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   2 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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Watercolor Painting workshop in Spain!

My watercolor painting workshop in Spain is almost full, there are only a few spaces left. I'm thrilled to have such a great group of artists sign up for this, and I'm looking forward seeing so many old friends on this trip as well as meeting so many new ones!

 Here's the list of art supplies that you will need to bring on the trip.

  • Watercolor paints, either in pans or dried on your palette. Tubes and wet paint are inconvenient and messy for traveling, but you may bring them if that is what you are most comfortable using. I use a lot of blues (indigo, indathrone, payne's grey, manganese, cobalt, ultramarine, and anything else I have on hand) and I believe you can never have too many different versions of blue. You'll need at least two yellows -- a warm and a cool, and at least two reds --  , a warm and a cool. Additionally, I like to use a light green, a green/gold, sepia, and a violet. I fill the rest of the spaces in my palettes with an assortment of other colors, but if you have a basic split primary palette of six colors -- a warm and a cool version of each primary -- you'll do just fine. You don't need to use the exact same colors as I do -- bring the colors that you are most comfortable using. 
    Example of a "split primary" palette

  • Brushes: I use an assortment of round natural hair brushes. I prefer large brushes, and the largest size is a #6 squirrel mop. My largest round is a #12 Kolinsky. Natural hair brushes hold more fluid than synthetics, so they will perform like larger brushes. I also use a 1" flat for washes, a liner or rigger, and a few small stiffer brushes for lifting and scrubbing. 
  • Paper: I suggest you use watercolor blocks, nothing larger than about 12x16. You can bring an assortment of sizes to suit your fancy. You can use other watercolor sketchbooks, loose paper, pads, or other formats if you are more comfortable with that. 
  • Masking fluid and remover. 
  • pencil and eraser
  • paper towels
  • hat (to shield your eyes when painting outdoors)
  • water container (I use collapsible pet bowls)
  • salt packets (to add texture to watercolor)
  • tote bag or backpack to carry your supplies to our daily painting sites
  • Easel
  • plein air umbrella
  • other paints or mediums
Workshop supplies

This photo shows all the items that I will be using during the workshop. I prefer watercolor pans because they are easy to travel with and take up very little space. Most of my brushes are collapsible pocket brushes -- the cover becomes the handle.

Most of the small items fit right into my folding palettes.

Gifts for my workshop students!

There are a few things that you will need, that are not on the list, and that's because I'm bringing those items and will give them to you! These include black pens for sketching, 4x6 sketchbooks, and white pens. 
The white pens are for adding white to your watercolor paintings. The ink is opaque and archival, making it perfect for adding details and highlights.

Black ink pens are great for sketching, and drawing in details when painting watercolors en plein air.

posted by Annie Strack @ 5:21 PM   0 Comments

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Favorite Art Supplies

I'm thrilled to be a contributor for the latest article on! Click here to check out what I (and other leading artists, too!) have to say about favorite art supplies, and leave a comment to tell us about your own favorites, too! 

posted by Annie Strack @ 4:01 PM   2 Comments

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New Watercolor Classes!

Registration opens today for my new class at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, Pennsylvania! My classes always fill up fast, so hurry up and register NOW -- before you miss your chance!

10:00 AM-12:30 AM on Thursdays, January 12 through March 2.
Everything you need to know to paint luminous watercolors with ease! Learn to capture and create the beauty and radiance of watercolor painting from a professional artist. Annie Strack is passionate about teaching watercolor painting and will provide you with personalized watercolor instruction as she walks you through the essential techniques and the foundational concepts of watercolor painting. This class is packed with demonstrations, discussions, individual help, personal and group critiques. There is something new to learn for every artists' level!

posted by Annie Strack @ 3:05 PM   0 Comments

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