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Painting a special “Thank You” Card

I was artist-in-residence at my favorite Children’s Museum last week.

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While there, I’m able to do at least one art workshop for children and their families.

Treehouse Museum, in Ogden, Utah, serves children and families by providing interactive, hands-on exhibits and programs focusing on family literacy, children’s literature, the arts, and the humanities. Treehouse seeks to be the magical place where children “Step into a Story.”

One way they do this is with a village of houses from the different countries in which the stories are set. I have been lucky enough to paint some of the children who “live” in the houses.

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To thank my friends at Treehouse, I always send a special card. I based this one on the Japanese girl we named Noriko.

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I begin with a light pencil drawing

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The rest is done in layers of gouache.

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I can’t wait to go back and have more fun in The Treehouse!

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What is it about Ice Fishing?

I don’t fish.

I like lots of aspects of the fishing culture. I like lakes and rivers. I like boats. I like hand tied flies, and I like fish.

I just don’t want to catch them and kill them and eat them.

So I observe, ask questions and translate into various paintings.

For the 1st time I am living on the shore of a frozen lake. I knew about ice fishing, but I didn’t pay much attention. This winter, life on the ice is proving to be a vivid, ever changing show.

The shanties began to appear in December and now there are at least 3 dozen.

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Some have full on heating systems and rustic touches like elbow stove pipes. Beyond you can see a “bait bank.” A bank consists of a submerged barrel to store live bait, generally with a padlock on it.

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This one has a solar powered porch light too.

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And some have homey, gingham curtains and custom, fish, address plates.

Fascinated by this new, growing village on the ice, I began photographing, drawing and finally painting with gouache.

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A helpful fisherman posed for the foreground figure. His manual ice auger is in the background. many fisherman have power tools for this.

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Once the ice has formed, it is strong enough to drive on, so there are tire tracks everywhere.

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Once I became familiar with what the surfaces looked like, I began to think about what lay beneath.

That’s when I imagined this scene.

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If you enjoyed this post, please like my page: Ashley Wolff Art on Facebook. I sell prints and out of print books in my Etsy shop and my webpage is www.ashleywolff.com.

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7 Important Reasons Why: Color, Light, Line, Texture, plus Denise, Ashley, Food!

I am so excited to be teaching an art workshop this April.

The wildly talented Denise Fleming and I have put together an art immersive weekend called the Color, Light, Line and Texture Hands-On Workshop.

It is one of the entertaining and educational programs the Highlights Foundation supports at their beautiful Pocono Mountains location.

highlightsYou DON’T need to be “an Artist” to join this workshop. You can register here right now.

You don’t need to feel confident drawing, painting, or coloring in the lines.

You DO need to have a love of tackling something new, and you have to be attracted to this:
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C  O  L  O  R,

and this:

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L  I  G  H  T,

and this:

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T  E  X  T  U  R  E,

and this:

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L  I  N  E!

Join us for 3 days and 3 nights of playing and getting deeply involved with color, light, texture and line!

The venue will be the Barn at Boyd’s Mills, 10 miles from Honesdale, PA. You’ll sleep in beautifully appointed cabins, dine on fantastic food at every meal and be entertained with lessons, games and surprise guest speakers at every moment. You can also wander the pretty spring woods and pastures, so bring your sketchbook.

Register here!

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How I Paint with Gouache in my Brown Paper Sketchbook

A friend asked me to do a step-by-step on my sketchbook painting technique.

The point was made that one rarely sees the underlying drawing or the build up of paint in an artist’s work–just the finished product. I have posted step-by-steps of my niece’s murals and cottage cards, so here goes another.

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I drew the pony with a 3H pencil. It is hard and light and good for the underlying sketch.

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Using gouache as if it were watercolor, mainly burnt sienna and cobalt blue, I added the 1st set of darks.

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I use a smallish palette of colors, mainly primaries. I love gouache because it works well both transparently and opaquely.

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Using cobalt blue and yellow ochre I filled in a background.

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The pony’s spots seemed kind of flat, so I washed some orange over them and added darkest darks using  a small liner brush with indigo and burnt sienna.

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The Way It Is on The Shortest Day

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The Way It Is

There’s a thread that you follow. It goes among
things that change.  But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

-William Stafford

The Shortest Day

“And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.”

Susan Cooper