The Other How-to

Lessons from Life on Planning Watercolors

Lessons from Life on Planning Watercolors

Planning an entire meal involves more than just knowing cooking techniques. Chances are, you’re all quite familiar with this sort of planning, so let’s see how it connects with planning watercolors.

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The “Other How-To”

The “Other How-To”

Like most people, I did some rapid “pivoting” (otherwise known as “flailing”) during 2020. It’s time for me to get back to the core mission of my teaching: to help you be more successful using watercolor as an artist, that is, to use watercolor to explore your own thoughts, ideas and emotions, record your responses to the world, share your experiences with others, or express something personally meaningful. That means learning to plan your own paintings, but how?

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How I Use Autodesk Sketchbook to Plan Changes to Paintings

How I Use Autodesk Sketchbook to Plan Changes to Paintings

Sketchbook Pro is a great tool for quickly planning changes to a painting in progress, and it’s free. This video introduces the small set of features I use in my planning process, so you can get started quickly without having to go through a lot of features you don’t need.

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My Cure for Winter Blues

My Cure for Winter Blues

Wild and garish? Sure, but I can always paint over it (or parts of it) later. For now, it has the same effect on me as opening a brand-new box of 64 Crayolas. Just what I needed to get me past the “winter blues”!

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Why Paint?

Why Paint?

Considering why you are painting, in general or this particular painting, can help you create work with more impact and get more enjoyment and satisfaction out of the process.

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Mining for Gems

Mining for Gems

When the Big Pile of Nope in your studio gets too big and discouraging, it’s time to go mining!

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The Lazy Way to Build Painting Confidence

The Lazy Way to Build Painting Confidence

This article is the third in a series. The preceding articles are: Is My Painting Done? Are You a "Photocopier"? There's a Better Way In response to the last article, a reader made a couple of excellent points about why it's sometimes difficult to deviate from a...

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Are You a “Photocopier”? There’s a Better Way

This article is the second in a series. To read the first article, "Is My Painting Done?", click here. In the next few articles in this series, I'll introduce some ideas you can use to help you plan paintings that are more expressive, powerful and meaningful to you....

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Is My Painting Done?

Is My Painting Done?

This article is the first of a series on creating more powerful, personal and expressive paintings. When I teach watercolor classes or workshops, there is often a moment where a student comes up to me, thrusts a painting into my face and demands: Tell me what's wrong...

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Jul 2019:  Finding Focus Working on Location

Jul 2019:  Finding Focus Working on Location

some strategies I use to manage the overwhelming amount of information when painting on location, so sketching enhances my enjoyment, instead of raising my stress level. And so I have a better chance of coming back with photos and sketches that I can actually use to create satisfying, personally meaningful paintings.

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Paint Shapes, Not “Things”

Paint Shapes, Not “Things”

Want your paintings to look unified? It helps to combine "things" into larger shapes, and then use smaller shapes to (partially) separate them. Here's an exercise to help you practice. First, set up a still life with a couple of simple objects. Avoid anything that has...

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What Makes a Good Painting?

What Makes a Good Painting?

That pesky inner critic! I don't know about you, but simply telling her to sit down and shut up doesn't work for me. Oh, I can get her to leave me alone. It just doesn't lead to paintings I'm happy with. I need my inner critic. We all need time to explore, experiment...

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