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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

This wonderful holiday season is a good time for reflection.  Reflecting on the many good friends and the many changes that have taken place in my world of art this past year has given me pause.  Thank you all again for being part of my life and inspiration for my continued life as an artist.  Wishing you all wonderful memory-making holidays with loved ones.   If you didn’t receive my newsletter, I am offering the Frozen Crystal reproductions on sale at 25% through December.  Maybe you would like to make a gift to someone special or a treat for yourself.

 

In the January/February issue of Watercolor Magazine is a full page feature of some of my painting tips-and-tricks.  If you receive this magazine it is under the “Burning Question” article.     Maybe you will find one “tip” you can utilize in your own work.    The painting featured is called  “Wind in My Sails” which I just completed.  It will be offered for sale soon.  Stay tuned!!  If you are not receiving my newsletters and would like to,  just add your name through this website on the homepage.  I am attaching the one page on “Burning Question” article.

 

Watercolor Magazine article of Kathleen Conover tips!

Tips for painting with watercolors from Kathleen Conover in Watercolor Magazine January 2020 issue.

Kathleen Conover's new Industrial Evolution Series painting using Gesso Juice

Hello my Friends-in-Art,

 I’ve been having fun with  “Gesso Juice” in my new home studio.  The painting above, “Changing Demographics” from my Industrial Evolution Series, is a good example of Gesso Juice used to create the texture as paper preparation as well as bringing in whites for finishing.  While teaching at Cheap Joe’s this fall their videographer, Jim, did a great You Tube video.  You can    watch it here: https://youtu.be/h31TYBd4r5A

“Kathleen Conovers’s Essential Gesso Juice Kit” can be ordered directly from Cheap Joe’s Catalog.  It includes instructions, Gesso, Matte Medium, squirt bottle and scrapers.  Once Mixed, it lasts for years!  Click to purchase your own Kit:  https://www.cheapjoes.com/index.php/catalog/product/view/id/36832/s/kathleen-conover-s-essential-gesso-juice/\  

Once you’ve had some fun experimenting, let me hear from you and see what you’ve done!  Happy Painting.

Kathleen

PS:  “Changing Demographics” has just returned from the San Diego Watercolor Society’s 2019 International Juried Exhibition and is for sale on this website.

 

There are so many wonderful artists out there and I’m happy to have worked with 50 more of them between the Delaware Watercolor Society and Cheap Joe’s Classes at the Outlet Store in Boone, N.C.   Thank you!  Kathleen

Djupalonssandur Snaefellsness Peninsula was incredibly inspirational with its dark “lava tubes” and blacksand beach against the bright blue sunny skies.  From this study in my sketchbook, I painted a close-up of one lava tube and the rookery that filled the cliffs.

Tip 3:  A credit card makes a great paint spreader and scraper.  It helps make more realistic rocks and, on edge, straight lines.  Practice with it and see how much can be done with this single portable tool.

Tip 4:  A razor blade scraped against the surface of the paper can bring the “sparkle” back into dull water or too-solid paint passages.  Scrape it against a ruler for a straight distant horizon line.

“Black Pearl Beach” is for sale on this website under  Travel and Landscapes.  It is 11″ x 15″ and sells for $375

You can purchase it right on line.