Sunday, September 25, 2016

September 24, 2016

Today, the star of the show was our book table, pictured below. We each brought in a book, magazine or printed screenshot of a watercolorist whose style we admire. Then, in lieu of Showtime, we went around the circle claiming "our" painter and explaining what attracted us.

As a result, we are missing some photos and unsure about some muses (we were all so engrossed in the art and artists that our note-taking and picture-taking both suffered!). We'll correct mistakes and omissions next week, but meanwhile, we'll begin with Greeta. Here she's painting a neighborhood graystone. Look closely to see all the lovely colors in the stone.

Greeta's also finished up her painting of a cow. We love the tag (it looks like jewelry) and the soft background which draws our eye right to the face of the cow.

Ken's corn painting is progressing nicely, from the striped leaves to the gridded background. Oh, and Pat has a correction—Ken's nickname is NOT Ken Ten, but Ken Cat (or maybe Ken Kat).  We stand corrected. Ken's favorite watercolorist is Peggy McNamara, artist-in-residence at the Field Museum and noted nature painter. When you click on the artists' names, you'll go (we hope) to their Google image page. This will give you a good sense of the "vibe" of the artist. You can switch back to the "all" tab if you want to learn more about the artist.

Steve is also into nature, drawing this colorful toucan...

... having finished this serenely beautiful winter scene. See if you can spot the cardinal. It's a tiny bit of red in the trees. What a lovely touch! Steve was one of  the few of us who espoused a photorealistic artist, Linda Stevens Moyer. He's fascinated by her way of seeing and layering. But he's especially drawn to Nelson Boren. Steve loves his mastery of texture.

Susan revisits an old sketch of her father and grandfather. She's painting a watercolor of them based on a colored pencil sketch (below) from years ago. Susan says she was influenced by Gustav Klimt early in her watercolor career.

Elaine is moving from architecture to portraiture with this beginning painting. Her absolute favorite watercolorist is John Singer Sargent. She is enamored of his ability to say so much with just a few lively brushstrokes. She's also amazed at how many subjects he's mastered. Another favorite is Edward Hopper. She loves the sharp value contrasts and the sense of story he brings to everything he paints.

Sara began drawing a Hopper-esque scene today from a recent vacation. It's a lovely composition, as you'll see next week. Meanwhile, Sara's watercolor muse is Walter Anderson. An American painter with a fascinating life story, he's admired for his energy and lively brushwork, as well as his use of color.

Bill was painting a stone archway (see the picture next week!). He looked for an artist whose style he was trying to achieve and found Iain Stewart. Stewart is an American painter with a lovely, fluid style that is quintessentially watercolor.

Madeleine chose to showcase a genre rather than an individual artist. She brought in an article featuring several artists who painted scenes from their travels. The styles were different, the skies were different, but the urge to document new experiences visually was what spoke to Madeleine. No wonder her current painting (again, you'll see it next week!) is from her recent trip to Ireland.

And Alan is adding finishing touches to the latest in his Onions series on Yupo. His favorite artist is Errol Barron, whose work bears no resemblance to Alan's color-drenched Yupo masterpieces. Still his line and wash style is beautifully elegant... and very architectural!

Our new students are zipping through the exercises. They are matching colors (including skin and the dreaded paper towel) and exploring complementaries, with plenty of time for extra-curricular painting. We are so impressed. Here's Erika....

... and here are Luciana and Pia's. Unfortunately, because we didn't do an official showtime, and none of the photographs had any identifying names, not to mention that both Pia and Lucy sat on the same side of the table, so there were no clues there... in short, we can't identify whose are whose with absolute certainty. We apologize profusely and we'll correct ourselves next week, but we think these are Luciana's experiments in complementary colors and color matching....

 ...and these are Pia's. Of course, we can be wrong and we'll correct that next week. Regardless of whose is whose, these are both lovely and bold. And both Pia and Lucy have mastered the art of the bloom and soft watery effects. Come back and see more!

 Mark your calendars! You're invited to..... 

Group Art Exhibit at Ten Cat

As you know, October is Artists Month in Chicago and our very own Bill and Madeleine Settles are having an exhibition at Ten Cat. You can see the art throughout October, but you are also cordially invited to the  opening reception. Mark your calendar—this is a great venue and we always have fun. Details below:

Madeleine Settles and William Settles
Recent Watercolor Paintings

Exhibition: October 3–29, 2016
Opening Reception:

Saturday, October 15, 2016, 4–7pm
3931 N. Ashland Avenue, Chicago

Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 17, 2016

You can tell it's fall and back-to-school season. We have a full house and some of the fastest, most productive newbies we have seen. Not to mention there is news of upcoming exhibitions. So let's get started right away. First off, we have to apologize to Marvelous Marva. She's back and painting a beautiful, peaceful beach scene. Unfortunately, we don't have a photo. Come back next week.

Meanwhile, in a similar peaceful, quiet vein, here is Steve's snow scene. We hope we aren't frightening anyone. There is still some time before we have to worry about facing this. But from where we are viewing this, it's beautiful, isn't it?

As for the rest of us, we are busy documenting our summers instead of looking forward to winter. Ken Ten continues working on his corn series. Here he finishes the quartile progression. We love how he's integrated his interest in mosaics into his watercolors.

More quartile cornstalks; here they are so abstracted they almost look like a bamboo forest.

In this beautifully delicate painting, Ken patterns the corn leaves with stripes and fills the background with a mosaic pattern that looks like a conservatory.

More stripes, more mosaic patterns, complementary colors. Who would have guessed corn stalks could be so interesting?

