Friday, December 17, 2010

An oil painting from Capri at Marina Piccola

I loved Capri, wished I had stayed longer now. The little island has everything one needs to be happy, culture, cafes, mountains ocean, art. Here is an Oil I did of a little cove at Marina Piccola, much smaller than Marina Grande on the other side, which is what most people see first on arrival to the Isle of Capri. Marina Piccola is small, quiet, crystal clear water, boats great for painting, or renting! You could spend a whole lifetime dreaming just there. A small cat wandering around there reminded me that some creatures do just that!

One of My Students Watercolor Abstracts

I wanted to show these small watercolors by one of my students, Jody Holt, she shows a lot of promise and has come a long way from her early timid ways, to these fresh bold color studies. Bravo Jody! Keep painting

Oil Painting Class Materials

The range of quality pigments and brushes can be mind boggling and is all over the place, so I have narrowed this down a bit for you. I have been working all morning till my eyes have gone blurry on what to suggest for the JCA Oil painting class. I will assume that if you have painted before you already have a set of oils. Newcomers to oils may not even know if they will be committed to this enough to continue so naturally you don't want to spend a fortune to test the waters. So here is my basic suggestion for newcomers: go to for a simple set of
#9152 White Taklon, Set of 5
">5 brushes I have picked them out for you. Then got to Dick to get an
Introductory Set of 10 Colors
">introductory oil set border="0"/> for $55. Another choice and cheaper is a complete set
Daler-Rowney Graduate Oil Easel Set
">Daler-Rowney Graduate Oil Easel Set for $35. Also at Dick Blick , my favorite is a Deluxe Oil Painting Set">Gamblin Deluxe Oil Painting Kit with easel, it has everything for $149.99.

If you are shopping locally: Set of white nylons brushes -Flats #12,#4, #2, and rounds Filbert#4,#2, a Whale tale palette knife, Gamblin refined linseed oil, stand oil, Gamblin Gamsol pure odorless mineral spirits, four 8X8" Ray mar Boards to paint on or some canvas boards will do, disposable, a Strathmore paper palette tablet, and a small oil tub and brush cleaning bottle with a coil in it, for thinner, paper towels or rags.

Monday, December 13, 2010

To Clarify Class Schedules and Prices

Thank you CCPVB, JCA, and Reddi Arts -for hosting the 3 Locations in Jacksonville!
and to add a new theme for the Cultural Center PVB (ABSTRACTS!)
Cultural Center Ponte Vedra Beach,
50 Executive Way , Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 280-0614
7 Classes per session
Session 1 Watercolors
Tues- Jan.11 -Feb 22: 10 am- 1pm Member $202.50 Non-member $252
Prices reflect the 10% early Bird signup discount ending Jan 1
Session 2 Watercolors starts Mar 1- April 12 10% early registration discount ends Feb. 19.

(A CCPVB NEW CLASS!) ABSTRACTS Simple and Fun- Member $162 Non-member $202.50
Session 1 Abstracts starts Thursday Jan 13-Feb 24
Session 2 Abstracts Mar 3- April 14 10% early registration discount ends Feb. 19.

JCA - 730-2100 Jewish Community Alliance Jacksonville
8505 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32217
Watercolors 6 week class $102. members $153 non members
Session 1 Jan.10 -Feb 14 Mon- 10 am-12pm
Session 2 Mar. 7 -Apr 11 Mon- 10 am-12 pm
Oils 6 week class $102. members $153 non members
Session 1 Jan.10 -Feb 14 Mon- 1 am-3pm

Reddi Arts 1037 Hendricks Avenue
Jacksonville, Florida 32207
Session 1 Fridays 6 week class
January 14, 21, 28 and Feb 4, 11, 18
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Cost $195.00 per student (not including materials)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Color Mixing-a solution for the vexed

It came up in class that a student had trouble with color mixing. As my students rotate and some come and go at different times I thought it would be easy and handy to have access to a guide like this for all students who were wrestling with this to have as a primer guide. I discovered this Magic Palette Artist's Color Mixing Guide and found it is available at
Magic Palette Artist’s Color Selector and Mixing Guide
">Blick for $7.63 at 11 1/2" X 11 1/2" or 24" X 24" size is 20.80.

