My booth at an Outdoor Art Show

My booth at an Outdoor Art Show
The best part of an outdoor show is meeting you. If you read my blog, be sure to say Hi to me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Watercolor Lesson # 2

In my first lesson, I suggested getting a sketch book and taking time to draw. Now you want to take one of your sketches and use that to do a watercolor painting. What do you look for in selecting a drawing or one of your own photographs?
I suggest you need to look for several key features.
First, you need a good focal point that will draw in the viewers eyes so it attracts their attention. Maybe it is an open window or a rocking chair on the porch or an antique sitting in your living room. So make a selection and decide where the focal point will fit in your picture.

Next, you will need to use what artist call the Golden Triangle. You divide the paper on one of your sketch book pages into thirds crossing the paper with light pencil lines. At the four locations where the lines from the side intersect the lines form the top and bottom, you will find your key points where the focus of your painting may be located. Select one of those points and determine how your drawing will fit on the page considering the focal point you selected.
Now sketch the drawing on the paper.

There is another way to identify the focal point and it is called the law of the Uneven Sides. For this you select a focal point that is unevenly located from the four sides of the paper. So it might be 4" from the top and 3" from the one side and 10" from the other side and 8" from the bottom.
The second step is to consider your lights and darks. Tradition holds you should either have 20 % of your drawing being very dark or the opposite with 80 % being very dark. Value is very important to make a painting eye catching. You need to look at the drawing that you sketched to see if you did that.

Now take up your Number 2 pencil or I like an H4 or H5 pencil and draw maybe one or two examples to try out to see if you like the focal point and the value. Is it dramatic enough to draw in someone's attention?

next lesson----- gathering your supplies

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This is my newest painting of several of the buildings in Sugartown, PA that is in Chester County. During the summer my daughter Dawn and I visited this area and taking numerous photos of the buildings and assorted objects. We went into the antique shop and saw old samplers that children made about 100 years ago.
This is located on Sugartown Road just after Providence Road intersects it. The local historic society is restoring the community so there are several other buildings and barns.

The town was named after Eli Shugart, an early 19th-century tavern keeper. Sugartown was a typical crossroads village that provided goods and services required by the surrounding farm community.

My next post will be the next lesson

Friday, September 17, 2010

Trip to Chicago

Just returned from spending a week in West Chicago visiting our grand daughter and of course my son and daughter in law. Also had a chance to photo some of the old homes ( 1890s) in the area for future watercolors. Here is one

I am also trying to complete my painting of the historic town of Sugar town in Chester County, PA. Next week I will be going before the jury for another special show in Chester county and I want this painting to be one I show. I am more excited about painting as I have more time and I see the colors dance across the paper. I think I have learned to focus on one area of the painting to get across the message that continues to bring out the fact that I am a painter of memories..........My next Watercolor Workshop will be coming up once I finish the " Sugartown" painting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Painting and Sketching

Well it has been a busy summer. I went to several workshops for watercolor artists in VT and NY. The travel in late July was inspiring as we drove along Lake Champlain and took the ferry across it. Just as enjoyable was learning several new techniques that will help me to improve my paintings

Last week I had what was to be minor surgery called lithotripsy....and now while I am recovering and doing better, I am painting using these skills and painting more original watercolors.

My Sugartown painting that was a sketch is now almost finished.

During the workshops, I thought that it might be worthwhile for me to share some of the benefits I learned while in the classes.....and so I thought I will add a comment to each post taking you through a watercolor course.

Let em know if you find this helpful.............

Watercolor Workshop
So let's begin with the most important step.........................

Lesson # 1 Practice drawing ..........once your drawings are done correctly, your paintings will always begin in the right direction.
So we need to ask ourselves the following questions------what will I include in the painting, how do I arrange my composition, what about the best values or the balance between dark and light, and don't forget perspective.
Does the drawing look like the object I an trying to paint?
Is the drawing interesting so that people will enjoy looking at it?
Is there a focal point that draws my attention?
Because if I can make the drawing interesting then the final painting with color will even be better.

So while this is a watercolor workshop, the most important step for a good watercolor is getting your drawing done properly. It always this takes time , but makes sure the painting is going in the right direction from the start.

Application # 1 Get a sketch book, a # 3 or 4 pencil or black ink marker and begin practice your drawing......every day. Could be an item in your kitchen, a flower outside, a fence or bird house or your neighbor's house.
Don't forget to keep your sketch books as a reminder when you started this new exciting journey.

Next lesson will cover selecting your best sketches to plan your watercolor.
Blessings Bruce

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spiritual Leadership Retreat

On August 5th and 6th at the Church of the Savior, Wayne PA. a special program on Spiritual Leadership is being run by the Willow Creek Organization and is broadcast to many churches across the US.
As part of this workshop, several artist including my daughter Dawn and I were selected to share some of our work. Dawn returned from a trip to Haiti and has a number of photos on display.
I placed some of my paintings with scripture verses on them in this special workshop.The workshop runs this Thursday and Friday.

