Monday, October 19, 2009

The Brush Blessing

In my last workshop in Mendocino one of my students purchased a number 30 Natural Hair brush and asked that I bless the brush. I added a little bit of magic and we all had a good laugh.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Daler Rowney Watercolor Paper

If you have wondered about the Daler Rowney Watercolor Paper you can read my latest article in the December issue of Artist Magazine - Studio Staples to see what I think.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fire Dancers

After the workshop Carmen and I went to dinner, we notice out of the corner of our eye Fire Dancers at the end of Noyo Harbor it was magical. There was a mother that was spinning her fire pots while her 10 year old son waved a blue glow stick.
The abstracted photos of light are titled Mother & Child.

Atmospheric Landscapes Mendocino September 2009

We had wonderful time in Mendocino, a very small class of 8 students which was very nice and personal. We worked on Atmospheric landscapes and simplifying the landscape into dramatic paintings. (Here is a painting that one of my students did while in the class.)

After the workshop Carmen and I went to dinner, we notice out of the corner of our eye Fire Dancers at the end of Noyo Harbor it was magical. There was a mother that was spinning her fire pots while her 10 year old son waved a blue glow stick.
The abstracted photos of light are titled Mother & Child.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Trinity Workshop

Amazing - this little community in Northern California has such special energy, the students were wonderful, they came from all over these mountains, to this small community center. On one of my adventures with my hostess Evelyn Ward who teaches watercolor herself in Lewiston / Weaverville she brought me to this Buddhist temple that I found very healing.
The trout fishing is wonderful in this area and I was so tempted to throw in a line.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Placerville Workshop in 2009,

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Little more energy

I think I am getting just a little more energy everyday, at least I believe I am. July will be a test I will have a one day workshop on the 18 at the Point Reyes National Seashore then a 3 day, July 20-22 in Placerville CA. I am really trying to pace myself and I truly have a new respect for people that have an illness and what limitations there can be etc. etc.

I am thinking of hopefully soon doing some informative mini clips for YouTube or even a webinar, it is all just in the thinking stage at the moment, and what would be the best venue.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Started to paint again - at least trying to

I have to admit I am now glad that I postponed my out of state workshops. This healing process is not much fun the Herx reaction takes you down almost to the beginning of the illness before you go up and hopefully recover. Even feeling really lousy I can't give up or I have given them a chance to regroup. I know in some cases even after all of these meds that I am taking it doesn't help but I am at war with these creatures and will keep a positive attitude and will not give up.

I did finally paint the other day for an hour, I was given Dr. Martin watercolors to try, they said that they are now light fast. I tried them in the background and the colors are very intense. Unfortunately it just didn't feel like me or what I was looking for at that moment so I started another painting using WN which felt much more comfortable to me, and I am starting to like this one. I know I need to paint more and that it will help me through my own healing process.
If I get an hour in of painting I am really happy, I still have to be very careful not to overdo it, one day I might feel better I then do more than I really should.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Watercolor in Motion will be translated into Hebrew

I just found out that my book "Watercolor in Motion" has been picked up by an Israeli publisher and will translated into Hebrew. How cool, I am very excited about spreading the word of watercolor. They are going to have subtitles in Hebrew, the editor suggested next time I talk even slower so they have more room. I appreciated her suggestion and told her there is fine line between going too fast and putting someone to sleep, but I will defiantly keep that in mind. She told me that she was surprised that her publisher chose the book he normally would go for leather bound incredibly serious (arty) books. She asked him what he liked about this one, he said it made him happy and smile, and this new editor is now inspired to try watercolor herself again. very cool

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Point Reyes National Seashore -old Life boat station

What a great workshop this past weekend at the old Life boat station in the Point Reyes National Seashore we were working on "treasure from the shore" workshop. We had baby Elephant Seals outside the door and 3 whale spouting at the end of the dock. It was really windy (Normal for Spring). what a great group of students - will post photos as soon as possible.
I was rearranging my craft room and found a VHS tape "Field Studies". I hadn't actually watched it before because I've been using my computer with DVD's. I have had a block lately. I've been trying to get into painting again but found I was rearranging,buying different colors and gadgets but couldn't get inspired to paint. I watched the video and decided to try your suggestion starting with small scraps. I have been painting and enjoying painting ever since. I'm satisfied with using a few tried and true colors instead of trying to find the "new" color that would inspire me. That was the best tip I have ever received,my second was using a bigger brush (also from you).
I was wondering what color you mix to get a good sand color?
Thank you for your approach to painting. Your books are my favorites and I have many.
Sincerely, Kathy B.

