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Oh, the wonderful distractions of summer!  It’s difficult to get to all the paintings that rattle around in my head in the quiet seasons.  It’s even more difficult in this busy season of glorious sunshine and long days.  There is a garden to be planted, friends to visit, places to explore, home repairs to conquer, flowers to admire, lakes to fish and parks to camp in.  But I try to keep up!

The best way to “keep the brushes wet”, I find, is to keep the sketch book and a few basic tools close and just do something – anything – often.  Below is a half-hour sketch done late evening, when we camped at Pentoga County Park, MI.  Not spectacular, but I captured a moment in time.  I can revisit the feeling and inspiration at any time in the future by viewing this sketch.  I did this with one pencil, one pen (“Script Writer” that runs and separates into grays, blue and pink when hit with water), one brush and water.

My art is always a reflection of my life.  Its many “distractions” is the richness from which I draw my inspiration.  I encourage all my fellow artists to keep a sketchbook and pencil with them and capture those moments!  Kathleen

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”   Joseph Chilton Pierce

This quote is the perfect sentiment for the brave artists in the Colorado Watercolor Society (CWS) who attended my workshop in April.

They weren’t afraid to risk being wrong, to try something else and to try something new.  As a result, wonderful and exciting works were created!  It was a great week when new friendships were formed and Fun was had by all!

Let’s lose our fear of making mistakes as we venture forward in our Art Journey.  Kathleen

Colorado Workshop 2023 – Pictured (left to right):  Beatrice Trainman, CWS President, myself, Sandy Day Selbert, Workshop Director

The month of March holds all the promise of Spring (officially, at least, even though so many are still battling the effects of winter).  I found, and bring to you, a little bit of Spring from Charleston, where I was painting with art friends last week.  I had a chance to practice my En Plein Air technique on the prevalent live-oak trees and blooming azaleas. It was the perfect week!

Under the Live-Oak trees

 

 

Back in the studio, I’m wrapping up my accepted painting, “Locomotion”, to go to the Georgia Watercolor Society National Exhibition.  I send it off with a kiss…always hopeful of getting a “nod” from such a respected judge/artist as John Salminen.

Locomotion

I’m most thrilled to learn I’ve earned the National Watercolor Society (NWS) Master Artist (MA) Status because I’ve been accepted in 6 of their international competitions over many years of competing!  MA are a couple more initials to add to my “alphabet soup” that while silly to some, still mean a great deal to me.  I see those letters as my credentials, my higher degree and steps in my life-long career as an artist.  Paint on, my friends!!

Here’s another quote I just love and want to share:  “If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy in your life, but still the same amount of snow”.  unknown

Preparing to teach in-person again is bringing me Joy as I prepare for a collage class at Big Arts, on Sanibel Island, March 1.  This focus allows me to concentrate on one of the most fun art-mediums there is, Mixed Media Collage.  I keep mine 2D and incorporate old paintings, newly painted and embellished tissue papers, altered found papers (newspaper, doilies, sheet music, coffee filters, fabric, etc.), watercolor, acrylic, gouache, pigment sticks, ink, graphite and anything else that might tweak my interest.  It’s all thrown in together, gets cooking, simmers and makes for a whole lot of Fun and a whole lot of Joy!

There’s plenty of Joy out there for you, too, so I hope you gather some materials, glue, sturdy backing and just start playing with shapes and color.  When you like what you have, take a picture (so you remember where the pieces go), glue it down and enJoy!  Kathleen

This is a lovely quote by Louise Bourgeois and its sentiment goes to the heart of an article I wrote, Design by Disaster.  It was sent out on ArtistsNetwork.com, the online art magazine (free).  The editors at Golden Peak Media think they will publish it in Watercolor Artist Magazine next summer.  That would be very nice, too.  I hope you enjoy the article from the link below, Kathleen

https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-mediums/design-by-disaster/

I’m sending my wishes to each of you for a bright and beautiful end of year celebrations and a healthy, happy new year!   I’m hoping for the same plus I’m feeling very long on gratitude this season after Hurricane Ian.

