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September 2013



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Art tip #70 announcement...

Almost forgot to post my announcement letter from last week...if you're already signed up on my website to receive these, you'll have seen all this already, but if not--here 'tis!  Lots of new links to explore...

And sorry, I have NO idea why doing this messes up the formatting...I hope you can read it without too much irritation!  It looks mostly OK in the draft, but not when it posts, so it's hard to fix...


Hello, all, and welcome to all our new members!

Tip #70 is up on the website, this time on painting light in landscape.
Having just returned from Virginia, where I got to do a lot of painting on
the spot, the subject was fresh in my mind.

Painting light is always a challenge, and always exciting...I'm in love with

The weather for my trip was wonderful, not at all like a normal late June in
Virginia, which usually rivals my own state for heat and humidity--but then we've
had great weather, too!  Feels good to be out working in it...60 degrees and
sprinkling, right now. I got to see two little bear cubs (and just remembered in the nick of time
NOT to try to get close enough for a better photo of the one at the Izaak
Walton League--I had no idea where Mama Bear was, and didn't really want to
find out!).  We also saw two young bucks in velvet not a block and a half
from my sweetheart's house (after watching for them on all the backroads!),
and all the gorgeous country you can imagine. Blue mountains, deep woods, clear, shallow rivers, charming little towns...I had a ball (well, if my sweetie hadn't fallen and hurt himself the first day...),
and plenty of chances to observe light on landscape!  One of the paintings in this tip was done sitting on the banks of the Shenandoah River...


Painting in public is interesting...people are naturally curious, and the
range of responses are as varied as they are themselves.  Some just watch
from a distance, reluctant to disturb your concentration, some engage you in
conversation about what you're doing or about making art in general, and
some surprise you, as did a park volunteer at Virginia's Andy Guest
Shenandoah River State Park.  He asked if I'd mind if he photographed me
working, to demonstrate the many ways of enjoying the beauty of the site,
and I was delighted to oblige (particularly since he wasn't photographing my
face! He shot from over my shoulder! *G*)

It's a wonderful park with blue vistas, lots of shelterhouses, camping, the
river, and a wealth of wildflowers...if you're in Virginia, visit!

The finished painting is the first one in tip #70 .


Travel journals are a wonderful, lasting resource--we form a relationship
with place and time that is much deeper than that possible with a
point-and-click camera that captures the scene in a fraction of a second.
I've filled many pages with my impressions of the places I've been, from
nearly finished work to quick gesture sketches--and it's delightful to see
travel sketches by others, as well.

There are literally dozens of wonderful travel journal books, as well as
online examples.  One of my favorites is from an e-friend's recent trip to
Hong Kong.  Casey's sketches are quick, fresh, and energetic, and as close
as I will probably ever get to experiencing this exotic city.  Scroll down
to mid-June to find some lovely examples...


Speaking of travel journals, my dear friend Laura Frankstone's travel
sketches have been accepted into a show of such works, in FRANCE.  Laura
will get to go back to Paris for the show, and I'm delighted for her...she
spent much of her childhood in that city, and feels at home there.  She
invites the rest of us to join her with her evocative sketches.

Here is her announcement for more details from her blog, Laurelines:

But check out her album of travel sketches, which combines travels in the
Old World and the new, too...

Better yet, just bookmark her blog, you won't be sorry, and you WILL be
constantly inspired!


If you enjoy botanical art, you'll love the link below...the Missouri
Botanical Gardens has a wonderful assortment of online books, both old and
new.  I'm poking through the Elizabeth Blackwell book, "A Curious Herbal,"
from 1739, at the moment.

(Interestingly I was given this link to a fascinating site in my own state
by an email friend in Australia--go figure!)


I've been enjoying my little sampler journal that I made using a variety of
papers, including black and tan among the various more traditional
watercolor papers.  If you haven't tried binding your own books, I
recommend it highly--it's wonderful having the paper YOU like and want to
experiment with.

There are all sorts of techniques for making your own, from a super-simple
ring binding (someplace like Kinko's can even do it for you, with paper you
supply), to pamphlet binding, to the more complex but wonderfully sturdy
traditional hard-cover binding that I prefer.

For lots of information on the art and craft of bookbinding, check out
http://philobiblon.com/bonefolder/  Downloadable e-books, even!

For supplies:

Talas in New York City was recommended to me by a bookbinding friend, and
they have a wonderful range of materials--find them online at

But of course most of the big art supply places now offer bookbinding
supplies as well--I've bought much of mine from Daniel Smith, one of my
favorite online art suppliers.  They even sell kits, if you'd prefer to get
started that way, and you can certainly find all the papers you'd ever want.

If you'd like to see some examples of art done in the little sampler
journal (and some of my own travel journal sketches!), they're in my Flickr
album, here:


Work continues on the rehab project, and it's beginning to look like human
beings could actually utilize it again!  The drywall is going on, now, and
the insulation is in place in at least two rooms; much of the wiring has
been replaced, and a good thing, too!  Mark discovered that the OLD wiring
had been left where it was, and it was still hot.  Ack...

More of the old lath and plaster was removed while I was out of town, so my
job since coming home has been picking up as much of it as I can to clear
room to work.  I would have sworn we were through with that part, except for
the one room where we're currently storing all the woodwork and tools, but
I've shoveled up 15+ 5-gallon buckets of old plaster and
debris, and filled two 55-gallon trash cans and a wheelbarrow with lath.  (I
keep telling myself that as long as it stands the house will NEVER again be
this filthy!)

Yahoo photo albums are closing, but until I get mine moved to a new site,
the progress is here, for those who are keeping up with the transformation:


While I was on vacation, I got a new assignment from Watercolor Magic, to
write a guest article for the December issue of their new Creativity
Workshop column--I'm enjoying putting it together and thinking of ways to
illustrate it.  But now, best get back at it--J. is coming on the 3rd, and I
want to have it mostly finished before he gets here!


I hope you are all enjoying early summer as much as I am...there is so much
to paint and draw...

Kate (Cathy Johnson)

Original art  http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/cathyjohnsonart
Artists' CDs & More  http://www.cafepress.com/cathy_johnson/
Art & tutorials  http://www.flickr.com/photos/25146557@N00/
Artist's blog  http://katequicksilvr.livejournal.com/



thanks for all the great info!
You have such a wonderful and informative blog. I keep trying to post a comment but it doesn't go through, so am sending another test...
dee farnsworth
Hi Dee! I have mine set up to screen anonymous (non-LJ) comments, but I didn't see anything before this one--how frustrating!

Thank you for the kind words--I always enjoy your blog, too. I'll miss your weather blog if you decide to stop doing that! http://deefarnsworth.blogspot.com/

My future in-laws live close to you, more or less, so it's fun keeping up with their weather through you, and your work is gorgeous...


Thanks back at you regarding the kind comments. I figured out that I just need to sign in as anonymous to comment.
I 'm still doing the weather sketchbook... Sometimes it keeps me from working on a bigger piece though, plus I have to make a new book. Meanwhile I'm using Aquabee super deluxe which is nice for watercolor sketches. great lift-off opportunities.
Oooh, sorry, I didn't realize that! I wish it weren't such a hassle--Katherine Tyrrell told me she just gave up...

And yes, I know what you mean...I journal frequently, and haven't done a large watercolor for AGES. Of course I can't scan anything large, and have better luck reproducing from scans, so I usually work 9 x 12 or smaller. I lose a bit of the border, even that size, but I can't find a nice 8 x 10 or 8 1/2 by 11 WC block...

I like Aquabee, too!