Closing in on the end of his series, Ken begins another striped leaf painting. The stripes really work to emphasize the undulating nature of the leaves.

If there's corn, can cows be far away? Greeta begins this sweet-faced cow against a hazy summer sky. We love the cowskin and can't wait for the face to appear.

Another quintessential summer scene by Greeta. Can't you feel the fun running through the sprinklers? We love the water, the concrete and especially the position of the boys as they dodge water droplets. Greeta's favorite part? The shoes! And we like them too.

In this portrait, Greeta was inspired by the shadow cast by the subject's hair on his shirt. Remember that shadow exercise? This is what it's for!

Turning our attention back to Ken's corn, we can't help but noticing how closely corn stalks resemble onion leaves. We love our produce, don't we? Here Alan begins a series inspired by an onion field. Can you believe the incredible detail he manages to get using Yupo?  These onions are on a table.

These onions are hanging from the ceiling.  We love the details and the complementary colors. And yes, that's Yupo!

Although he is truly a master of Yupo, Alan painted this portrait of his grandson on regular watercolor paper and proved he's equally adept using this ground. We love the fun expression!

To shake things up a bit, Alan switches to a landscape. We are in awe of the texture he is able to describe on Yupo. Zoom in and see what we mean.

Ellen continues to fine tune her gondolier. There is so much to see here. The complementary colors, the composition, the shadows. She's also officially the first to try the Winsor & Newton watercolor paint stick for the stripes on the shirt. She's used them to great effect and inspired others of us to try them soon. 

 Susan found an old sketchbook and repainted a view of the Yangtze River below. We are all about complementary colors today. Look at the sun against the purple mountain. Lovely!

And here is Susan's original Yangtze River painting from five years ago. It's smoother and less textured, but what's interesting is that both were painted from a line drawing in her sketchbook, not a photograph. So both are equally valid remembrances.

Bill is also documenting his vacation. Here's an Irish street that inspired a bit of debate about color saturation and balance, as well as how the success of a painting (in terms of accuracy) can ultimately only be decided by the person who was actually there.

Another sketch inspired by a shadow! Bill painted this Irish building because he loved the shadow it cast. He's calling this a sketch and we hope to see it again.

Madeleine is also documenting a vacation in Ireland. This intimate, texture-filled shrine is all that's left of a church dedicated to St. Bridget. We're eager to see this finished.

We do love to remember our vacations, don't we? Sara finished painting a cottage in Northern Wisconsin. This is small—the size of a postcard—but exquisite. She credits Pat with pointing out the mauve in the roof. We love the way Sara uses greens and purples throughout this little gem.

Another vacation painting, more complementary colors.... Elaine paid a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago (which just so happens to be the world's best museum) to see After the Fall. Before she entered, she happened to look up and see a pigeon sitting on the lap of one of the stone carvings. This is merely a sketch—she's not thrilled with the results of wet-on-wet on Masa paper.

And did we mention our newbies? They are speed demons! Each of them finished both of the first exercises... and managed to do some extra credit paintings to boot. Fast and good... they will be worth watching. We'll start with the exercises. Here's Elizabeth's color wheel (done with only three primaries)...

 ... and a color wheel/plaid spectrum as she explores hue, tine, tone and shade.

Erika uses waves on her plaids, giving an easy feeling.

And here's Erika's color wheel. Yes, those are only three colors!

Luciana added a twist to the color wheel. First, she used the tube colors for the secondaries. Then, she went back and mixed from the primaries. The mixed secondaries are actually much richer and more beautiful. And to the right, she's added water to full strength paint. This feels so very watercolor-y—and she's discovered blooms!

 Here's Luciana's plaid. Notice how she's beginning to experiment with wet and dry?

Pia's plaid and color wheel are on one sheet. We love the richly saturated way she paints. Zoom in to see the way the colors move in the plaid.

Finally, Pia's exploration of hue/tint/tone/shade. Lovely, isn't it?

Following are Luciana's extra explorations. We love the wavey color tests...

... as well as these delicious, watery swatches.

These stripes look like a flag.

Luciana only used one color (well, turquoise with a touch of rose in the lower right) to describe these misty mountains. 

Elizabeth did some watery explorations, too.

... as well as painting observed details from windows, doors and more.

 And as if that weren't enough, she moved on to animals and birds. 

Upcoming events!

See who inspires us.
As you may recall, we planned to bring in paintings, books or screenshots of artists who inspire us. Many of us did, but we just didn't have time to discuss. So come back next next week and see who we admire. This should be very interesting!

You're invited to.....

Sulzer Library. If you are near the Sulzer Library on Wednesday, September 21, drop in to see a group show featuring Erika.

Autumn Open Sketch date.
It's an open sketching/photography session on Saturday, September 24 from 1:000–3:00pm at St. Gregory the Great Church and we are invited! Bring your cameras, sketch pads, pens and pencils. A docent will also be on hand to answer questions.

     St. Gregory the Great Church
     5545 N. Paulina
     Church entrance is on the corner of Gregory and Paulina;
     one block west of Ashland and one block south of Bryn Mawr

     Saturday, September 24

Group Art Exhibit at Ten Cat.

As you know, October is Artists Month in Chicago and our very own Bill and Madeleine Settles are having an exhibition at Ten Cat. You can drop by most of October to see that art, but you are also cordially invited to the  opening reception. Mark your calendar—this is a great site and we always have fun. Details below:

Madeleine Settles and William Settles
Recent Watercolor Paintings

Exhibition: October 3–29, 2016
Opening Reception:

Saturday, October 15, 2016, 4–7pm
3931 N. Ashland Avenue, Chicago