Tag Archives: Painting

Watercolor Lettering


If you read last Friday’s Creative Juice, you may have noticed the tutorial for watercolor lettering. I was really excited about it, and I wanted to try it, but decided I needed the brush Smitha was using. I ordered it, and Monday I clicked the link, and I kept getting an error message, “This page isn’t working.”

I tried deleting my cookies from the website, but that didn’t help. I was disappointed, frustrated, and tired. Watercolor Alphabet was what I wanted my post on Tuesday to be about. Unfortunately, I was really cranky and couldn’t think of another idea. So I posted nothing on Tuesday.

But Tuesday afternoon I found Smitha’s video tutorial on YouTube.

Here’s my first try, on a half-sheet of paper:

Watercolor alphabet 1

I decided to move on to a full sheet:

Watercolor alphabet 2

Yes, that Princeton Artist, synthetic squirrel watercolor script liner size 6 brush is really good for lettering, though I don’t have Smitha’s control for tapering the width of the line.

While I was working on it, I thought it would be great for writing scripture (you might eventually see some on my Sunday From the Creator’s Heart feature) and quotes (ditto for Monday Morning Wisdom). However, I’m not very good at freehand spacing. I’m sure you’ve seen that classic poster that says “Think ahead,” and the last three letters are squeezed in. That happens to me all the time when I’m lettering. I have to write it out in pencil first, so that I can erase and try again multiple times, before I go back and apply the paint. Of course, I need to go back and erase the stray lines afterward (but whatever pencil lines are painted over remain in perpetuity). And of course, I forgot I was dealing with wet paint and started erasing before the paint dried completely and really smeared the orange.

Emily Dickinson quote

And of course, I could have started it all over and photographed a perfect example for you. But I’m impatient. Also, when you see how bad it looks, you’ll learn from my mistake better than you would if I’d just confessed it and shown you a better finished product.

I am convinced I can get better at watercolor lettering.

Now it’s your turn. Try painting an alphabet with whatever supplies you have at home. [You don’t have to buy a special brush if you have one that you think will work. (I’m not an affiliate, so you won’t be supporting me if you buy from the link, which I’ve only provided for your information.)] When you’ve finished, take a photo and post it on your own blog or social media, and post a link to it in the comments here below so we can admire your efforts.

Creative Juice #336

Creative Juice #336

Quilts. Art. Books. Signs. Writing classes. And other interesting things to think about.

Video of the Week: The Paintings of Edward Seago


Creative Juice #328

Creative Juice #328

Interesting stuff to read. Artistic stuff to love.

Creative Juice #327

Creative Juice #327

Interesting stuff to discover this weekend. 

Video of the Week: A Life-long Artist Finally Gets the Attention He Deserves in his Seventies


The video I had originally scheduled for today has been pulled from YouTube. I am replacing it with this wonderful story about Scott Kahn.

Creative Juice #318

Creative Juice #318

Note from Andrea: I goofed. This article was supposed to appear tomorrow, but when I turned on my computer today, I forgot what day it was; I thought it was Friday instead of Thursday and I expected to see Creative Juice up on my blog–so I went to my future-scheduled posts and edited this to publish immediately, and it wasn’t until afterward that I realized my mistake. So, I’m sorry–I’ve got nothing for tomorrow; I jumped the gun today.

Why not spend an hour exploring these 12 wonderful articles?

Video of the Week: Gustav Klimt


I was going to write an article for ARHtistic License about Gustav Klimt, but you know what? This video says it all.

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was a French Post-Impressionist painter. He is credited with having influenced the transition from impressionism to early 20th century cubism.

The Artist’s Father, Reading “L’Événement” (1866) by Paul Cézanne

Paul’s father was a very successful banker who hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. He sent him to law school, but Paul was more enthusiastic about poetry and art. Paul’s friend Émile Zola invited him to come to Paris, which he did in 1861, planning to study. He applied to the famous École des Beaux Arts, but was turned down, so he attended the Académie Suisse, where he met Camille Pissarro, who became his mentor. He also became acquainted with Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. He often spent time in the Louvre, where he copied works of masters such as Michelangelo, Rubens, and Titian.

Madame Cézanne
Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress (1888-1890) by Paul Cézanne

In 1869, Cézanne met Marie-Hortense Fiquet. They had a son, Paul, in 1872, but did not marry until much later. Cézanne kept their relationship a secret from his father, who gave him a monthly allowance that Paul was afraid he’d withhold if he knew the truth. His fear was well-founded, because when his father found out about his mistress and illegitimate child in 1878, he cut his allowance in half, sending him into great financial difficulty. (Six months later, he increased the allowance substantially.)

Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1899) by Paul Cézanne

When Cézanne finally married Marie-Hortense in 1886, it was to legitimize their son Paul; Cézanne and Fiquet’s relationship had deteriorated long before. Cézanne was socially awkward, shy, moody, irritable, and prone to depression; at least two of his good friends called him “strange.” Yet, Marie-Hortense was his most frequent model for portraits, not that any of them were particularly flattering.

Portrait of Victor Chocquet (1876-1877) by Paul Cézanne
Young Italian Woman at a Table (1894-1900) by Paul Cézanne. This is my favorite of his portraits. It seems to me that he really tried to make her beautiful.

Cézanne bucked Paris’ strict standards for art; he’d not been admitted to the École des Beaux Arts despite applying twice; both the Salon de Paris and the Salon des Refusés refused to display his paintings. He was having very limited success, but he insisted on developing his own style. Pissarro instructed him in impressionistic techniques, but Cézanne’s interpretations were not well-received. Influenced by Gustave Courbet and Eugène Delacroix, he abandoned impressionism and pursued an everyday realism that was free of prettiness or customary symbolism.

Montagne Sainte-Victoire (1904) by Paul Cézanne. This is my favorite landscape of his. I love the cubist feel of this.

I particularly like Cézanne’s landscapes and still lives. His portraits have a roughness that I find unpleasant.

Still Life with a Curtain (1895) by Paul Cézanne

Cézanne’s reputation took off around 1895 with the first solo show of his paintings. Other artists, such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Pissarro, purchased his work, and his prices skyrocketed.

Still Life with an Open Drawer (1867–1869) by Paul Cézanne

In 1886, Cézanne’s father died, leaving his estate to Cézanne’s mother and sisters and a large sum of money to Cézanne. His financial problems were over.

Still Life with Cherries and Peaches (1885-1887) by Paul Cézanne

In 1906, Cézanne passed away from pneumonia after suffering hypothermia from being caught in a storm.

Pyramid of Skulls (1901) by Paul Cézanne

Rembrandt van Rijn 

Rembrandt: Self-portrait
Rembrandt: Self-Portrait with Beret and Turned-up Collar, 1659

Rembrandt van Rijn (July 15, 1606—October 4, 1669), known simply as Rembrandt, is considered one of the greatest artists of all time and the most important of the Dutch Masters. His media were drawing, printmaking, and oil painting. He was especially known for his portraits and self-portraits, but he depicted a wide variety of subjects, including landscapes, scenes of daily life, biblical and mythological scenes, historical pieces, and animal studies. Rembrandt was also an art collector and dealer.

His self-portraits, of which there are at least 17, document his skill and aging.

Rembrandt: Self-portrait in a cap, with eyes wide open, 1630, etching
Rembrandt: Self-Portrait in a Cap, with Eyes Wide Open, 1630, etching
Rembrandt: Self-portrait Leaning on Sill, 1639
Rembrandt: Self-portrait Leaning on Sill, 1639

As a young man, he quickly built a reputation and following for his portraits. His etchings and paintings were popular throughout his lifetime. He acquired wealth, but then experienced tragedies and reversal of fortune.

Rembrandt: The Stoning of St. Stephen
Rembrandt, The Stoning of St. Stephen, painted when he was 19.

In 1634, Rembrandt married Saskia van Uylenburgh. She served as a model in many of his paintings. They had four children, the first three of whom died very young. Saskia passed away shortly after giving birth to their fourth child, son Titus.

Rembrandt: Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612–1642), circa 1633–1634
Rembrandt: Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-1642), circa 1633-1634.

Rembrandt’s Biblical themes are marked by profound understanding of the scriptures. The 20th century priest Henri Nouwen was so moved by Rembrandt’s painting The Return of the Prodigal Son that he wrote a book about it and the spiritual insights he gained from studying it.

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, detail, 1669.

Rembrandt took the then-new process of reproducing images by etching and transformed it into an art form in its own right. Most of his paintings remained in the Netherlands during his lifetime, but his prints circulated throughout Europe and established his reputation on the continent.

Rembrandt: The Night Watch
Rembrandt: The Night Watch
Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Rembrandt: The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. This painting was stolen from a museum in 1990 and has never been recovered.
Rembrandt: The Mill
Rembrandt: The Mill
Rembrandt: An Old Man in Red
Rembrandt: An Old Man in Red
Rembrandt: Girl in a Picture Frame
Rembrandt: Girl in a Picture Frame
Rembrandt: Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem
Rembrandt: Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem
Rembrandt: An Elephant
Rembrandt: An Elephant, drawing in black chalk