Monday, August 31, 2015

Making a color chart for referencing pigment properties!

One of my students just asked me about pigment properties, specifically, how to know which paints are granulating. The best way to know how your paints will perform is to make a color chart of your paints and test them yourself. Here's my color chart, which I keep in my studio as a handy reference.
Annie Strack's studio color chart
To start my color chart, I painted black stripes with acrylic paint and let them dry completely. When I paint a sample of watercolor across the black stripe, it shows me the opacity/transparency of each color.

While each watercolor sample is still wet, I backwash the color with a brushstroke of clean water. This shows me how granulating the color is, and also how much it will bloom. 

After the watercolor sample is dry, I use a damp brush to try and lift a stripe across it. This shows me how much staining strength that color has.

I write the name of color and the brand name next to each sample, as some colors are similar to others. Also, colors and their properties vary dramatically between brands.

I have a lot of tubes of paint in my studio, and this color chart helps me to distinguish which ones are right for which paintings. Cobalt, in particular, varies tremendously between the brands, and using a chart for reference helps me maintain consistency in my colors. 

posted by Annie Strack @ 3:53 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Plein Air Brandywine Valley 2015

I'm thrilled to be an invited artist in the Plein Air Brandywine Valley again! This year's event will begin on October 19th and the paintings will be exhibited for sale at Winterthur Estate and Gardens on the weekend of October 24 & 25. There will be a special preview party for patrons on Friday, October 23rd. Most of the paintings sell during the preview party, so be sure to get your tickets to this coveted event before they're all sold out! Be sure to check out the PABV website to get your tickets and learn more about this event. 
Each day, the artists are given a choice of 4 or 5 locations in the Brandywine Valley where they can paint. I usually try to go to two each day, one in the morning and a different one in the afternoon. Be sure to follow me on Facebook to keep up with my daily posts, and see where I'll be each day. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by -- I always love to meet my fans and followers in person!

posted by Annie Strack @ 5:09 PM   0 Comments

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I just finished these three seascapes this weekend, and tomorrow I am shipping them all off to their new home! I love painting seascapes! These are all full sheet (22x30) paintings, which fit nicely into 32x40 frames. Did you know, that a full size sheets of mat boards and foam core boards are 32x40, and that is because they are intended to frame a full sheet of watercolor paper without trimming -- providing a perfectly balanced 5 inch mat border. 
Annie Strack, 22x30 watercolor

Annie Strack, 22x30 watercolor

Annie Strack, 22x30 watercolor
 Now on to my next project! I signed up to participate in the Chart Pak Clear Print Vellum Journal Project. This journal is traveling across the country for artists to add their orginal work to it's pages. It arrived at my studio late Friday, and I have until the end of the week to create my page and send it back so that it can travel on to the next lucky artist. But first, I have to decide what I'm going to do on my page! Yikes! Fortunately, I perform best under deadline pressure :)
Annie Strack, Chart Pak Clear Print Vellum Journal Project

posted by Annie Strack @ 12:18 PM   1 Comments

Monday, August 10, 2015

a different kind of painting!

This last weekend I did a different kind of painting en plein air -- I painted my front door! I narrowed my paint choices down to about a dozen or so blue colors, both cool and warm shades, and then I asked my husband to choose from those choices, 

The final result is this cobalt blue. I painted the storm door to match. I painted my house number in gold with a black outline on a plastic palette, and hung it on the door.

Painting both doors took a little more than a pint of paint. For the palette, I printed out the house numbers full-size on a sheet of paper and placed it under the clear acrylic palette (available at any craft or art supply store) to use as a template. I painted the numbers with gold ink, and outlined them with black paint. The black outline makes the numbers easier to read -- there is not enough value change between the gold and white, otherwise. After it dried, I turned it over and spray painted the back of the palette white.

posted by Annie Strack @ 2:49 PM   1 Comments

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Canson's Moulin du Roy Watercolor Paper!

I'm very excited to try the new Moulin du Roy line of watercolor papers from Canson! These papers have a nice surface and are available in the usual array of weights, sizes, and textures. The big difference with this paper, is that it's sized with starch -- not with gelatin. That makes it completely vegan! Using 100% plant-based materials (it's also 100% acid free cotton, too!) makes it less expensive than papers using gelatin for sizing, and artists will happily notice that those savings are reflected in the low retail price of this product.

Canson also sent a whole lot of sample packs of this paper to me, and I'll be giving these away (along with lots of other great freebies!) at my painting demonstration for the Delaware Watercolor Society on Tuesday, November 10th. Everyone is welcome to come watch my demo, you don't have to be a member to attend.  I hope I see you there!

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posted by Annie Strack @ 8:36 AM   0 Comments

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

I've been so busy, I haven't had a chance to photograph my paintings from the Cedarburg Plein Air last week! I pulled out of the Plein Air early and spent the last week visiting my sister and her family in northern Wisconsin. I had already turned in my 1st Quick-Paint entry, so I don't have a photo of that one, but here are all the other paintings. Because I only stayed in the Plein Air for the first week, I wasn't able to enter any of these in competition and sale the following week. So these are all available for sale now!

