Art Tutorial: Gouache Ghosts

This weekend we had a Halloween bash at the local gallery, where we all gathered for some pumpkin painting, trick or treating, a story of where the Jack ‘o Lantern originates, and I gave a small class on creating gouache ghosts.

I’ve been painting gouache ghosts for over a year now, since I first discovered the wispy, smoky quality of white gouache on a damp black background. In fact, one of my first paintings entered in a show was called The Guide, and was a result of that initial discovery. Continue reading “Art Tutorial: Gouache Ghosts”

Lessons in Treeship: Indigo Autumn

Indigo Autumn started out as a handmade zine, but eventually became a full-fledged project, one that took several hours to complete.

I have always loved the idea of hand-making miniature books, bound and un-bound, with original art inside. I enjoy having this form of “interactive art” in my portfolio.

At first these miniature books (folded zine-style, though can I still call them zines?) were just a fun side project for me to play around, but the love I got for them hasn’t gone unnoticed. So I’ve decided that I’ll be introducing a new miniature book and/or zine as often as I can. Because not only are they fun to make, but they’re fun to flip through over and over again.

Indigo Autumn was one of these projects. I started out with an 11×14 sheet of Arches cold press, very finicky to fold as you can probably guess, and I chose a main color for the book. Indigo.

Each page has indigo, in the sky, in the landscape. The trees are indigo. And I wanted to somewhat personify the trees, or give them a human-like quality, in that they each have a friend to grow beside. Each of these lessons in “treeship” are based upon a different story, which I feel can only be interpreted by the viewer.

After I painted my trees, I went through the whole book and painted black gouache around the images to give it a more finished look. Then I un-folded the book and painted a full-sized 11×14 painting on the blank side. I didn’t take a photo of this backside, nor did I scan it. I want the buyer to be totally–and pleasantly–surprised.

Indigo Autumn is available here. Be on the lookout for several others in the “Lessons in Treeship” series.

I’ve also added a “mystery zine” product to my Etsy. Each book is approximately 4×3 inches and is a total surprise. Meaning, you don’t know what you’re going to get until you open the package! But each one is handmade, just like Indigo Autumn, and is hand-painted/illustrated. Check them out!

Until next time, I hope your home is warm and your yard is filled with autumn leaves.

New Process Video: Day & Night

Interesting story behind this piece. My goal was to do just a basic process video to get back into the swing of, well, making process videos. So I cut the last of my Arches cold press–still warped from the rain during Porchfest–into two pieces that were approximately 5.25×10 inches each. Even after I’d taped them down I still wasn’t sure what I was going to paint on them, but that’s pretty normal for me. Still, I knew I wanted it to be something simple, something short.

That’s not what happened.

Instead, these two paintings emerged from an idea I’d been mulling over for the last several weeks, and took me a collective 5 hours or so over the course of two days. Once they were complete, I felt as though I’d finished something powerful and important to me. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t stop looking at them! Is it pride? Can an artist be proud of her own work? Or is that an ego thing?

Anyways, I recorded all of it wooo!

Day & Night was painted with gouache and watercolors on cold press. I used the same colors on each side, simply adding white to the colors for Day and black to the colors for Night. The only real difference was the orange moon I used for Night, which went well as a complementary color to Day’s blue sun.

I see winter in the left. I see an October night on the right. Maybe these paintings emerged from not just an idea, but from the feelings I have about this fleeting October, and about the coming winter. I’m not sure. What I do know is that I wanted to create something of a yin-yang in the form of two landscapes.

Day & Night is still available on my Etsy shop. The two paintings are sold as a set and can be bought framed or un-framed. Interested in purchasing Day & Night? Click here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Have a great weekend, and if you’re in our area, stay warm!

Exhibition Showcase: What’s On the Wall at Runge Nature Center (Part One)

Summer was a slow go for me as an artist, which is why these last few weeks have felt like a whirlwind. Between framing 40 pieces for shows, speaking at the local gallery, giving classes, creating pieces for auctions, and even making a few sales here and there, it’s hard to recall what it was like during swim season, when my busiest day was heading to the fairgrounds to drop off mine and several other artists’ pieces for the State Fair.

No complaints here, though! I would much much rather it be super busy than super dead. Now I can shed the impostor syndrome and work to dig myself out of the no-sale rubble, and perhaps strengthen my platform as I update my new site and hold giveaways on social media.

And despite it all, I still found time to blog so wooo! Glad you’re here with me.

I thought I’d do something of an “exhibition showcase” and talk about each of the pieces that are on the wall at Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, MO, for those of you who live in other states/countries and can’t make it in, or for those of you who did visit and want to know the story behind one of the paintings you saw.

