Sunday, July 30, 2017

free watercolor paper for workshop attendees!

I'm super excited to announce that Hahnemuehle USA is sponsoring my next plein air workshop in Pennsylvania by providing each of my students with a 12x16 block of Hahnemuehle "Cezanne" watercolor paper! Whoo hoo!
This 1-day workshop will be held a the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA. The class size is limited and it will fill up fast, so be sure to sign up as soon as registration opens.

In other news, I'll be conducting a hands-on demo with Amsterdam Acrylics at Kennett Copy and More, in Kennett Square, PA! This is a new art supply store that just opened new my studio, and a great place for my students to run out to if they forget something when they come to class!
Come out to my demo, and try out the paints and mediums for yourself!

Also in the news, I reviewed several of the papers manufactured specifically for oil and acrylic painting by Hahnemuehle, and that review is posted on the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS) blog. These unique papers all performed differently under various mediums -- check out my review to learn which papers are best for you!

Lastly, I just received notification that I was awarded Signature Membership status in the Central New York Watercolor Society! Whoo hoo! This marks my 9th Signature awarded from an Artist Society! Yay!

posted by Annie Strack @ 4:52 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, July 22, 2017

New Workshop just added! Plein Air painting in Watercolor!

New workshop just added! I'm teaching a 1-day plein air watercolor workshop at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford in September! This workshop is already starting to fill up, so sign up now if you want to get in before it's too late.

Students will learn how to break through the confusion of choosing a plein air painting subject, and learn how to plan a landscape composition by eliminating distractions and focusing on their subjects. They will learn how to capture light and shadow in their paintings, and how to see the landscape in simplified shapes of colors and values. They will learn how to mix colors with a limited palette, and depict a variety of perspective techniques to create depth and dimension in paintings. Students will learn how to sketch quick value studies, and add buildings, architectural elements, and gestural figures to the landscape to create drama and interest in their paintings. A variety of techniques will be demonstrated, and students will receive lots of hands on individual instruction and critique.
  • This workshop takes place outdoors, so please bring a folding chair.
  • Rain date will be September 19.
Instructor -- Annie Strack
Annie Strack has earned Signature Membership in 9 artist societies including the International Society of Marine Painters, and she is an Official Authorized Artist for the U.S. Coast Guard. Her paintings are exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world and have been featured in over 20 solo shows. She is the author of the art instruction video Painting Seascapes in Watercolor which is broadcast on television stations worldwide and also available on DVD, and since 2005 she’s been a Contributing Editor for Professional Artist magazine. She teaches painting at Artists Network University, and she travels around the world to teach workshops, jury art exhibits, and paint en plein air. Her artwork has received hundreds of awards and hangs in over 1,000 collections worldwide including U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Pentagon, U.S. Senate, Veterans Administration, and many more.

Required supplies for this course:
  • Palette containing your favorite (or standard) watercolors
  • Assorted watercolor brushes (natural hair such as sable and squirrel preferred)
  • Sketchbook or journal for sketches
  • Several pieces of 140# CP or rough watercolor paper, small sizes, no larger than quarter sheet (Watercolor Blocks preferred)
  • Water container
  • Pencil
  • Value Finder (you may purchase one from instructor for $5 if you don't have one)
  • Optional: Watercolor easel, plein air umbrella, hat

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posted by Annie Strack @ 3:53 PM   0 Comments

Monday, July 3, 2017

Workshop and demo in New Jersey

Last week I judged an art exhibit and demonstrated watercolor painting for the Salem County Art League in New Jersey. It was a great show, and a great group of artists! Scroll through the photos to see my 1-hour demo.

I drove to Wisconsin to hang out with my sister for the summer, and when I get back home in August I'll be going back to New Jersey to teach a one-day workshop for the Salem County Art League. There's still a couple of spaces left in that workshop, but it will fill up fast so if you want to get in this class you need to sign up right away. I also have two 6 week classes for advanced watercolor painting starting in August in my studio in Kennett Square, and a one-day plein air painting workshop coming up in September at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford. Details for all of these are on my Calendar page. In the meantime, if you're in northern Wisconsin and want to get together for
some some plein air painting, let me know!

posted by Annie Strack @ 10:08 AM   0 Comments

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer is for Seagulls and Plein Air Painting

Whoo hoo! This painting "Jon L. Seagull" just won 1st Place in the Jerry's Artarama Watercolor Contest! I'm soooo excited! Yay! 

Jon L. Seagull, 7x10  watercolor $95. 

In other news, I've got a bunch of work to finish up in the studio this week and then I'm off to Wisconsin to spend the summer with my sister, Joni. I'll be back in time to start the next semester of art classes in my studio in August. 
Next week, I'll be judging the show and demonstrating watercolor painting for the Salem County Art League in New Jersey, but after that I'm taking some well earned va-cay time. Although, I'll probably bring some paints with me on vacation, so if any artists want to get together for some plein air painting with me in northern Wisconsin, let me know! 

posted by Annie Strack @ 6:58 PM   0 Comments

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Acrylic Painting Demos at Plaza Art Stores!