Cedar River Falls, 8x10 oil (SOLD)

Cedarburg Forge, 8x10 oil (SOLD)
Port Washington Beach, 8x10 oil, $195.

Cedarburg Bridge, 8x10 oil, $195.

Foggy Morning, 8x10 oil, $195.
Port Washington Sunrise, 8x10 oil, $195.

Yellow Water Lilies, 5x7 oil, $79. (this was my second painting in the Quick-Paint competition)
All of the eight paintings I painted during the Cedarburg Plein Air are on Fredrix canvas panels and painted with Grumabacher Pre-Tested Artist Oils -- my preferred art supplies for painting en plein air!

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posted by Annie Strack @ 8:33 PM   0 Comments

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Painting in the footsteps of Andrew Wyeth

On Wednesday I joined my friends in the Philadelphia Watercolor Society at Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford for a day of painting en plein air. A total of a dozen artists participated in the event, some driving from the other side of Pennsylvania and others from as far away as Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Kuerner Farm is famous for being the favorite painting location of Andrew Wyeth, and it's buildings and fields are the subjects and backdrops in hundreds of his paintings.
Sarah Yeoman, Janet Means Belich, and others painting in the shade of the farmhouse at Kuerner Farm.

Chris Krupinski painting the scenes that were once painted by Andy Wyeth.

The doghouse at Keurner Farm is a charming subject for artists to paint.

The Kuerner Farm springhouse provides a rustic feeling to the landscape.

Kuerrner Farm Doghouse, 8x5 watercolor and ink, $79.
 I sketched this scene of the doghouse using pen and ink and layered a watercolor wash over it using my Sennelier watercolors. The paper is handmade 140# from Garza Papel. Like all fine handmade papers, it has four deckled edges and an extremely bright white surface. The cold-pressed surface is a little softer than other brands of papers, giving it a velvety feel. I found it to be easy to work on, nice texture, wonderful color, and it has perfect amount of sizing which made it easy to move the paint around on it.
Kuerner Farm Springhouse, 5x8 watercolor, $79.
The Springhouse at Kuerner Farm was my first painting of the day. The sky was overcast most of the day, and the sun didn't come out until mid afternoon. When it did, the temperature soared into the nineties and it quickly became blistering hot. I painted this on 90# paper from Garza Papel, which of course did not perform as well with water as did their heavier paper. It is much softer, and much more absorbent. However, it is still a very fine handmade paper and perfect for drawings and sketches, and it is also brilliant white in color with four lovely deckled edges.

I found these papers from Garza Papel to be superior to machine made and mold made papers, particularly the brightness of the paper, the sizing, and deckled edges. Thank you, Garza Papel, for sending me these samples of your lovely papers!

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posted by Annie Strack @ 6:48 PM   0 Comments

Friday, May 22, 2015

Painting at Kuerner Farm

I have wonderful news! I just found out I've been invited back as a jury-exempt artist in the Plein Air Brandywine Valley this year! This prestigeous painting competition will be held in October, with the artwork exhibited at Winterthur Estate and Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware. This is my fourth year in this event, and because I am consistantly one of the top selling artists, it's my second year as an invited artist. The painting locations include the famous gardens and sites near my studio, as well as several private estates and gardens belonging to Du Pont family members. Even better, some of my old plein air painting buddies from New Orleans -- Carol Hallock and Mary Monk -- are coming up to paint with me, and will be staying at my house during the event. The event is currently accepting  artist applications fro jurying, if you're interested in applying you can click on the link for more information. 
In the meantime, I'm getting ready for my next plein air event of the summer -- the Philadelphia Watercolor Society Plein Air at Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford next Wednesday. This is a small one-day event, and it's non-competitive -- painting just for fun! I won't be giving any formal lessons during this event, but you're welcome to come and watch and me paint! 

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posted by Annie Strack @ 11:25 AM   0 Comments

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Chester County Studio Tour is this Weekend!

I almost forgot to tell you -- this weekend is the annual Chester County Studio Tour! My studio is one of the 47 studios on the tour, with over 100 artists participating. I'll be open 10-6 pm on Saturday and Sunday, and  the studio is stocked with tons of food and drinks for the weekend. There's lot's of art, painting demonstrations, door prizes, and more! Be sure to come on out and visit me at Annie Strack Art Studio, 105 Kabob Lane, Kennett Square. 
My studio is number 43 on the map pictured below. It is right off of Creek Road (SR 82), between Hillendale and McFarlan Roads. See ya there!

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posted by Annie Strack @ 3:59 PM   0 Comments

Monday, April 27, 2015

Painting en plein air at the John James Audubon house was so much fun last week, I decided to get out my watercolor pans and paint some more. This little gem is Haskell's farm, off of Creek road in Chadds Ford. A lovely place to paint!
Haskell's Barn, 5x8 watercolor, $79.
Haskell's Farm, 5x8 watercolor (SOLD)

Also, I married my darling Park Ranger 30 years ago, today! Back then, we were living at Big Cypress National Preserve. He worked for the Park, and I was a Game Warden for the state. It's been a wonderful life, traveling to and living in National Parks around the globe. Someday, when we get old and tired, we might settle down somewhere.
Brian and Annie, 1985

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posted by Annie Strack @ 3:35 PM   0 Comments

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