Magic Palette by The Color Wheel Co. - With Dee Solin

Todays Watercolor Demos-Wet on wet on Hot Pressed

These demos are to encourage you to use wetter color mixes and this in particular is on Hot Pressed which has the smoother surface, which has less water absorbency and creates unexpected accidents. So have fun.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Watercolor slide show

Landscapes in Florida

While I am always in search of the Ultimate Cafe, I live and work in Florida, and find the peace and solace of the north florida area to my liking. Here a a few watercolors below that I did in the Talbot Island area this year. I am also in search of the light and glow that make this area unique.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Am Always in Search of The Ultimate Cafe!

One of my favorite things to do after a watercolor in Europe, early in the day is to refresh myself with a great croissant or similar pleasure (usually -no, always involving eating! ) and coffee at the many wondrous variety of cafes there. Then I review the morning efforts. When I am inspired and the watercolor is flowing, my soul flies like Icarus. (Play any favorite great classical lyric here!) Then after seeking my next charming spot, ( preferably with a great place to sit ), I repeat the whole process and end with a night of wine and song. That is when I am closest to the concept of heaven!

Why Watercolor Works For Me

Painting in Europe, Venice, France and Italy when I was younger, but still intend to go again soon. So many wonderful places to paint there, so little time! Watercolors is my favorite medium to take, not too much to carry, easy to setup and break down, no need for easels the way I paint. Better than a photograph for me when I am done. We move so fast these days, plein aire is good for slowing down and really being in a moment in a place in time.

Watercolour Basics

Blick Presents: Why Artists Choose Arches Watercolor Paper

Friday, December 3, 2010

Inspiration to keep going

I picked up this quote from Carol Marine's post, and I thought it was very useful for all artists - it's by Steve Martin. "Consistent work enhanced my act. I learned a lesson: it was easy to be great. Every entertainer has a night when everything is clicking. These nights are accidental and statistical: like lucky cards in poker, you can count on them occuring over time. What was hard was to be good, consistently good, night after night, no matter what the circumstances."

Here are a couple of demos from the last watercolor class.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Watercolor Class: Tools For Ideas

Here are a few tools, some of which are often overlooked by the novice. I believe the sketchbook is a top priority yet the most ignored. The sketchbook was one thing my College art teacher required and it proved to be the most valuable thing I got out of school. The sketchbook is you, it represents your private interests, explorations, fascinations, and is a place to work out your compositions, skills, abstract notions, color ideas, subject ideas, philosophical ideas etc. It is not a diary. I prefer hardbound, but some may find that intimidating. I value my bad ideas as much as the good ones. I have a large collection of sketchbooks over the years and buried in them is a goldmine of ideas I haven't yet begun to realize. A sketchbook is a snapshot of your soul, and does not need to be shared. It is for your eyes only, so if you are concerned about being judged , by all means don't put it out there.
The binder is a collection of my favorite photos that I take myself then make prints and put into a book. When I am housebound and need to paint from a photo and need inspiration, it is my go-to resource. I am always working on that and weeding it out and freshening it up. Try to avoid using newspaper or magazine photos, though it is tempting at first. I would prefer you use your own photos. I like to keep lots of watercolor pads of different sizes and types so I can paint on any size and surface I wish. The Arches watercolor blocks are my favorite because they are good to go. I like to put a border of tape around the edge because I like the way it looks when finished, but it is not a requirement.