Come join me at the Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing stores in Washington, DC, Fairfax, Towson, and Baltimore for free acrylic painting demos with Amsterdam Acrylics! These are hands-on demos, meaning you can try the paints and mediums for yourself! I'll also be giving away free samples and there will be special sales in the stores to celebrate these awesome events. You won't want to miss it!

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posted by Annie Strack @ 7:46 PM   1 Comments

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Plein Air Painting in Calella de Palafrugell, Spain!

I haven't posted in a few weeks because I've been too busy teaching a plein air painting workshop for French Escapade Tours in Costa Brava, Spain! My students and I stayed in the gorgeous little historic fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, and painted the Mediterranean Sea, the medieval villages, the quaint fishing boats, the beautiful Spanish gardens, and more. I'm still catching my breath! Next year I'm teaching a workshop in Provence, but I loved this location so much that I'm going to teach a workshop here again in 2019.  

Calella de Palafrugell

Students in Annie Strack's Plein Air Workshop 

More views to paint!

Fishing boats on the beach in Calella de Palafrugell

We had the town pretty much to ourselves the whole time!

I fell in love with the boats in Calella de Palafrugell

Gorgeous views at every turn

The weather was perfect, and my students and I had the place all to ourselves

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posted by Annie Strack @ 1:38 PM   0 Comments

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Paintings and Plein Air Workshops!

It's been a busy Spring season for art, with workshops, demos, classes, and shows every week. I've conducted so many events that I can't post them all in one blog post, so here's just a small sampling of paintings from recent events. 

SS United States, 6x6 watercolor on panel $75.
The SS United States is an old derelict ocean liner on the riverfront in south Philadelphia. Every time I drive by, I stop and take a few photos of it and marvel at it's beauty. This 6x6 painting is mounted on panel and displayed in a floater frame. It is a bargain at $75, but there's a catch -- the painting is not available for sale until 10am Saturday, May 20, in my studio during the Chester County Studio Tour. So if you want it, you have to come and get it, and -- be first in line. But there will also be 4 other artists displaying and selling their paintings in my studio that day, so you can also find great deals on fabulous artworks by Jeanne Kirby Bruneau, Tom Dempsey, Karen Frattali, and Carrie Barcomb. The studio tour is Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to stop by! We'll have wine and nibbles, painting demos, door prizes, and great artwork! The studio is at 105 Kabob Lane, Kennett Square, PA.

Chilly, $145. 11x15 watercolor on 140# CP Stonehenge Aqua paper
 More great paper has arrived from the awesome folks at Legion Paper! They sent me a case of the 300# Stonehenge Aqua to try out and share with my students. I loved the 140# paper they sent earlier, and didn't think it could get any better -- then I tried the 300#, and it's twice as nice! This paper is bright white and holds up better than I thought was even possible. No buckling or warping at all, not even with the heavy wet washes I used to create these paintings of skies and seascapes. The bright white color of the paper keeps my colors vibrant, clean, and fresh.

Sunset, $95. 11x15 watercolor on 300# CP Stonehenge Aqua paper
 I taught watercolor workshops for the Art Educators of New Jersey and for the Baltimore Watercolor Society last month, and used the new Stonehenge Aqua paper and also gave away free samples to all my students in both of them. I haven't photographed all the paintings yet, so there's still a few more besides these!

Beach, $125. 11x15 watercolor on 140# CP Stonehenge Aqua paper
 Last weekend, I conducted a plein air painting demo for the Audubon Society during their grand re-opening of their museum. This is John James Audubon's house at his farm "Mill Grove," in Audubon, Pennsylvania. The house is a museum and has been closed for the last couple of years for renovations, but finally reopened last month. Tons of people came to watch my demo, and I had a wonderful time painting in perfect weather at a beautiful location!

Audubon House, $95. 9x12 watercolor on 140# Stonehenge Aqua paper
 The Audubon House demo painting is on the new Stonehenge Aqua watercolor paper, which now comes in blocks! I absolutely love painting on blocks -- the pad of paper is gummed on two sides, which firmly holds the paper down flat while painting. The blocks are ideal for plein air painting, as it provide a stable support for the paper and makes it easy to place on the easel or carry around to painting locations. I've packed several of the blocks in my gear to take to Spain later this week for my plein air workshop. In fact, it's the only paper I'm taking, so I suppose we can say that the Stonehenge Aqua blocked paper is the Official Paper of the 2017 Annie Strack Plein Air Painting Workshop in Spain! I also found out that this workshop also sold out last month, so my long standing record of filling every workshop still remains unbroken!

