Sunday, March 11, 2018

When is it time to move beyond beginner level?

Something I tell my students all the time! 
Don't be afraid to use up your art supplies. When you've completely gone through your first set of paints and brushes, you will have practiced painting enough to move on to more advanced work. If you're not using up your supplies, then you're just not painting enough. You will never graduate from the level of Beginner if you never use up your materials.  

Sometimes my students are frustrated that they haven't attained artistic genius after one workshop, or after taking one semester of instruction. I have to remind them, that if they are still using the first set of student grade materials that they've ever bought, then they are still students. Use up those paints! When you've painted so much that you need to replenish all your paints at least once, you can move on to intermediate. 

posted by Annie Strack @ 4:05 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, March 4, 2018

floral paintings from my recent class

My winter semester classes are over and I have a couple of weeks to rest up before I head off to Charleston, South Carolina, teach my next workshop. Here's a few photos from my class last week,

Floral HP 2, 12x9 watercolor, $85. 
 Another one of my demo paintings, a watercolor floral on hot pressed paper.  I introduce my students to the different paper surfaces by having them paint the same subject, techniques, and styles on each of them. Scroll down to see a few of their floral paintings from my class...

Tomorrow I'm heading over to the Chadds Ford Historical Society to pick up my paintings from the plein air exhibit that just closed. I've happy that several of my paintings were sold, and I don't have much to pick up! This painting of the Hwy 1 Junction road sign is still available!
Route 1, 8x10 oil on board, $195.

posted by Annie Strack @ 3:03 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Spring is in the air! Well, almost.

Last weekend we had 3 inches of snow here at the studio, then mid week temps rose all the way up into the 80s, and now this weekend it's raining and in the 40s. I'm more of a summertime type of gal, and I pine for the palms and beaches of my youth.

In my watercolor class this week, I gave my students hot pressed paper to work on as we painted florals. My students usually work on cold pressed paper, and in a previous class I had given them rough paper for this same subject. The lesson incorporates how paper absorbency and texture affects results, and my students love trying out the different papers and comparing them. This is one of my demos from class.

12x9 watercolor, hot pressed floral #1, $135.

This is one of the paintings that I did in the Chadds Ford winter plein air earlier this month. I painted this on the coldest day and stayed my my car in the parking area of Kuerner Farm, overlooking the meadow behind the barn. The transmission lines that cross the farm and run through the middle of Chadds Ford are as iconic as Kuerner Farm itself, and instantly recognizable by anyone who is familiar with the area. This painting is watercolor on canvas -- because I didn't want to use oils inside my car. 
Power Lines, 8x10 watercolor on canvas board, $195.

posted by Annie Strack @ 9:34 AM   0 Comments

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Valentine's Day Surprise

I got a wonderful surprise on Valentine's Day when I found that I was the featured artist on American Watercolor Weekly! They did a lovely profile on me and published several of my latest paintings. Click on American Watercolor to read it, and click Here to Subscribe to receive a free online subscription to this marvelous publication.

My students in my winter semester classes studied the techniques to paint glass last month. Here's one of my quick demos from a recent class.

And here's another quick demo from one of my earlier classes.

I was amused to see another teacher try to copy my lessons, based on my photos that I posted to Facebook. I didn't post many photos of my demo in progress and I didn't explain my painting process in detail in my posts, so the knock-off lessons do not produce the same great results that my students get in my classes.

Be sure to choose the right teacher and don't waste your time and money on copycats. Click on my CALENDAR page to see my schedule of upcoming classes and workshops.

This month I'm exhibiting my plein air paintings at the Chadds Ford Historical Society. This winter event was limited to 20 artists, and the top plein air artists from around the country vied to get juried in. Be sure to stop in and see the paintings, through the end of this month.

posted by Annie Strack @ 11:55 AM   1 Comments

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winter Plein Air in Chadds Ford

I've been painting away during the Winter Plein Air event hosted by the Chadds Ford Historical Society. The opening reception was last night, and tons of paintings quickly sold. There are still plenty of gorgeous paintings remaining on display and for sale at the Barn on Creek Road through the end of March. 
On the last day of the event, artists were allowed to paint from inside the Brandywine Museum of Art. Here I am, with with my painting buddies Randall Graham and Yvonne Mucci. 

