Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Acrylic Painting Demos at Plaza Art Stores!


Come join me at the Plaza Artist Materials & Picture Framing stores in Washington, DC, Fairfax, Towson, and Baltimore for free acrylic painting demos with Amsterdam Acrylics! These are hands-on demos, meaning you can try the paints and mediums for yourself! I'll also be giving away free samples and there will be special sales in the stores to celebrate these awesome events. You won't want to miss it!


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posted by Annie Strack @ 7:46 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Plein Air Painting in Calella de Palafrugell, Spain!

I haven't posted in a few weeks because I've been too busy teaching a plein air painting workshop for French Escapade Tours in Costa Brava, Spain! My students and I stayed in the gorgeous little historic fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, and painted the Mediterranean Sea, the medieval villages, the quaint fishing boats, the beautiful Spanish gardens, and more. I'm still catching my breath! Next year I'm teaching a workshop in Provence, but I loved this location so much that I'm going to teach a workshop here again in 2019.  

Calella de Palafrugell

Students in Annie Strack's Plein Air Workshop 

More views to paint!

Fishing boats on the beach in Calella de Palafrugell

We had the town pretty much to ourselves the whole time!

I fell in love with the boats in Calella de Palafrugell

Gorgeous views at every turn

The weather was perfect, and my students and I had the place all to ourselves


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posted by Annie Strack @ 1:38 PM   0 Comments

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Paintings and Plein Air Workshops!

It's been a busy Spring season for art, with workshops, demos, classes, and shows every week. I've conducted so many events that I can't post them all in one blog post, so here's just a small sampling of paintings from recent events. 

SS United States, 6x6 watercolor on panel $75.
The SS United States is an old derelict ocean liner on the riverfront in south Philadelphia. Every time I drive by, I stop and take a few photos of it and marvel at it's beauty. This 6x6 painting is mounted on panel and displayed in a floater frame. It is a bargain at $75, but there's a catch -- the painting is not available for sale until 10am Saturday, May 20, in my studio during the Chester County Studio Tour. So if you want it, you have to come and get it, and -- be first in line. But there will also be 4 other artists displaying and selling their paintings in my studio that day, so you can also find great deals on fabulous artworks by Jeanne Kirby Bruneau, Tom Dempsey, Karen Frattali, and Carrie Barcomb. The studio tour is Saturday and Sunday, so be sure to stop by! We'll have wine and nibbles, painting demos, door prizes, and great artwork! The studio is at 105 Kabob Lane, Kennett Square, PA.

Chilly, $145. 11x15 watercolor on 140# CP Stonehenge Aqua paper
 More great paper has arrived from the awesome folks at Legion Paper! They sent me a case of the 300# Stonehenge Aqua to try out and share with my students. I loved the 140# paper they sent earlier, and didn't think it could get any better -- then I tried the 300#, and it's twice as nice! This paper is bright white and holds up better than I thought was even possible. No buckling or warping at all, not even with the heavy wet washes I used to create these paintings of skies and seascapes. The bright white color of the paper keeps my colors vibrant, clean, and fresh.

Sunset, $95. 11x15 watercolor on 300# CP Stonehenge Aqua paper
 I taught watercolor workshops for the Art Educators of New Jersey and for the Baltimore Watercolor Society last month, and used the new Stonehenge Aqua paper and also gave away free samples to all my students in both of them. I haven't photographed all the paintings yet, so there's still a few more besides these!

Beach, $125. 11x15 watercolor on 140# CP Stonehenge Aqua paper
 Last weekend, I conducted a plein air painting demo for the Audubon Society during their grand re-opening of their museum. This is John James Audubon's house at his farm "Mill Grove," in Audubon, Pennsylvania. The house is a museum and has been closed for the last couple of years for renovations, but finally reopened last month. Tons of people came to watch my demo, and I had a wonderful time painting in perfect weather at a beautiful location!

Audubon House, $95. 9x12 watercolor on 140# Stonehenge Aqua paper
 The Audubon House demo painting is on the new Stonehenge Aqua watercolor paper, which now comes in blocks! I absolutely love painting on blocks -- the pad of paper is gummed on two sides, which firmly holds the paper down flat while painting. The blocks are ideal for plein air painting, as it provide a stable support for the paper and makes it easy to place on the easel or carry around to painting locations. I've packed several of the blocks in my gear to take to Spain later this week for my plein air workshop. In fact, it's the only paper I'm taking, so I suppose we can say that the Stonehenge Aqua blocked paper is the Official Paper of the 2017 Annie Strack Plein Air Painting Workshop in Spain! I also found out that this workshop also sold out last month, so my long standing record of filling every workshop still remains unbroken!