Thank you!!
I like French Ultramarine Blue mixed with either Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna lean the mix a little more to the browns, at least that is what works for our beaches here. Let me know if that works if not get back to me and I will come up with a another combo for you.
Best wishes

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Question for Painting on Location

Q: Good Afternoon Birgit,
Thanks for the email, so glad the your book is available at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon. I shop at these two places. I have this book already and it signed which I found very nice this personal touch and the fact that you answer my email. Providing me with a helpful solution to my challenge with the back ground color for my floral painting. I use to paint a lot years ago and life just got in the way too many things happen. Now I'm getting back into it and your book with the DVD has been very helpful and inspirational. My next challenge is to paint on location. The last time I found it distracting and I couldn't focus on just one flower, scene, or subject matter, not to mention the bugs, mosquitoes, the light changing so fast. There is so much to deal with before you get ready to paint. I got so stress out, all I could do was take lots of photos, with the intend to use them when I got home. Do you have any suggestions?
I'm one of those student that learn by demo. Thanks again for any inputs you may want to share.
As always a friend

A: Hi Julia
Nice to hear from you, yes....painting outside in watercolor is very different than working on the studio I have found that I am happier with my paintings if I paint much smaller, looser and use more wet into wet techniques while on location, I mean small. 2x3 - 4x5 not much bigger. I am then able to capture more of the essence instead of every detail, for details I can take a photo.
Hope this helps Birgit

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mendocino Workshop Waves & Water

I am getting ready for my Mendocino Workshop this weekend March 27-28 "Waves and Water" and am really looking forward to it. The weather looks like it is going to be gorgeous! I think there might be a few openings left if anyone would like to join us - or for more workshop information please visit my Workshop page

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Out of State Workshops - Postponed

It is with a heavy heart I will have to postpone many of my out of State (California) workshops due to health issues. In May of 2007 I came down with Bells Palsy, in 2008 I came down other health problems only to find out that these were all symptoms of Lymes / Babesia (tick diseases) -the price I paid for long walks in nature. During this time I requested Lymes testing from my doctors and twice the results came back negative along with clinical misdiagnoses.

It is very common to have false negative or false positive results with Lymes testing. Fortunately it was one of my students that directed me to a lab (Igenex), which is known for the most accurate testing available and for that I will be forever grateful. After a more extensive full panel test I ended up with positive for Lymes result along with another tick co-infection. I have been treated since August of 2008 but unfortunately my test results still show an aggressive form of Lymes. So at this time we will be changing my treatments to more aggressive form making it more difficult for me to travel long distances but I do plan to be better soon.

My hope in sharing my illness with you is to bring awareness to Lymes Disease and other tick born diseases. Lymes is extremely difficult to diagnose as I said most tests are useless. If you do ever decide that you need a test - please consider an extensive full panel test that takes about three weeks for results not three days.

Lymes is the great imposter and mimics many other diseases such as MS, Lupus, Alzheimer's, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson's etc. and is very difficult to diagnose. The average time for a diagnosis is 22 months and 7 doctors later, not to mention thousands of dollars, and then finding a doctor that understands Lymes is another story.

If you have an unexplained illness, extreme fatigue, one thing after another going wrong, or the doctors think it is in your head please consider a really good Lymes test through Igenex.

If you are interested in more information or wish to contact me with any questions please visit my blog Bells Palsy / Lymes or email me at

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Books are in

The books are in and are on their way out. I hope you enjoy it!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Watercolor Essentials is Almost Here

My new book "Watercolor Essentials" has arrive in the US and should be shipped to me this week. As soon as I get them I will fill orders and send out another email letting everyone know that they have arrived.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Three new workshops added

I am starting to plan more workshops and am planning on being healthy again. If you ever need any help on finding out more information about Lymes or co-infections (tick diseases) you are welcome to contact me. I guess that was my price for spending so much time in nature.