Every time I go out to paint I run into someone I know! It was wonderful to meet up with N. Taylor Collins at the museum!

Jerry's Artarama of Wilminton, Delaware, provided all the plein air artists with a wonderful swag bag of awesome goodies!
It was so cold and windy on Friday that I stayed in my car to paint. 

My painting of the Brandywine River.
I taught a class on Thursday morning, so I got a late start on the plein air. My first painting was this oil of the Route 1 junction sign, right in front of the historical society.
This painting was the first to sell, and I forgot to get a good photo of it before it was gone. 

posted by Annie Strack @ 7:03 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Teaching here, there, and everywhere

I had a full schedule last week with teaching a workshop at Maris Grove and starting the new semester at the Community Arts Center. 
At Maris Grove, we worked on winter landscapes and finished a new painting each day of the class.

All of my students created awesome paintings!
This is my 4th year teaching at the Community Arts Center, and some of my students have been taking my classes since the beginning. It's always nice to come to class and see familiar faces!

in the upcoming months I'll be teaching workshops in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Be sure to check out my CALENDAR page for the latest schedule!

posted by Annie Strack @ 9:06 AM   0 Comments

Sunday, January 7, 2018

new paintings, classes, and workshops!

It's been so cold the last couple of weeks that I haven't stepped foot outside. I've been keeping warm in my studio and painting in my Carnet sketchbook from Hahnemuehle. 

My winter semester classes start this Thursday at the Community Arts Center in PA. I'm looking forward to seeing all my students again, and getting them started on new projects to learn new techniques. I also have a watercolor painting workshop this week at Maris Grove in Pennsylvania, and I'm offering the option of letting students rent palettes and brushes from me. We'll see how that works out. 
I've also added new workshops in South Carolina, New Jersey, and other locations for the upcoming months -- be sure to check out my CALENDAR page for the complete schedule!

posted by Annie Strack @ 2:17 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Plein Air Essentials for Watercolor Painters!

I paint en plein air often and teach classes and workshops, and my new students often ask me what gear they need to come join me on these excursions. I first started painting outdoors back in the early eighties, when I worked as a State Game Warden in the Florida Everglades. Back then, I kept a small box with my painting supplies in the back of my truck so I could sketch and paint the landscape around me.

Later, when I lived in California I organized some artist friends to join me on weekends to paint the breathtaking scenery of the valleys and coastlines. Back then, we called it painting outside or paint outs -- "plein air" was not used as a noun until recent years.

The supplies I carry with me haven't changed much over the decades. Paint, brushes, and water are the essentials. I prefer pan watercolors, such as this set of Mission Gold paints. I keep a penknife, pencil, eraser, sandpaper, salt, and travel brushes inside the folding palette. The travel brushes have self-storing handles that protect the brush when not in use. I like to use a watercolor easel such as this one, but when I was younger I would just sit on the ground and hold my painting on my lap as I worked.

I show a selection of water containers in this photo, and they all have one thing in common -- they collapse. The dog bowl holds enough water to paint a larger painting, or the smaller camping cup can can be tucked in a bag with a sketchbook to be handy for impromptu sessions. The red rectangle in this photo is a value finder. Looking through it helps artists to see values, and both in their subject and in their painting.

The right paper is a major component of painting. I like a small sketchbook such as this spiral bound one from Hahnemuehle for sketching on the go and small studies. For full size plein air paintings, I use 140 paper mounted in block form, such as this 12x16 block of Cezanne paper from Hahnemuehle.

Annie Strack teaching plein air painting in Spain

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posted by Annie Strack @ 11:04 AM   0 Comments

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Come take a tour of my studio!

Come take a tour of my studio! It's cold outside, and I've got hot coffee and cookies.

posted by Annie Strack @ 1:34 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hahnemuehle Sketchbook!

Happy holidays! I have a coupole of weeks off from my teaching and exhibit schedule, and I'm using the time to play with some of the awesome sketchbooks from Hahnemuehle paper. 

posted by Annie Strack @ 3:03 PM   0 Comments

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