New watercolor blocks of Stonehenge Aqua paper!
 Here's some of the art supplies I've packed for my plein air workshop in Spain -- in addition to the Stonehenge Aqua paper blocks, I'm also taking a sturdy easel and umbrella, spare glasses, value finder, and the usual paints and brushes. I always bring gifts to give to my students, and one of the items that this class will receive is small spiral bound sketch books that they can each fill with the scenes from places we visit and paint during our workshop, and keep as a wonderful memento of our trip!

Packing for plein air painting in Costa Brava, Spain!
I'm fixing to leave out for Spain now, and I'll catch up with more news when I get back. See ya then!



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posted by Annie Strack @ 7:18 PM   1 Comments

Monday, March 20, 2017

Stonehenge Aqua Watercolor Paper

 I've been painting on a new paper lately, Stonehenge Aqua. I've been using it for about a month, now, and I've been giving samples of it to my students in my recent classes and workshops. Here's how it performs...

Beach, 11x15 watercolor $125
The paper has a perfect amount of sizing, making it easy to lift paint. In this first painting, I used masking fluid to preserve the whites of waves -- the masking fluid peeled off easily. In the sky, I used a wet-into-wet painting technique and then lifted out the clouds while it was still damp. As you can see, the colors lifted beautifully. I also love the whiteness of the paper! This new paper is archival cotton rag, and bright white, and is comparable in color to Kilimanjaro or Arches Bright White.

Coverdale Barn, 11x15 watercolor $125
 I made a lot of mistakes when I painted this barn, and went back to correct them after the painting had dried. Originally, I had made the roof, the trees, and the foreground all too dark. I scrubbed out some highlights on the trees to create a little more dimension. The roof was too flat in color and value, so I scrubbed out some areas to make it look like light is hitting it. The foreground was also too even in value, so I scrubbed out the lower left corner of the painting to add light on the ground. The paper held up perfectly to all this scrubbing and lifting, and released the paint easily without wearing down the surface.

Attitude, 15x11 watercolor $145
 I used some puddling, spattering, and blooming techniques to depict the randomness of sand in this painting. This was my demo in one of my classes where I was showing how to paint animals -- you don't always have to show the face of the subject to express and emotion!
Sandpiper, 11x7 watercolor, $85
 I painted the sandpiper dark, and then lifted the highlights and details of the feathers with a clean damp brush. I love that this paper let's me lift so easily. I painted the water with just a few horizontal brushstrokes of color. After it dried I created the round ripples that emulate from the bird by using a clean damp brush to lift a few circles.

Looking ahead, 7x11 watercolor $95
I used salt and paint spatters on the background to get this random and loose effect. I didn't use any masking fluid on this painting, preferring to just use lifting techniques to create the light effects and capture the details of the feathers.

Stonehenge Aqua watercolor paper

All of these paintings were done as demonstrations in my classes and workshops in the last couple of months. I was quite impressed with the quality of the Stonehenge Aqua paper, as were my students. We used the 140 lb cold pressed, and the 300 lb cold pressed. The qualities that really stood out about this paper were it's color (a beautiful bright white) and the sizing -- colors were crisp and stayed intense, and yet were easy to lift off when needed. Both the 140 and the 300 lb were a little smoother than usual, with the 300 lb having about the same amount of texture as I would expect to find in a 140 lb paper. The 140 is smoother than expected, but still has some texture. It is not as smooth as hot pressed. The 22x30 full sheets have 2 deckle edges and two cut edges.

All said and done, I recommend this paper. It performs every bit as good as, if not better than, the more popular and expensive papers available. Stonehenge Aqua watercolor papers will be available at most major retailers in the coming months, and in the usual weights and textures, and I have heard that the prices will be dramatically less than comparable papers. I'm looking forward to trying the rough textures when it comes out, and I can hardly wait for it to become available in blocks!  

posted by Annie Strack @ 11:46 AM   1 Comments

Friday, March 17, 2017

Come paint with me in Provence!