Most of the originals for these pieces are still available for purchase. They come off the wall on October 28th, and if they’re purchased before then they will be shipped in their frame. I will literally lift the painting off the wall, wrap it in bubble wrap, and ship it off to its new home.

Prints, however, are available at any time, and are usually shipped within 2 days of purchase. Prints do not come with a frame, so if you’d like a frame, feel free to contact me through Etsy or my site and we can discuss.

 

Winter Moon

Watercolor | 11×14 | 2018-2019

The first piece I want to talk about is Winter Moon, as it’s considered the “star” of the show. I painted winter moon in either December 2018 or January 2019 (most likely January, as I recall the paint being a birthday present). I received a tube of Daniel Smith’s moonglow and decided the best way to first use it would be to paint a portrait of the moon.

The view in the painting is inspired by the view from my back door/window. I, of course, removed the highway and the shops/restaurants on the horizon. My hope was to possibly show what my backyard looked like before the city grew.

You can purchase Winter Moon here

Late Spring

Watercolor | 9×12 | 2018

Late spring is a piece I made while taking classes by Jean Lurssen. Her unique, abstract approach to landscapes inspired me to try them myself. This one is reminiscent of the bluffs by the river, lush with green, spring trees.

This piece has been around the city. It first debuted at an event before hanging on the wall of a local restaurant beside its sister piece, Like Shale.

You can purchase Late Spring here.

Like Shale

Watercolor | 9×12 | 2018

Like Shale is another piece I made while taking classes by Jean Lurssen. My goal for this painting was to create a scene reminiscent of the rock formations I might find while hiking in the Ozarks.

This piece, like Late Spring, spent some time at an event before hanging on the wall at a local restaurant. They are now hanging together at Runge.

You can purchase Like Shale here

Breath of Fresh Air (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Breath of Fresh Air was one of my “meditative” pieces, or what I would consider an entry to my Wordless Diary. I didn’t know what I was going to paint when I started, but once I finished I was floored by how much this looks like the heart and lungs! Total happy accident.

What is framed and hanging here is a print. The original is also still available.

You can purchase a print here.

You can purchase the original here.

Mother Cloud (Print)

Watercolor | 8×10 | 2019

Mother Cloud was a painting I thought up while dealing with the struggles of mothering a 6-year old with a whole lot of independence. I had the idea of a large, thunderhead cloud, with a much smaller cloud drifting away from it, and the mother cloud spreading as if to reach out to catch her child.

This piece was sold in its very first exhibition, but I have sold several prints since then. It seems to be one of my most popular pieces to date.

You can purchase a print of Mother Cloud here.

Sea Foam

Watercolor & Gouache | 11×14 | 2019

Sea Foam was inspired by an upcoming exhibition with beach-related themes, Maria Raczynska’s gorgeous seascapes, and by the song “Orinoco Flow” by Enya. I listened to the song often while painting this piece, and also listened to a few other ocean-related songs such as “Soul of the Sea” by Heart and “Caribbean Blue” by Enya.

This piece was a part of the Life’s a Beach show at the local gallery, and is now currently on display at Runge and is also currently part of an online show at SquidInk Gallery called “Visual Art Inspired by Music.”

A bit about the process: for a reference, I used a photo I took in Daytona Beach, FL. I used watercolor inks to add depth to my color, and used white gouache for my “foam.” More information about the “behind the scenes” of this piece can be found here.

Sea Foam can be purchased here.

Lavender Falls

Watercolor & Ink | 12×16 | 2019

Lavender Falls is a piece that started out with an idea, but took on a mind of its own soon after I began. At the time, I was very big on using the watercolor inks by Brea Reese, as well as various iridescent inks by Dr. Ph. Martin’s.

This painting was part of a professional exhibition in the spring, and spent some time at the local restaurant with a few of the others before heading over to Runge.

You can purchase Lavender Falls here.

Amethyst Dawn II

Watercolor & Gouache | 11×14 | 2019

Amethyst Dawn II was a painting inspired by a painting inspired by another class by Jean Lurssen. In her class, she showed us how to use a palette knife to “spatter” white gouache and make abstract flowers. I tried it immediately, using my Brea Reese watercolor inks and white gouache and the painting sold within a few hours after I finished it. With so much love given to the first painting, I decided to make a second painting with the same colors and techniques.

You can purchase Amethyst Dawn II here.

Amethyst Dawn (Print)

Watercolor & Gouache | 8×10 | 2019

Amethyst Dawn was the first of the two pieces that were inspired by the Jean Lurssen class, in which she showed us how to use a palette knife to make rocky textures and to spatter white gouache in order to make flowers. The original painting was created with Brea Reese watercolor inks and M. Graham white gouache, and sold hours after it was complete.

