Sunday, January 14, 2018

Teaching here, there, and everywhere

I had a full schedule last week with teaching a workshop at Maris Grove and starting the new semester at the Community Arts Center. 
At Maris Grove, we worked on winter landscapes and finished a new painting each day of the class.


All of my students created awesome paintings!
This is my 4th year teaching at the Community Arts Center, and some of my students have been taking my classes since the beginning. It's always nice to come to class and see familiar faces!

in the upcoming months I'll be teaching workshops in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Be sure to check out my CALENDAR page for the latest schedule!

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

new paintings, classes, and workshops!

It's been so cold the last couple of weeks that I haven't stepped foot outside. I've been keeping warm in my studio and painting in my Carnet sketchbook from Hahnemuehle. 



My winter semester classes start this Thursday at the Community Arts Center in PA. I'm looking forward to seeing all my students again, and getting them started on new projects to learn new techniques. I also have a watercolor painting workshop this week at Maris Grove in Pennsylvania, and I'm offering the option of letting students rent palettes and brushes from me. We'll see how that works out. 
I've also added new workshops in South Carolina, New Jersey, and other locations for the upcoming months -- be sure to check out my CALENDAR page for the complete schedule!

posted by Annie Strack @ 2:17 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Plein Air Essentials for Watercolor Painters!

I paint en plein air often and teach classes and workshops, and my new students often ask me what gear they need to come join me on these excursions. I first started painting outdoors back in the early eighties, when I worked as a State Game Warden in the Florida Everglades. Back then, I kept a small box with my painting supplies in the back of my truck so I could sketch and paint the landscape around me.

Later, when I lived in California I organized some artist friends to join me on weekends to paint the breathtaking scenery of the valleys and coastlines. Back then, we called it painting outside or paint outs -- "plein air" was not used as a noun until recent years.

The supplies I carry with me haven't changed much over the decades. Paint, brushes, and water are the essentials. I prefer pan watercolors, such as this set of Mission Gold paints. I keep a penknife, pencil, eraser, sandpaper, salt, and travel brushes inside the folding palette. The travel brushes have self-storing handles that protect the brush when not in use. I like to use a watercolor easel such as this one, but when I was younger I would just sit on the ground and hold my painting on my lap as I worked.

I show a selection of water containers in this photo, and they all have one thing in common -- they collapse. The dog bowl holds enough water to paint a larger painting, or the smaller camping cup can can be tucked in a bag with a sketchbook to be handy for impromptu sessions. The red rectangle in this photo is a value finder. Looking through it helps artists to see values, and both in their subject and in their painting.

The right paper is a major component of painting. I like a small sketchbook such as this spiral bound one from Hahnemuehle for sketching on the go and small studies. For full size plein air paintings, I use 140 paper mounted in block form, such as this 12x16 block of Cezanne paper from Hahnemuehle.

Annie Strack teaching plein air painting in Spain

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Come take a tour of my studio!

Come take a tour of my studio! It's cold outside, and I've got hot coffee and cookies.





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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Hahnemuehle Sketchbook!

Happy holidays! I have a coupole of weeks off from my teaching and exhibit schedule, and I'm using the time to play with some of the awesome sketchbooks from Hahnemuehle paper. 





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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Last week my students learned to paint gestural figures in watercolor. This was a one-day workshop in my studio, and my students studied proportion and movement and then used calligraphic brushstrokes to depict those images.

Fern practicing her figures in her sketchbook

Rosemary quickly filled several pages with her fast studies

The brilliant teacher helping Morgan and Mary Beth with their figure studies

hard working students quickly mastering their lessons!
I offer several one-day workshops in my studio, each one is an intensive session focusing on a specific lesson. Check out my CALENDAR page for up coming dates.

posted by Annie Strack @ 2:52 PM   0 Comments

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

More art shows and classes!

Fall is a busy time for artists, with new exhibits and workshops every week. I just got back from Jerry's Artarama's annual "Art of the Carolinas" where I met up with friends for workshops and shopping.
Morgan Golladay, Rosemary Connolly, and me at the Art of the Carolinas trade show and expo.

