I am often asked how I begin my Continual Line Contour Drawings. I usually start at the top and work my way down on the left side, and back up on the right side. I am conscious of not closing in the entire subject. It is important to leave open edges.
Keeping open edges allows the eye to move in and through the drawing freely. In the sketch you will notice a dot where I began and where I finished. Once I put the pen on the paper, I don't lift it until the drawing is finished. The image becomes a little distorted but I think that is part of its charm.
In the photograph I show the still life set-up, then the contour drawing, and the final stage with watercolor. This is a demonstration of how I use watercolor with a continual line contour drawing. I use Tombow pens
for the drawing because they are filled with water-based ink that dissolves nicely when I paint watercolor over it. The color I prefer is a burnt sienna. Another reason I like to use these pens is because the drawing is less prominent than it is with waterproof pens. This is a wonderful warm-up exercise.
Walter Foster Books By Brenda SwensonKeeping a Watercolor Sketchbook Steps to Success in Watercolor Discover Watercolor Sketching
Watercolor sketch of Collioure, France. By Brenda Swenson.
In early June I traveled to Southern France to teach a sketching with watercolor workshop. The nine people in my group were all from the United States. Our home away from home for two weeks was the beautifully restored residence named Montfaucon, in the small town of Limoux. Historic records to this building go back to the mid 1300s. In the evening we either dined at Montfaucon with lavish meals prepared by local chefs or dined at one of the many outstanding restaurants in the area.
Each day we traveled to nearby villages, fortified cities, open markets, castles, and wineries. In the morning I would give a brief lesson either in the studio at Montfaucon or when we arrived on location. Some of the lessons I covered were light and shadows, edge quality, perspective, design, format, and vignettes. The locations we sketched at were the seaside town of Collioure, the medieval village of Minerve, the fortified city of Carcassone, Camon (the rose village), Rennes-le-Chateau, Gorge de Galamus, and more. There are just too many wonderful places to see and explore in just two weeks! We had so much fun. I plan to return!
If you are interested in attending one of Brenda’s workshops, follow this link for her 2010 and 2011 schedule. Locations vary significantly. http://www.swensonsart.net/events.html
The group of workshop participants, in France. Brenda Swenson on the right.
To see more of Brenda’s watercolor paintings, go to http://www.swensonsart.net/gallery.html
Walter Foster books written by Brenda Swenson include Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook
, Steps to Success in Watercolor
, and Discover Watercolor Sketching
The Absinthe Drinkers or Les Absintheurs
, is a film that has evolved over the past two years into more than a passing creative fancy. It has become a collaboration of actors, producers and many people who believe in the power of art and of the creative process.
Absinthe was the drink of choice for Parisians in the 1890s. Phylloxera had wiped out all the vineyards, and the cheapest alcohol was this medicinal wormwood concoction. It inspired madness and genius for the great talents of Montmartre. And our protagonist, Artemisia, finds herself painting in the midst of it, surrounded by the likes of Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, and Erik Satie.
The concept of The Absinthe Drinkers
began several years ago, over a wonderful dinner in Tuscany with my husband, John Jopson, and a good bottle of local wine. Initially, the conversation was about an 18th century painting—much like my “Eduardo Gauteir” (below)—at auction. What stories that painting could tell—who was the artist and who was the subject? What if the painting came to life?
In creating paintings for the film, I am literally stepping inside the mind and world of Artemisia and Paris in the 1890s. What were her materials, her inspirations, passions, and challenges? It’s wonderful to imagine the struggles of a young woman painter of that era. Many struggles not unlike my own!
The cast of actors and others on board are committed—we are just waiting for final funding and financing for filming to begin. We are now hoping for production to start in the spring of 2011.
About two years ago we received financing to create a short film for promotion of the film. We filmed on location in the Tuscan countryside and in my Tuscan studio. Gaetano Guarino, our dear friend and brilliant Italian actor, was cast as the role of Eduardo Gautier—the unscrupulous art dealer who, in the end, betrays Artemisia.
My Tuscan studio was turned into a movie set and rearranged and dressed to look like an art dealer's office. As we filmed I made several sketches and took many photos. It is from these references I created "Eduardo Gautier".
"Eduardo Gautier" was painted on linen with oil paints. It was recently exhibited at the Salon International Exhibit and won the top prize in the Figurative Category and placed in the jurors’ top 30 at the Salon International Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas.
To see more of Caroline’s work, go to carolinezimmermann.com
Caroline has several of her latest paintings on display at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach, California, through August 31, 2010.
Caroline has contributed to the following Walter Foster books: Oil and Acrylic: Still Lifes, Oil Painting Step by Step, and Beginner’s Guide: Get Started Painting.
Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an artist. I always drew well, and my father, a third generation artist, encouraged my aspirations. I continued to pursue art throughout high school, but after graduating, I realized that neither my parents nor I could afford a formal art education. So I did what I had to do; I got a job and went to work. Art became a distant memory as I moved on with my life, married, and had four children.
I used my artistic talents around my home—decorating and redecorating—but knew there was always something missing from my life. After a close friend showed me a painting he had done, I decided to once again try my hand at fine art. I had never painted before, so I grabbed the cheapest and most practical thing in the art store, which was acrylic paints (oil paint didn’t make sense with four small kids in the house, and my lack of free time). I did my first painting, and saw that this might be something that would let me express all those creative ideas that had been dormant for the last 10 years.
I continued to paint as often as I could, and tried to increase my knowledge by reading anything and everything I could get my hands on. I used experimentation, and trial and error to hone my talents. As my confidence increased, I joined a local art group, and had some success in their shows. Next I began entering competitions that I found in art publications. There too, my success grew. Now after 15 years of painting, I can say that I have shown my work all over the United States and have had many solo exhibitions.
As a figurative realist, I have found myself alone when it comes to the use of acrylic instead of oil paint, but it works best for me. Now go discover the ways to express your creative side that work for you. You may end up with a brush in your hand and a masterpiece on your canvas.
Women have made tremendous contributions to the world of art over the centuries, but their names in history are not nearly as well known as those of Monet, Picasso and other famous male artists. The Long Beach Museum of Art in Long Beach, California, has one of the largest collections of works by women in the nation—almost 25 percent of its inventory. The average American museum devotes only six percent of its collection to female artists.
Several prestigious museums across the United States are currently featuring the works of women in their 2010 exhibits, providing wonderful opportunities for the art enthusiast to see both contemporary and historical art created by women.
The Long Beach Museum of Art is ending its 60thanniversary celebration with A Light in the Shadow—Decades of Art by Women. The exhibit will feature 60 works of art by women from the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibit will run through January 2, 2011.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City ran its first women-artists-only exhibit in 1995 when a female photographer was in charge of an “Artist’s Choice” series. The demographic of the museum has changed dramatically since then. The MoMA is currently running two exhibitions featuring female artists—one, through March 21, 2011, titled Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography and Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions, 1940 to Now, which runs through August 16, 2010.
The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, will be exhibiting Women of Chrysler: A 400-Year Celebration of the Arts through July 18, 2010. Admission to this show—featuring paintings, sculptures, photographs, silver works and more—is free.
You can go to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., anytime to see more than 3,000 works of art by women in its permanent collection. This summer NMWA is featuring several female artists, with works ranging from those of contemporary artists to the engravings of a fifteenth century French woman. The NMWA is the only museum in the world that shows the work of female artists exclusively.
Lee Bontecou. Welded steel, porcelain, wire mesh, canvas, wire, and grommets. 2010 Lee Bontecou. Currently on display at the MoMA.