Watercolor Class: Art Tools Made Simple

Here is a photo of the tools list: Click on Picture to Enlarge
Kneaded eraser, plastic clays sculpt tool for scraping, X-acto knife, #2 pencil. Japanese sumi brush ( I like to use this Japanese brush because its so versatile, but it is not required , Blick sells an entire Bamboo Brush set for $20. I suggest that ). #12 , #4 , #2 Round Sable watercolor brush. White nylon brushes. Blick sells a set of 12 for $13. at different sizes, Hake brush 1" Blick sells these in singles or sets, just type in Hake Brushes). Salt and shaker (kosher makes larger effects regular salt finer snow-like effects), paper towels, a stable water cup, brush cloth or oriental straw style brush mat to keep brush tips safe, a palette for paint like in picture, if possible. Watercolor paints follow a color wheel, or suggested- Color Paints- Brands : Windsor Newton , Utrecht, Grumbacher, or Holbein paints are preferred (they have less fillers and high grade pigmentation ). Cadmium red, rose madder cerulean blue, Horizon blue, olive green, hookers green, sap green, burnt umber, raw umber, burnt sienna, cadmium yellow. Viewfinder, masking fluid, painter low tack tape, sponge. See the video above if you have questions about this paper and why you should use it. Order it from Blick Art Materials has great prices on these- Arches Watercolor Paper Blocks- 140 lb Hot Pressed and 140 lb Cold Pressed 10X14". I also can give 25% off Reddi Arts coupons in classes for those who like to shop for their supplies at Reddi Arts at 1037 Hendricks Ave. Jacksonville , Florida.

Watercolor Class Demos: landscape

Taking the previous exercises as starting points, here are some landscapes that take the value scale theme to the next level. Note the sense of where the light is coming from. A common mistake newcomers make is to have multiple light sources, which flattens the picture and confuses the viewer. Maintaining good rich clear colors with a strong light source adds snap to your watercolor.

For my regular watercolor students I would like to include some examples of past exercises we have done so you have this resource to help understand values and the way they relate to building form. The first image is a basic value exercise, to show the way color gradually falls in to darkness gradually as it moves away from the light. The next example is an exercise we did showing how this applies to a landscape when trying to create depth, and the third is an example of how we can use the same principle to create a sense of volume by applying this value scale to a sphere.

Watercolor Class Demo: Small Thumbnails

Often overlooked is the lowly thumbnail painting sketch. This kind of painting can help you when you are groping for ideas, or have an idea but are not sure how to compose it, or you are not sure how to work out the color combinations. Perhaps you are trying to take your painting to the next level and want to get looser with your work. When we are always in "masterpiece mode" our critical parent side kicks in and we can often freeze up, get artists' block. This is because we don't want to fail. Remember back when you were a child , your "adult " parent always complimented you when you did any art, and you were playful and had fun with your art. Unfortunately that side gets pushed down as we get older and enter a competitive critical adult world. No one likes to "fail" . The hard truth is the most successful people "fail" more than most of us because they try more than most of us. It is the juice behind the saying "practice makes perfect". I say this over and over again in class, but it cannot be said often enough. You cannot learn nearly as much from you successes as you can from your failures. It is the way you establish boundaries on your tastes and skills. In any case the thumbnail is a playful place, where you are not trying to create a masterpiece of detail, but a place to get a "BIG picture" a sense of distance on your theme, or a new perspective if you will, or just to warm up to and clarify an idea. You cannot fail on a thumbnail, because failure , or should I rephrase, experimentation is the whole point of a thumbnail. Then after warming up in a thumbnail, take what you have learned and new techniques you discover by accident, and apply that to your more serious work. I have seen some of my students create masterpieces by accident that were only 2" square!! You have much less emotional investment in a thumbnail, therefore allowing your child to come out and play. Play is how we learn, fear is how we truly fail.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Seasons greeting-" Beannacht "
On the day the weight deadens on your shoulders, and you stumble,
may the clay dance to balance you.
And when your eyes freeze behind the gray window,
and the ghost of loss gets into you,may a flock of colors indigo, red, green, and azure blue,
come to awaken in you a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays and the currach of thought,
and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters a path of moonlight to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow wind work these words around you,
an invisible cloak to mind your life.- John O'Donohue

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Screens for flexibly delineating space

I created this screen from luan wooden doors, and used the textured sculpture to paint the image of Kingsley plantation near Talbot Island Fernandina Florida. Screens can come in handy for breaking up a space without building permanent walls, and gives an artistic ambience to the room that no other kind of work can do. Its a sculpture, painting and divider in one!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Watercolour painting: from catastrophe to harmony

Upcoming videos and Art Newspapers

I will soon be posting some videos of my own unique watercolor technique, but I wanted to share these art networks and Art Newspapers for your reference library of learning tools. I am largely self taught but in truth no one is wise to be totally self taught. I have learned through years of study, and of course much practice. I have also had teachers and these have been of immense help to me, shaving years off my trial and error time.

