Monday, January 29, 2007

Back from the Workshop

Well I'm back from the workshop. Prince Charles didn't show up, but the workshop was great! If you are interested in painting realism in watercolor I highly recommend studying with James Toogood. He is an excellent instructor and is very good at explaining watercolor techniques - not only how to use them, but also why they work. He also is sensitive to each student's artistic goals and targets his individual remarks accordingly.

Now normally I wouldn't show a workshop painting to anyone, except maybe my husband and parents. Taking a workshop is all about trying new things. It might mean trying new painting techniques, new subject matter, new paints or all of the above! All of that experimenting typically results in some pretty... let's just say... interesting paintings. And although they may be mighty interesting, they are not necessarily something I'd share freely.

During this workshop I painted a white porcelain teapot sitting on a box draped with dark fabric. My goals were to capture the dramatic darks in the fabric and the colors being reflected in the pot. And while this isn't my favorite painting ever, I like it enough to put it here to show you how I spent my weekend.

So here's my teapot. I hope you like it too.

Approx 6.5" x 7"
Transparent watercolor
copyright Stacy L. Rowan

Friday, January 26, 2007

James Toogood Workshop

I won't be posting here this weekend because I will be too busy painting. Yay!!
My Dad and I are attending a watercolor workshop led by James Toogood. Dad has taken classes from him before, but this is my first time. I do have Mr. Toogood's book, Incredible Light & Texture in Watercolor, and have been reading it to prepare for the workshop. He appears to be very knowledgeable about paints and pigments - a topic I want to learn more about. So hopefully it will be an informative and fun weekend. And hopefully Dad and I won't get stuck in any traffic chaos caused by Prince Charles and Camilla. Turns out they are also going to be in Philadelphia, but not at the workshop. (At least I don't think so - if I'm wrong, I'll try to get an autograph.)

Lilacs - watercolor
Prints available
See "My Art Gallery" link on right
copyright Stacy L. Rowan

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Children's Art Projects

Okay, this post is for all of you who are parents of young children or who are just kids at heart. If you are looking for some cool art projects to do with your kids, I recommend you zip right over to the Crayola® website. This is a fantastic and fun website which has literally hundreds of ideas for kids crafts. You can find crafts for any holiday or celebration and crafts to do for no reason at all. There are also coloring pages, online activities and of course an online store if you need any supplies. Plus, for any of you that are teachers or home school your children, there is a large collection of lesson plans all which are free to use.

I suggest you check out the art projects first. You will need to register (not to worry, it's free), then click on the "For Parents" tab. Next click on the "Arts and Crafts" button. This will bring up a page where you can search for a project by type of craft, theme or product. Each project page lists the materials you will need and gives step-by-step instructions as well as a photograph of a completed project example.

So, maybe you are wondering how I know so much about the Crayola website... Well, in the name of full disclosure, I will tell you that I am a freelance artist for Crayola. I create art using their products. The art that I create is used on product packages, for trade shows or on their website. So far I have created cards, ornaments, sculptures, and different drawings and paintings using a multitude of Crayola products. I have to admit it is a fun job, but somebody has to do it.

In fact, this week I am working on three separate projects using their new Squeezables™ product. Squeezables are liquid crayons. You squeeze the tube and a thin line of color comes out. It is kind of like decorating a cake. (Okay, I admit I have never decorated a cake, but I've seen it done on TV and it looks the same to me.) My projects will be used at an upcoming trade show. Unfortunately I don't think I can post them here, but if they ever make it onto the online projects list, I promise to share a link.

And if you are really dying to see some of my Crayola art, check out the Crayola Cutter™ Pop-Up Cards kit the next time you are out. The birthday card on the back of the package...that was mine.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Pen and Ink Class

Today I signed up for a Pen & Ink class being offered by the local community college. Dave Sullivan is teaching the class and he is a P&I master. I met him online at Wet Canvas where he offers some great tutorials. A while ago I tried an inking technique called stippling and loved it. Since then I have wanted to try more pen work but haven’t managed to squeeze it in around my other projects. This 6 session evening class is the perfect motivation. And since it is offered through the community college the price is right. It should be fun! I’ll let you know.
Here is a stippling piece that I did. It is not quite finished, but close.

copyright Stacy L. Rowan

Saturday, January 13, 2007

All Work and No Art...

...makes me a grumpy girl. Today I spent all day taking down Christmas decorations. sigh. Yes, I know most people did this chore last weekend, but last weekend I was busy drawing (and was far happier I might add). So I had to do it today. sigh.
This is what I wanted to be working on.

It is my drawing of the Waterworks building in the Moravian Industrial Quarter in Bethlehem, PA. It is also the drawing for my latest watercolor painting. You may wonder why I did the drawing in red pencil, but the red pencil was actually used for tracing. I always complete my drawing on regular drawing paper and then transfer it to watercolor paper after the drawing is done. I do this because erasing on watercolor paper can damage the paper and change the way the erased area takes paint.

I transfer the drawing with graphite transfer paper. (Make sure if you do this you use graphite paper and not carbon paper for the tranfer. You can test your transfer paper by trying to erase transferred lines. Lines from graphite paper will erase. Lines from carbon paper will not.)

I use a red marking pencil, the kind your teacher used to use, to do the tranfer because the marking pencil has a hard lead and because I can easily tell which lines haven't been transferred yet.

I hope to have time to work on this painting tomorrow. After I finish packing up the rest of those decorations. sigh.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Art History

I thought I would provide you with some background information about me. I am a bit of a late bloomer. As a kid I never progressed past the standard kids drawings and art class in school. But I did enjoy watching my dad draw and looking through his large cabinet of art supplies.

When it came time to head off to college, I chose to major in chemical engineering. Yes, I know that may seem strange now, but ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you I am very analytical. Although, they might not phrase it so nicely. :)

Once I was settled in my career, I decided to take up a hobby. I remembered my attraction to Dad's art cabinet and decided to sign up for a drawing class at the local community college. I didn't know if I would enjoy drawing or have any skill at it, but it was something I wanted to try. And I was pleasantly surprised.

After the community college class, I took several more classes at the local art school before taking a break to enjoy the birth of my daughters. My dad brought me back to art a couple of years later by convincing me to take a watercolor workshop with him. That was over 6 years ago and now I am completely hooked. Since the first workshop, I have taken several more, studied with local artists and participated in a fabulous online artist community.

So that's my art history. If anyone living near the Lehigh Valley is interested in seeing some of my work in person, I currently have two paintings in a group show at the Family YMCA of Easton. The YMCA is located at 1225 W. Lafayette Street in Easton, PA. The show runs through February 16th. My painting "Autumn Sunset" is in the show and is pictured below.

copyright Stacy L. Rowan

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


Welcome to my new blog!
As a way to introduce myself I thought I would start by explaining what creating art means to me. For me art is a way to stop and smell the roses and to encourage others to do the same. As people run through their busy lives they often miss moments of beauty...the way the sun highlights the white branches of a sycamore tree in winter, the hundreds of different green hues in a spring landscape, the quiet promise of an empty beach during a summer sunrise, a single leaf caught changing into its fall wardrobe. My goal as an artist is to capture these moments as I see them so I can remember them and share them with others. A simple wish perhaps, but one that brings me joy.

I hope you will come here often to see what moments I am capturing and sharing.

Copyright Stacy L. Rowan