Although our losses were significant, my studio being demolished was the worst for me.  But so many families lost everything.  I can assure you the “Christmas/Good Samaritan” spirit is very much alive and well.  Neighbors helped neighbors, capable people helped the less able and volunteers were there to completely take care of those in need.  Free meals were provided by World Central Kitchen (great place for making donations).    Water, tarps, laundry and shower facilities and materials for building were provided by FEMA.  So much more than I can mention was freely given and lovingly provided.  My heart is full!

Now back home to my solid base in Michigan, I will enjoy the holidays with my family.  May your heart and new year be filled with the Spirit of this Special Season.  Kathleen

Greetings to you all!  This months blog is coming to you from Kathleen’s long time friend, webmaster and biggest fan Carol Fitzgerald.  Hurricane Ian devastated Pine Island Florida where Kathleen has her winter painting studio.  She and Dennis are there now working hard to restore her place while dealing with no water and little or no amenities.   Still she is feeling thankful as many others have lost so much more.  She sends her warmest regards to you all for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

As you know holidays are just around the corner and I would like to encourage you to take a look through Kathleen’s website http://www.kathleenconover.com. Explore her different art galleries and the many artistic styles of paintings she offers, including her newest gallery “Hot off the Easel”.   You can also read about Kathleen’s techniques and awards, how she got started and see a couple of teaching videos.   Those interested in taking a class can see her upcoming classes in various locations across the US.   If you would like to make a holiday purchase, you can do so online.

Blessings to all and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday,  Carol

This is a difficult month to write my blog because of the emotional yo-yo overload!  The eye of Hurricane Ian, the worst hurricane to ever hit Florida, went through my winter studio like a giant dough mixer, just like it did to the surrounding barrier islands in southwest Florida.  Still, I feel incredibly fortunate.  The last count of people who have died is 136, yet my extended Florida “tribe” is all safe.  We can repair and rebuild but so many, including my brother, must scrape their lots of the debris that had been their homes.   Here is a snapshot of what used to be my Studio….(…very blurry due to scarce internet service)…but it says so much.

The “up swing” of my yo-yo month was a great trip planned by my daughter for a hot air balloon ride from a barge in the middle of Lake Tahoe.  It was perfect in every way!  Of course, we took a hundred pictures.  But, where will my inspiration land from all this?  Plenty to be inspired by, but I might be too occupied in the land clean-up to get much painting done.  Time will tell.  Stay safe and hug your loved ones.   Kathleen

 

This is day one of my September  “hometown” workshop.  It is a new “kind of class” for me to teach and not a better group of artists to join me than my friends here in Marquette.  I believe through experimentation we become better artists:  we push boundaries, see the unexpected, make more courageous designs and learn to trust our own intuitive sense of aesthetics.    It’s a class I’ve wanted to teach for a long time.

Look closely at the “silly brushes” we made first thing, for use in making unique marks.  On tissue at first, then we’ll collage them onto watercolor paper, with or without color, and develop our paintings from there.

For an inspiring video on making these brushes watch the originator in her home in Australia “Brush maker from Vanessa Milton”.

Kathleen

I was given a beautiful quote by Laura Elena Donnelly, “The music painted.  It danced.  It inhaled and exhaled and wove a narrative just beyond language”.  That’s how I want to paint!  To that end, there is no better time to be practicing my love of painting than in the summertime.

Lake Superior Lighthouse painting

At Marquette’s Art Week, the last week in June,  and “En Plein Air” festival, I couldn’t resist Marquette’s iconic Harbor Lighthouse as a chosen subject, again.

 

In the photo below,  I have just finished the installation of my Guest Artist Exhibit at the Zero Degrees Gallery, 525 N. Third Street in Marquette, MI.  My work, including the new contemporary series “Searching”, will be featured for the month of July.    Hope to see you there!

Zero Degrees Art Gallery

Kathleen Conover water media artist featured at Zero Degrees Gallery in July 2022

Beautiful Lake Superior is calling…better grab my paint kit and go.  Enjoy this summer day, my friends!  Kathleen