Watercolor in Motion with Birgit O'Connor

My favorite Art Newspaper

I was thrilled to have this wonderful video art newspaper available to me on the internet. I read art magazines, but I love the way this "newspaper" brings the artists and their conversations to life as if visiting them in person. This a rare and wonderful resource for any artist interested in staying in touch with great minds in the currents of culture. Take a look from time to time as they change articles and artists interviews.

If Da Vinci where here

When I was in college I had many virtual conversations with the master Leonardo Da Vinci. I know it sounds crazy, but it seemed like he or his spirit was guiding me to reach higher. I recently discovered this video and newspaper and wanted to include it in my blog,. Note: the sayings at the top of the video, and imagine yourself in a conversation with the master.

Artdaily org The First Art Newspaper on the Net

Art Basel Miami Beach - What is art for?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I teach watercolors because I love them as an end in themselves, and because they are a poetic medium. They are also helpful in preparing for a large mural project. I will show this new watercolor, and though I did not use this particular one for the new mural I will post, I used photographs and sketches taken while in the Talbot Island area, for the mural reference. and this watercolor. So the personal adventures you take can produce a lot of material for all sorts of uses, so don't go anywhere without your sketch book and a camera!

I found my students in watercolor had a hard time when I was trying to get them to draw from their imagination a landscape, so I went back to basics with the still life then likened it to a landscape, or conversely a landscape is likened to a still life. You have to find a light source and the shapes are roughly based on the circle or sphere , (bushes trees are really in a sense a series of spheres) then I set them to work and got much more practical results. Here are some students working hard on that and my demo for the day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Artists frequently find themselves in a position of being called upon to be the attraction at an event, to liven up a wine tasting, fundraiser etc. There is nothing wrong with it, and it is great for everyone. A great use of imagination in marketing. I was doing a demonstration at an event for the Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach , Florida. The event was a fundraiser for them, and was to be held a the Casa Marina Hotel. Unfortunately for me I set up as predetermined outside on the patio. The weather turned windy and cold as the night progressed ( cold by Florida standards!) . Everyone that attended ended up at the wine bar (big surprise) and I was hammering away at the watercolor in the wind, with a few brave souls coming out to see me as I worked. At first I thought "What a bust!" but I decided to perservere, and get on with it. I started with a get it done and over with" attitude. As I got deeper into the watercolor though a transformation took place, I warmed up in spite of the wind, to the idea of getting this right under duress. It actually made me swift of stroke and edit to the point. I believe the watercolor was a success after all and I was proud and satisfied when finished and soon enough joined the others to drink and eat til full. The weather forced me to get too the point and it was an unforseen blessing. The point of the story is that great gifts can come in what seems to be disaster! Apply that lesson wherever you will, in life or in painting!
Cheers to art and passion.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Value of Texture in a mural

Texture adds a fascinating quality to a mural or wall art work. It is unmistakeably hand made in an age of easily digitally reproduced printed art . It requires considerably more skill to produce. It is appreciated for its tactile qualities by novice and professional alike. This mural was produced using artists gesso built up with a variety of tools , sculpting then staining to produce a monochromatic embossed effect.

Gordon Meggison's Art Blog

I am excited to bring new murals , fine artworks, and wall treatments to this blog and share with you my process over time.

NEW! WATERCOLOR CLASSES at Reddi Arts February Schedule 2021

A dventure in Watercolor!  A class for beginners and Intermediate alike. I approach this medium with a sense of adventure and flexibility,...