I have just added three new workshops to my summer schedule

July 20-22 Flowers in Bloom Placerville CA

Back to back workshops
September 9-11 Up Close and Personal Flowers Lewiston, CA
September 12-13 Atmospheric Landscapes Lewiston, CA

For more information and registration please visit my website

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Masking Fluid

Q: Hi Birgit, Yayyyy, I did find your book under my Christmas tree (Watercolour in Motion) is better than expected! I have looked through many books on the subject and yours is by far the best..honestly. :) Will look forward to your next book. I have a question for you, if you have the time to answer: I have used masking several times in the past and it was always a 50/50 type deal as to wether it would come off without taking the sizing off the paper. I ruined several paintings and wasted a lot of good paper because of it so I stopped using it. However the type of painting I enjoy doing really does need some blocking out with it. Any ideas as to what I may be doing wrong? I did try putting a little dish soap in with it as suggested but it didnt help. Thanks for the e-mail re: your new book release Always a pleasure to peruse your site.
Cindy D. Toronto

Hi Cindy I really don't use it much and have not had too many problems with it but here are some ideas o why it may not be working. perhaps it is the brand - I prefer Pebeo drawing gum W&N is ok too.
It might be old - old fluid can stick.
If you leave it in the sun or use a hair dryer it can bake on.
If you leave it on the paper for a long period of time it can stick. (I have left it on some demos for years and it still come off but I have heard about others having the same problems as you.
Hope this helps

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Watercolor Essentials - New book 2009

Soon to be released in March "Watercolor Essentials" . If you liked my first book "Watercolor in Motion" I think you will enjoy this one too.

"Watercolor Essentials" Covers a wide range of subjects with twenty-eight exercises covering many typical and other quite unique and unusual techniques. With 12 full demonstrations that takes the reader through the painting process.

Learn the benefits of working with quality materials and be challenged to express yourself through watercolor. Discover the illusion of depth, design, negative space, while creating landscapes, boats, waves, water, reflections, sand and rocks etc. designed more for the beginning to intermediate level the advance artist will enjoy the step-by step floral demonstrations.

The bonus DVD is a reference that demonstrates, in action the material covered in this book.
Scheduled release date March 11, 2009.
"Watercolor Essentials"
Hard cover spiral bound
Great Tips for both the beginning and intermediate watercolorists.
Features a book/DVD combination for the ultimate learning experience.
Easy to spot icons direct the reader from the book to the video, cross referencing the content.
The authors kind and gentle voice helps to remove any apprehension the reader may have.

I hope you enjoy it & Happy Painting
Birgit O'Connor

"Watercolor In Motion"

"Watercolor In Motion"
Released in 2008
It's the interplay between water and paint that makes this medium so exciting. It's no wonder, then, that wet-into-wet is one of the most popular methods for painting in watercolor. This unique book/DVD workshop shows you how to "go with the flow," moving watercolor across the page to create gorgeous paintings. It covers everything from selecting the best papers, paints and brushes, to achieving intense color passages, the illusion of depth and lively shadows.15 step-by-step demonstrations illustrate important lessons on shapes, complementary colors, masking fluid, glazing and more. The techniques are illustrated with Birgit O'Connor's bold and beautiful flowers, but are applicable to any subject. The included DVD shows key techniques in action-blending colors, creating hard and soft edges, and painting water drops-as well as troubleshooting common problems with washes. Watercolor has a reputation for being unpredictable. But the secret to success, as you'll learn here, is using the right amount of water, which lets you have more control ... and fun!
Signed copies available on my web-site or through Amazon or any fine books store.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Workshop Update

Happy Holidays

I have not yet posted all of my 2009 workshops due to my illness and wanted to give all of you a heads up..... I had an unexpected twist last week. After consultation with some other doctors from another Lymes clinic I found out that I have a more aggressive case of Lyme's than first thought

My doctors will be changing my treatment program to a more aggressive form sometime the future but I have no idea when. I would like them to make the change sooner than later but the doctors want to wait awhile. I am having a bit of anxiety of wanting to schedule workshops but I am at a point of not knowing what to do. My plan was to try stick to my commitments but I may have to wait with the new workshops that are on the burner.

My biggest concern is traveling when we switch to the more intensive treatment. I hopefully will know more after my next round of testing which can take up to three weeks for results. I first expected to be better by January so many of you many not even know that I was having some health issues. (I am sure that you know that I had Bells Palsy but that was only a symptom of the Lymes, the doctors should have diagnosed this in the begining but I had two negative tests. Fortunately it was one of my students that told me of the best lab to contact for the most accurate results.)

With this twist after consultation with the another Lyme's clinic I just don't know what to expect right now, I think I am doing better then I unexpectedly get slammed again with symptoms or hopefully die off. So we may have to reschedule some workshops until later this year or for 2010, please stay in touch and I will let you know any updates as soon as I know.

Best wishes