The verse says" Teach me to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" Psalm 90:12

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Watercolor Activity

Have you ever been to Sugartown?

This week I am taking several watercolor workshops in VT and taking by camera to capture new images to translate into finished watercolors. It should be cooler and a nice change from our area. I am working on some new watercolors for several fall activities. I recently drove along Goshen Road with my daughter Dawn who is taking great photos. We visited Sugartown and took this collection of photos grouped together turning it into a large watercolor.

Watercolor Study of Sugartown
Beginning with these photos, I drew the images onto my new, special watercolor pad that is long and narrow making it ideal for this type of painting. I used this study to test out several concepts.
Here is the study

Once this was stared I realized I wanted to create a focal point and had to visualize where that would be. As Dawn and I walked around the village, we walked into the Antique shop and noticed all these "antique samplers" stitched by children in the 1800's.
So my center of interest will be either the Antique Shop or the store next to it with the 4th of July decorations. Now my next post will show my beginning steps of the large watercolor and maybe some VT scenes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Activity

Well the summer has officially arrived and so far it has been very busy. First we went to Alaska in May with close friends and had a fantastic time. We sent to several towns including Skagway and journeyed up into the Yukon to see bears near the tormented valley, Carcross and Lake Bennent, site of the Gold Rush launching point back in the late 1800s.

This is Emerald Lake near Carcross in Canada that truly has that green cast to the water.

Summer means time to paint outdoors called Plein Air. I did one painting at an older estate in Villanova called Appleford. I did some sketching in the morning along with about 15 other painters and then painted a small watercolor of this building, at one time a tannery.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I dropped off my paintings yesterday for the Immaculata Art Show that begins May 7th with an evening reception and then the rest of the week through the following Sunday. Every day is free except the Friday evening reception. It is a great show if you have not seen it before. I have 4 large watercolors including this painting of The Stone Outbuilding in Chadd's Ford. Then there are 6 smaller paintings and 15 pieces in my portfolio. Let me know if you have any questions or need directions. You can go to their web site for further details.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Well spring seems to have arrived here as you can see it in the trees and flowers all generating colors all over the landscape. This means the Immaculata Art Show will soon be here. It gives everyone a great chance to see what is new for the coming year. I have four new originals ready to be seen and for sale. I have decided that the economy has to be taken into account so have lowered prices for this show including my originals, both framed and matted as well as my prints.
So this original of Lafayette's Headquarters called "Ready for Spring" wants a new come out and take a look.
I am experimenting with video and hope to produce a short watercolor video to show some of my techniques. Probably will get this done summer.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Antique Shop Near My Sons Home

In one of my posts recently I showed you a photo I had taken in IL of an antique shop that will be the source of many paintings. This is one of the doorway to one of the buildings.
This is about 80% finished and hope to complete it next week. When it is finished , I will post the final painting. There were an unbelievable amount of neat antiques or buildings to paint at this location. More to come.
Painting of My Barn

Here is the final painting of our barn that was originally called WoolPack Farm. It was a sheep farm. The original farm house was built in the mid 1800s and was torn down in 1978. This original barn burned down and this was the replacement. It was sold to someone in Bucks County who rebuilt it.
Part of the end wall and side wall is still standing and is part of our garden. I painted this when my children thought they would like to have a memory of the barn after spending 25 years growing up using it for storage, a place where our cats loved to hunt for mice, where my one daughter had her 16th birthday and where we kept an old tractor and wagon. It hangs in our family room.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Here is step two, after I completed drawing as much as I wanted.
The next step will be to paint the fore ground , then the barn, then the fence and the small shed that our kids had played in for years...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Our Barn

My children have been trying to me paint our barn for along time. So I had to do a demonstration at the Mid Atlantic ACSI Fine Arts Competition for art students so decided to paint the barn as an example. So here is the beginning of the painting. As you can see after I complete as much drawing as I feel is needed, I start to paint, leaving the pencil on the paper. This can easily be erased after you start painting. My next blog posting will show the finished painting.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Taking Time to Paint this Winter

Well the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays are over. It is time to settle down to do more painting. I first selected several new landscapes to paint. I have to go through my photographs and select a number that catch my eye. The key to the next step is to select the correct angle to make the finished painting more interesting and create interest in the viewer's eye.

Here is a photo I took in IL when visiting an antique shop west of West Chicago, where our son lives. We wandered around the farm where we saw chickens and horses. Our granddaughter fed the horse an apple but stayed away from the chickens. This scene really caught my eye. It has already begun to turn into a painting. Let's hope it will be finished for the first spring show. The old door, the new green plants and the old fence all seemed to catch my eye.
I trust you had an enjoyable Christmas and look forward to 2010 ready to share with others the blessings we have all received this past year.