to share with you another source of brightness  …. the ability to take virtual tours of art exhibitions, thanks to the work of organizers and curators.  How nice to see the finest in contemporary paintings from your favorite comfy chair!  My blog post in August has a link to the TWSA National Exhibition of which I was a part.  Just scroll down to see and visit the beautiful artwork at the Kenosha Public Museum.

Most recently I was notified of getting an award at the 47th Annual Rocky Mountain National Watermedia (RMNW) Exhibition for my painting “Searching”.  It is held at the Center for the Arts Evergreen (Colorado) and runs through October 24.  Click here to view.

The imagery of “Searching” holds personal meaning for me which includes: the Blackbird as messenger, the Origami Crane is a prayer for peace, the Dragonfly represents our fragility, and the Horse is a universal symbol for our journey.   When “Searching” returns home from the exhibition, I will post it “for sale” on this website.

Stay safe and enjoy the beauty of fall.  Kathleen

The Gallery Walk

Along with enjoying this beautiful summer, I felt very honored and excited to teach my first workshop since the beginning of COVID restraints.

The Transparent  Watercolor Society (TWSA) located in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this year asked me to judge their annual competition,  to give a gallery walk, and  to teach a workshop!   This exciting competition was held at the wonderful Kenosha Public Museum.   TWSA and the Museum were very thorough with safety precautions and I felt confident we would all be safe (and we all are).   TWSA is a highly competitive, prestigious and national exhibition.

If you would like to see this beautiful artwork go to: www.watercolors.org  and click on “View Virtual Gallery” to enjoy the entire 2020 TWSA exhibition.  I also invite you to take a walk with me as I explain the criteria used for designating the TWSA awards.  Just click on “Gallery walk with Kathleen Conover”.

Please stay safe, be well and live gratefully.  Kathleen

Nature!  That calming spiritual place for connecting with all things important.  In times like these it is where I want to be and it doesn’t get better than Lake Superior in the summer!  With workshops cancelled, my silver lining in the Covid-cloud is free time to walk to the beach, head out to Presque Isle Park and paint Lake Superior.  It is always different, inspiring and grounding.  Whether at the shore or in my home studio, I am thoroughly happy having the time to do what I love most….painting.

I hope all of you have also found your “happy place” and get to visit (physically or virtually) often.  Stay well, my friends.   Kathleen

Kathleen Conover and Lake Superior Beach

Kathleen Conover back home in Marquette

I can’t express how wonderful it is to be back home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Maybe the best way is to share this photo beside beautiful Lake Superior with it’s crystal clear water (and chilly!) and beautiful sandy beach.   The weather has been warm and welcoming to this artist so I can get outside and do some “Plein Air Painting” , the popular term for painting outside on location.   As a solitary activity, it has the bonus of being social distanced.   Although painted many, many times, I’m still drawn to Marquette’s iconic “lighthouse” and the old Coast Guard Station with its rocky coastline.  I’ll share a few of the results in the next “Hot off the Easel” Newsletter.

It’s interesting, in reflection, how we often don’t recognize the importance of certain things we have in our lives.  But, take them away, and we realize how much we miss them.  Please be safe, stay healthy and live in gratitude, my friends.  (Elbow) hugs, Kathleen

Before packing up my Florida Studio and heading north, I wanted to share with you one of the buried painting tips on my table.  This is a fun way to practice your bold brushwork, try a new color combination and challenge yourself compositionally.

1.  Take a piece of watercolor paper, 22″ x 30″ and divide it in eighths with masking tape.

2.  Choose your colors (I chose Daniel Smith’s Quin. Burnt Orange and Imperial Purple) and paint using bold, loose brush strokes.  Don’t think about images or subjects,  just about the variety, shape and line in your brushstrokes.

3.  Cut each piece apart and resolve each one.  Of course, this is the challenge!  Start by looking at each one independently, upside down and sideways.  Choose one that triggers your        creativity and get started.  Let your imagination go wild.  There is no right or wrong, good or bad, just doing!