If you’d like to buy a print of Amethyst Dawn, you can go here.

Vineyard at Sunrise

Gouache | 11×14 | 2019

Vineyard at Sunrise was another improvised piece. I gave it a zendoodle-like approach, in that I did not plan anything, and simply painted patterns and colors while remaining present and refusing to shape the piece into anything remotely figurative until the very end.

You can purchase Vineyard at Sunrise here.

Late Summer Blues

Watercolor | 11×14 | 2019

Late Summer Blues is one of my favorite pieces to date. I love the colors, the warm browns with the indigo. I love the starry pattern the salt made at the bottom. There wasn’t much planning to this piece. It came from the heart. I used a large brush to get the flowy washes, and a calligraphy pen (loaded with watercolor) to get the finer lines.

Late Summer Blues has sold. Thanks so much to the buyer!

Tundra (Print)

Watercolor & Ink | 8×10 | 2018

Tundra was an experiment I did on a watercolor board in winter 2018. My goal was to create interesting textures and patterns with inks as they melded into one another. Not long after, the original piece was damaged, but luckily I had already scanned it, and it makes a gorgeous print.

If you’d like to buy a print of Tundra, you can head here.

Hope you have enjoyed reading about these twelve pieces. If you’d like to continue reading, head on over to my Runge Exbition Showcase part 2.

Process Video: Cerulean Sea

You might remember a month or so ago, when I was prepping for the “Life’s a Beach” show at the local gallery, and I painted a piece I named “Sea Foam.” While I was working on it, I knew I had to give it a much larger, “sister” painting. Not long after the beachy-themed show began, I picked up a large sheet of Arches paper from the hobby store and headed home to get it prepped. Continue reading “Process Video: Cerulean Sea”

Painting With Nature

The bottom left-hand texture of this painting was created with leaves

I started my Wednesday morning with some hot coffee, a Bobby Darin record, and watercolor videos. A few of them were more meditative, which reminded me of how much I myself love this technique. Meditative art–or at least my definition of it–is when you paint/create with having no idea what you are going to come up with. You start with one or two colors, one brush, and just, go with the flow.

See what I did there?

Meditative painting is how I’ve been filling my Wordless Diary, as it is a great way to get my thoughts/feelings down onto paper, without trying to put what said thoughts/feelings are into words. I often feel better after finishing a wordless entry, than I do after writing two pages of whiny nonsense.

Wordless Diary Entries

I’ve been feeling a bit meh lately, and so I decided I needed a good meditative/wordless session. And as I was filling an empty cherry jar with water, I noticed Goo’s flowers from her recital by the window. One of the roses had wilted, and the loose petals were just begging to be plucked. I took a few, along with two or three tiny leaves. My goal was to stamp their patterns into the painting somehow.

The first painting was a major flop–as the first painting tends to be, because I’m “clearing the cobwebs” so to speak–but the next painting flowed together much nicer. I switched between watercolors and pens. I just let my brain wander, and refused to worry about whether or not I was going to produce something extraordinary.

Tip: when doing a meditative painting like this, using scrap paper helps keep you worry-free

Flowers painted with rose petals and gouache

The leaves made pretty “stone” textures at the base of my hills, making me think of a rocky cliffside by the sea. The rose, however, didn’t do much. It was much too soft to paint wet-in-wet with, and even placing something heavy on top of it didn’t leave an imprint. I decided that once the painting was finished, I would try a bit of wet-on-dry with gouache. And it worked nicely!

I have used bits of foliage here and there in previous paintings, but I think I’ll start a whole collection of natural tools. Rocks, sticks, dead flowers, to name a few. Should be fun!

Materials Used:

Daniel Smith watercolors (indigo and Aussie red gold)

-Brea Reese watercolor in (lake blue and pink)

-Winsor & Newton Designer’s Gouache (white)

-Scrap cold press paper

-Mixed media paper

 

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All images/videos ©Lina Forrester

The Ghost Series

“Ghost” Watercolor & Gouache on Hot Press

I recently had a conversation with a fellow artist on Twitter about adding gouache to watercolor paintings. Honestly, I’d tried to avoid the own subject in my mind because the whole idea of adding another medium to an already established medium seemed complicated. What colors would I use? Why? What could gouache give me that watercolor couldn’t? This particular artist said he would use white gouache to add highlights, and that made so much sense! I suddenly had a flood of ideas, but one in particular kept pestering me:

What if I added white gouache to Payne’s Grey watercolor, and let the white drip down to make a ghost? I imagined the gouache flowing, trickling down the deep blue-gray shade, giving my ghost eerie tendrils, and I couldn’t wait to give it a try!

The results were way cooler than I could have imagined. Continue reading “The Ghost Series”