Come paint with me in Provence, France, next summer! Lately, all my workshops are selling out really fast, so you must hurry to reserve your space before it's all sold out. Click on Provence Art Experience to see the full itinerary, and photos of the amazing places where we will stay and visit on this trip! Contact Mathieu at Provence Art Experience for more information, or to register!

Provence Art Experience

posted by Annie Strack @ 11:35 AM   2 Comments

Friday, February 17, 2017

2-point perspective drawing

In one of my classes yesterday, I struggled to explain 2-point perspective to my students. Here's a video that I saw today, which demonstrates it clearly. The two thumbtacks are the two "points" in this perspective exercise, and all lines converge at these points. These are also referred to as "vanishing points" because the it marks the spots where the perspective ends, or "vanishes."




posted by Annie Strack @ 9:35 AM   0 Comments

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Demo paintings from recent classes!

I had new classes start up again in January, and each week my students learn new techniques and methods. Here's a few of my demos from the recent lessons!








posted by Annie Strack @ 12:59 PM   2 Comments

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

8th Annual Signature American Watercolor Exhibit

I'm overjoyed to have a painting juried into the 8th Annual Signature American Watercolor Exhibit! This prestigious juried show is only open to artists who have earned Signature Membership in at least one national watercolor society. I have earned eight Signature Memberships, so far, and each one was a tremendous honor to achieve. This exhibits highlights the very best watercolor artists in America, and I'm incredibly proud to be included.



posted by Annie Strack @ 5:08 PM   3 Comments

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Watercolor Painting Workshop in Maryland!

(Edited: This workshop for BWS sold out within two hours of registration. This happens to most of my workshops -- I can't stress enough how crucial it is to register right away, or you'll miss your chance!) 

My upcoming workshop in New Jersey sold out right away, but never fear! I've just added a workshop in Maryland hosted by the Baltimore Watercolor Society! This one will also sell out fast, so hurry and sign up now to reserve your space! 

Contact the Baltimore Watercolor Society to reserve your space in this workshop. BWS members $60, non-members $65. Saturday, March 25 at the Howard County Center for the Arts, Ellicott City, Maryland.  

"Annie guides students through the painting process with helpful step-by-step demonstrations and individual attention. All artists, whether they are new to watercolors or experienced painters, will learn new skills from watching Annie as she explains her techniques for creating spectacular paintings. Multiple watercolor techniques are covered in the workshop, including glazing, washes, dry brush, masking, lifting, & more. Students will gain an understanding of the properties of different paints, learn how to successfully mix colors, and how to use values and color temperatures to enhance their compositions.  Students will watch and learn as each technique is explained and demonstrated with a clarity that makes the lessons easy to absorb and replicate. Students will benefit from personal and group critiques, and receive individual attention from the instructor."

posted by Annie Strack @ 4:18 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, December 17, 2016

More new paintings, again!

December is getting off to the busy start, with classes filling up and lots of new bookings for workshops and demos. Still, I've managed to find a little time to paint for myself, in between the myriad of holiday parties and travel. I just finished this watercolor painting of dinghies, from a reference photo I took on one of my recent trips to St. John. I love the water in the Caribbean -- it's as warm and inviting as it looks! I'll be entering this painting in competitions this year, and hopefully the judges will like it as much as I.

Destiny Awaits, 14x20 watercolor

This floral is a demo from one of my classes in my studio. I have several stems of silk flowers and an assortment of vases, and every now and then I arrange them for a still-life painting exercise for my students. It's a wonderful break from painting from photographs, and I can rearrange the flowers and lighting to give my students some different experiences in colors, compositions, designs, and values. This one is on Arches rough paper, and painted with my Mission pan watercolors. I used squirrel mop bushes, which combined with the rough paper helps to give it a looser feel.

Floral Demo with Mission Watercolors

Last week, I drove down to Rehoboth Beach for the Delaware Watercolor Society's holiday party. They gave all the artists a cute little apron with their logo on it, and the Signature Members received an additional gift of a lovely tote bag. I'm always toting bags of stuff around, so a new tote bag always comes in handy!

Signature Member gifts from the Delaware Watercolor Society

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posted by Annie Strack @ 2:02 PM   0 Comments

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