4.  The four finished paintings are the same four as in the top row of the 8 “starts”.  My favorite is the finished one below which is from the bottom row of the eight starts.  I liked its simplicity and that I could retain the initial gestural brushstrokes which established the attitude of this stylized portrait.

 

I hope you give this a try in our continued period of cancellations and found time in the studio.  And don’t forget to have fun!  Creatively yours, Kathleen

 

April Greetings!    I’m still in voluntary quarantine and still painting in my studio, but I’ve also moved to the “outdoors” many days.  There is always plenty of Plein Air painting to do.  But, even better, is the luxury of unlimited space.  I found my gallons of acrylic leftover and “oops” paints that I purchased (those are the paints sold for less because of mixing mistakes by Lowes, Home Depot and others).  With materials and space and time, I can make big messes and have lots of fun!  On this day I started by covering over old paintings , then did new “pours” and moved on to “decorating” clothes.

 

I hope you are all social distancing from people but getting close-and-personal with your paints (and other art supplies).  I encourage (and give you permission) to go to your studio and PLAY!  You are given the gift of time right now.  Keep well, keep creative and keep smiling my friends.

Kathleen

Gee, cancelled workshops?  A self-imposed quarantine? Can’t travel?  This could be bad news, but to an artist quarantined to her studio… that’s a different story!  I’m thrilled to have a little dream-come true: more painting time!  Of course, I’m sad to not paint with friends, very concerned for all affected by cancelled workshops (especially Kanuga) and send good-karma-vibes to all of you that you stay well!  My prescription:  go to your studios, paint lots and smile.  It releases good endorphins, which builds up our immune system.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a picture, sharing a bit of my Florida environment full of flowers, noisy birds and lots of green.  Now it’s time to go to our easels and do some amazing things!  Or just throw a little paint around for fun!   Kathleen

 

 I’m writing this Blog on Valentine’s Day and sending you all love and encouragement, and hopefully, inspiration straight from the heart.  We all lack inspiration or direction sometimes.  Here is my mid-winter trick to get the creative juices flowing again.  It is a challenge I give myself every once in a while when I have time to “play”!

First:  Take a big brush, a full sheet of watercolor paper (22″x30″) and lots of juicy watercolor, I paint, splatter, scrape and paint some more.  This is without plan or purpose.  It’s just a “start” to capture some color, marks, texture and energy on paper.  And it’s fun with abandon!  Let this dry completely.  (Picture below)

Next: I divide the paper into quarters.  At this point I have (4) “compositional challenges” and now the fun/work  begins.  I look at each 11″ x 15″ start independently, in all directions and start brainstorming what might be done with each piece.  Each start has its own problems and lots of potential.

Result:  Below are my finished (4) paintings in two photos clipped to the easel.   Some are developed with imagery, some non-objectively.  The sky, or imagination, is the limit!  It is always a surprise to me to see where these “challenges” end up.  But, also, I always learn a lot about my own “style”  (preferences in composition, marks, colors, texture, tolerance for chaos or order).

                     

If any of you try this, I would love to see your “before” and “after”.  Please share….but most important, have fun!!    Kathleen

The New Year is here!  Dennis and I have made our annual migration from snowy Michigan to sunny Florida and I’m excited to find my Muse waiting for me in my Southern Studio.
New ideas are being sketched, the paint is flying and I’m excited to be able to focus more on my ONLINE Gallery, now that the “bricks and mortar” STUDIO Gallery  is behind me.

With the indispensable help from my website manager, Carol, we will offer new original works in Newsletters…..one will be coming to you soon!

A great start to my New Year is the acceptance of my painting, “Evolution”, (shown above) in this year’s American Watercolor Society (AWS) exhibition in New York City.  It is actually a painting made directly from Dennis’ farm, in the middle of transition from agriculture to wind-farming and residential neighborhoods.

I’m always thrilled and honored to have one of my works in AWS!  Kathleen