New watercolor blocks of Stonehenge Aqua paper!
 Here's some of the art supplies I've packed for my plein air workshop in Spain -- in addition to the Stonehenge Aqua paper blocks, I'm also taking a sturdy easel and umbrella, spare glasses, value finder, and the usual paints and brushes. I always bring gifts to give to my students, and one of the items that this class will receive is small spiral bound sketch books that they can each fill with the scenes from places we visit and paint during our workshop, and keep as a wonderful memento of our trip!

Packing for plein air painting in Costa Brava, Spain!
I'm fixing to leave out for Spain now, and I'll catch up with more news when I get back. See ya then!

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posted by Annie Strack @ 7:18 PM   1 Comments

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stonehenge Aqua Watercolor Paper

 I've been painting on a new paper lately, Stonehenge Aqua. I've been using it for about a month, now, and I've been giving samples of it to my students in my recent classes and workshops. Here's how it performs...

Beach, 11x15 watercolor $125
The paper has a perfect amount of sizing, making it easy to lift paint. In this first painting, I used masking fluid to preserve the whites of waves -- the masking fluid peeled off easily. In the sky, I used a wet-into-wet painting technique and then lifted out the clouds while it was still damp. As you can see, the colors lifted beautifully. I also love the whiteness of the paper! This new paper is archival cotton rag, and bright white, and is comparable in color to Kilimanjaro or Arches Bright White.

Coverdale Barn, 11x15 watercolor $125
 I made a lot of mistakes when I painted this barn, and went back to correct them after the painting had dried. Originally, I had made the roof, the trees, and the foreground all too dark. I scrubbed out some highlights on the trees to create a little more dimension. The roof was too flat in color and value, so I scrubbed out some areas to make it look like light is hitting it. The foreground was also too even in value, so I scrubbed out the lower left corner of the painting to add light on the ground. The paper held up perfectly to all this scrubbing and lifting, and released the paint easily without wearing down the surface.

Attitude, 15x11 watercolor $145
 I used some puddling, spattering, and blooming techniques to depict the randomness of sand in this painting. This was my demo in one of my classes where I was showing how to paint animals -- you don't always have to show the face of the subject to express and emotion!
Sandpiper, 11x7 watercolor, $85
 I painted the sandpiper dark, and then lifted the highlights and details of the feathers with a clean damp brush. I love that this paper let's me lift so easily. I painted the water with just a few horizontal brushstrokes of color. After it dried I created the round ripples that emulate from the bird by using a clean damp brush to lift a few circles.

Looking ahead, 7x11 watercolor $95
I used salt and paint spatters on the background to get this random and loose effect. I didn't use any masking fluid on this painting, preferring to just use lifting techniques to create the light effects and capture the details of the feathers.

Stonehenge Aqua watercolor paper

All of these paintings were done as demonstrations in my classes and workshops in the last couple of months. I was quite impressed with the quality of the Stonehenge Aqua paper, as were my students. We used the 140 lb cold pressed, and the 300 lb cold pressed. The qualities that really stood out about this paper were it's color (a beautiful bright white) and the sizing -- colors were crisp and stayed intense, and yet were easy to lift off when needed. Both the 140 and the 300 lb were a little smoother than usual, with the 300 lb having about the same amount of texture as I would expect to find in a 140 lb paper. The 140 is smoother than expected, but still has some texture. It is not as smooth as hot pressed. The 22x30 full sheets have 2 deckle edges and two cut edges.

All said and done, I recommend this paper. It performs every bit as good as, if not better than, the more popular and expensive papers available. Stonehenge Aqua watercolor papers will be available at most major retailers in the coming months, and in the usual weights and textures, and I have heard that the prices will be dramatically less than comparable papers. I'm looking forward to trying the rough textures when it comes out, and I can hardly wait for it to become available in blocks!  

posted by Annie Strack @ 11:46 AM   1 Comments

Friday, March 17, 2017

Come paint with me in Provence!

Come paint with me in Provence, France, next summer! Lately, all my workshops are selling out really fast, so you must hurry to reserve your space before it's all sold out. Click on Provence Art Experience to see the full itinerary, and photos of the amazing places where we will stay and visit on this trip! Contact Mathieu at Provence Art Experience for more information, or to register!

Provence Art Experience

posted by Annie Strack @ 11:35 AM   2 Comments

Friday, February 17, 2017

2-point perspective drawing

In one of my classes yesterday, I struggled to explain 2-point perspective to my students. Here's a video that I saw today, which demonstrates it clearly. The two thumbtacks are the two "points" in this perspective exercise, and all lines converge at these points. These are also referred to as "vanishing points" because the it marks the spots where the perspective ends, or "vanishes."

posted by Annie Strack @ 9:35 AM   0 Comments

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