My new squirrel mop brushes from Isabey

A nice selection of Kolinsky brushes from Escoda

A set of short handle watercolor brushes for plein air from Raphael

long handle sables and mock mongoose brushes for oil painting

an adorable and very practical set of short handle brushes for plein air painting from Richeson
I had a blast last weekend, exhibiting at the Unionville Art Gala with my besties Jeanne Kirby Bruneau and Yvonne Mucci. This annual event invites the regions best artists to show and sell their work, and I'm thrilled to have been asked back again!

I still have a couple of spaces left in my next studio workshop "adding figures to the landscape" on December 5th. Contact me to sign up! Also, I'm teaching watercolor painting at the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, PA, winter semester begins in January. Contact the Arts Center to sign up! See ya soon!

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Acrylic Painting Demos and Lessons!

I often travel to art supply stores to conduct painting demos and lessons using Royal Talens fine artist materials. A couple of weeks ago I worked with their Amsterdam Acrylics in the Hands on Creativity expo at the Plaza Art store in Towson, Maryland. Several art supply companies participate in this annual event, where local artists can come in the store and learn about the latest products and try them out for themselves. 

My table is always busy at these events, with artists of all ages waiting to try out the paints and mediums.


 I barely had time to snap a selfie with my set up before my table was surrounded with artists!


The store was packed all weekend!

I always bring a few painting samples and subjects for artists to use as inspiration at these events, and pumpkins are a favorite with everyone in the Fall season.

This weekend I'll be at Jerry's Artarama's "Art of the Carolinas" in Raleigh, North Carolina. I hope to see you there!

posted by Annie Strack @ 12:49 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, October 29, 2017

More Plein Air!

A few more paintings from last the Brandywine Plein Air festival last week!
Frolic's Ford, 8x10 oil $195. 

Pasture at Big Bend, 8x10 oil $195.


 During the exhibit at Winterthur, I demonstrated plein air painting in the main tent to entertain visitors. Here I am with my half-finished watercolor demo on Saturday. The painting sold before the paint was dry!

On Sunday I demonstrated watercolor painting again, this time using a photo from my recent plein air workshop in Calella de Palafrugell as my reference. Both my demo paintings are on the "Cezanne" 140 lb rough watercolor paper from Hahnemuehle. I was demonstrating alongside my co-organizer of  Plein Air Brandywine, Yvonne Mucci; and I invited my house guest Gerilyn Gaskil to join us. I gave each of them a block of the paper to use, and both of them loved it every bit as much as I do.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Brandywine Plein Air

October is a busy month for me with plein air festivals, demos, classes, and workshops. The Brandywine Valley Plein Air festival kept me on my toes for the last couple of weeks, as I am both a participating artist in it, and I'm also one of the organizers.
A couple of weeks ago, Yvonne Mucci and I demonstrated plein air painting live at our event's patron party, and then raffled off our demo paintings at the end of the night. Here we are with the lucky collectors who got to take our paintings home with them!
I also demonstrated plein air painting live on Saturday and Sunday at Winterthur for visitors to the exhibit. Here I am with the collectors who purchased my demo on Saturday before the paint was dry!
The patron party on Friday night drew all the best people, of course! Here I am with Yvonne, who is also on the plein air planning committee with me, and our wonderful sponsor from Janssen's Market who catered over a hundred lunches for all the artists, volunteers, and staff, every day of our event -- for several years! 

Under the bright lights of the tent at the patron party, with Dave Bart from Jerry's Artarama, Jeanne Bruneau, and Yvonne.
In the four days of painting, I created nine paintings, plus I finished two demo paintings during the weekend exhibit. Five of my paintings sold during the exhibit, same number that have sold every year! This is my 1st painting from Monday at the Wilmington waterfront. There were no boats there that day, just seagulls and geese and a cold and dreary sky. This watercolor painting was the 1st one to sell. 

While at the waterfront I also painted this watercolor on canvas. Wilmington Waterfront, 12x16, $295.

This is my Quick Draw --  the Blacksmith's shop in Marshallton. This 8x10 sold quickly. 
Some of my paintings sold before I had a chance to photograph them, but there are a few others that I will post here next week after I've had a chance to catch my breath. November is a busy month, too, so I have to pace myself and not stay up too late on the computor!


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