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Showing posts from 2016

Water lines, Grainy Washes, Excess Water

Hard Waterlines Reapplying water to an area before it is completely dry can dilute color and carry the pigment to the outside edges, where it will accumulate, leaving unwanted hard lines. The obvious solution is to allow areas to dry completely before reapplying water or color. If you do form a waterline, try to soften it with a scrub brush or reapply water and glaze over it.

Grainy Washes
Mineral pigments and sedimentary colors tend to create grainy washes. Leaving your palette uncovered allows dust particles to accumulate, which may result in unwanted texture. Using a hair dryer to dry the damp pigment can flatten the sediment in the wash.

Warping and Buckling Paper
Watercolor tends to pool on lighter weight papers, often causing warping and buckling. Keep tilting your paper and moving the color to prevent pooling. A hair dryer will speed up the drying process. Hold it approximately 10 inches (25cm) away from the paper and keep the airflow moving evenly, or you can end up with areas that…

What is Fugitive color?

Fugitive Colors and Watercolor Painting by Birgit O’Connor It’s a little surprising that many watercolor artists are not really sure what “fugitive color” means, nor do they even care; they simply want to paint with colors they like and that’s about it. That’s fine but, if you intend to sell your art or teach a course in watercolor painting, you need to know what fugitive color means. So what is fugitive color?
A fugitive color is a pigment that, when exposed to certain environmental conditions such as sunlight, humidity, temperature or even pollution, is less permanent. Over time the color can change, lighten, darken or even almost disappear. Basically think of fugitive colors as temporary. They should only be used for fun projects, rather than in a professional watercolor painting. Red is a powerful color that affect affects people’s emotions, so when painting you want to retain the dynamic energy and not have it fade or darken over time. Reds are notoriously fugitive, which can be …

The Monarch Butterfly

Such an inspiring journey

How to find lost images on your SD card

What! Wiped out SD card!! All images GONE! Went into my cell service provider yesterday and the sales lady accidentally wiped off every single image I had on my phone about 1800 of them, when I asked where my photos were, she said, - sorry this has never happened before, I asked her how am I going to get them back, she again said sorry, there gone.
I was so in shock I couldn't say anything, and for those that know me (that's rare), no images anywhere?...all it said was no files found, on the phone, cloud, and SD card called tech support they couldn't find them anywhere either. All I could think about was finding a solution.
I found a program by "Wondershare" that scoured my "BLANK" Reformatted SD card and found all of them hidden deep in the card. Have to admit it, I was pretty darn smitten with myself, and I am still getting emails from my provider that are saying that they can't find them anywhere, even though I had a cloud.
Why I'm telling yo…

"Watercolor Essentials" simple solutions

Here are some fun things that are happening that you might find useful

Artists Network is sharing some excerpts from one of my books "Watercolor Essentials"  
simple solutions for common watercolor problems.  Click Here

and just in case you don't already have it, North Light is offering an awesome sale on my  "Watercolor Essentials" book today.

Click Here

Busy week

What a busy and awesome week, wrote an article for Artist Magazine, prepared an online workshop for Artist Network University, editing 2 new online workshops for my online school and ready to start the book for North Light next week....was that all in one week? ....yes - Yikes

What's your favorite brand of watercolor paint and color?

I think I can safely say that we all "LOVE" color, so I posed this question to my student groups to find out what they like and it's been interesting to hear all the different replies. 
Through the years I have gathered lots of different brands of color and when working on my own paintings I enjoy experimenting, but one of the challenges that can happen is when you try incorporating it into the current pallet. Some artists believe that you shouldn't mix brands, but really how often does that happen?
You could work with the three primaries of one brand, but if your like me, I enjoy playing and seeing how different color flows, rewet's, granulates and blends. It's exciting giving new colors a try, after all, as are artists, color is one of the things that inspires us. 
When buying a new brand of color make sure to test it first before committing to a painting.  Things to think about:How does it blend with other colors and brands.How is the transparency. Does the co…

Dot at the end of a brushstroke

Just in case you are having problems with a little dot on the end of a brushstroke, this should help you understand why it is happening and how to avoid it (from the Calla Lily Course / online workshops)

Mothers Day Sale

Mothers Day Sale
Save and additional 25% off the "Spring Flowers Online Workshop".
For 3 days only 
(Good until Monday May 9th 2016)

Whale playing in the surf

Caught a picture of a whale playing in the surf while I was taking snaps for my upcoming workshop in Mendocino WAVES, WATER AND CLOUDS July 25–28, 2016 (Monday–Thursday, 9:30am–4:30pm) Affordable lodging is available onsite or at the Mendocino Hotel (European rooms $70 a night) and maybe the Hill House (check with the art center for more details) 

What a Wild weekend painting wildflowers

What a Wild weekend painting wildflowers in the Pt Reyes National Seashore. Howling winds, lost power, elephant seals on the beach, sea lions coming into the kitchen - what an Adventure and bonding experience. on the last day winds subsided it was absolutely beautiful.

Loose Wildflower Paintings

Loose Wildflower Paintings Looking forward to this weekends workshop where we will be painting  Wild Flowers of the Point Reyes National Seashore. 

We will practice different techniques, loose, wet-into-wet, and more controlled painting, should be lots of fun.

San Fernando Watercolor Society

Here is our group photo at the San Fernando Watercolor Society workshop.  Thank you everyone for such a great time.

....and yes after the workshop, I found my way to Disneyland...joined my family, and my granddaughters took me on all of the scary rides.  After riding on roller-coasters everything else is a piece of cake

New friends in Southern CA

We have a full house here in Southern California at the Valley Watercolor Society.

Valley Watercolor Society 2016

First day of our workshop in Southern California for the Valley Watercolor Society, one of my students Claudia Kazachinsky did this wonderful little painting of me, just had to share.

Start Painting Now & Save 25% on Beginner Course

Save 25% on Watercolor Beginner Course

Use Code:  PaintNow

View / Enroll

Start painting in watercolor immediately, n​o drawing skills required. Get started painting in watercolor immediately and learn the basics of water-to-color blending, values, tips & techniques, brush care, what kind of brushes to use and much more, easy to follow step-by-step lessons designed just for you.
Go at your own Pace and have access to the course content at anytime with no time limit.
Covered in this course Color BasicsColor BlendingValuesWashesWater-to-Water BlendsMake the Color FlowSimple CloudsSimple landscapeSimple travel sketchBrush careNo MistakesNo Drawing skills requiredTips & TechniquesAdd the Water Back into WatercolorOver 24 different lessonsHave Fun

How to Tear Watercolor Paper

Have you ever had problems tearing watercolor paper ? I think you are going to LOVE this. 
This little snippet is from one of my workshops it is such a quick and easy way to tear your paper down to size. This works well for most papers. 

Where I buy my paper

Hi everyone, I was just asked by a student where I get my paper, 300 lb CP (Cold Press) paper. This is a great question because many places only carry blocks or 140lb sheets. Personally I like either Dick Blick or Cheap Joe's their prices are both pretty competitive and sometimes Cheap Joe's has amazing sales, or one place will give you free shipping, but I'll let you figure that part out. 

I like to use Natural white, 22x30 Arches Cold Press and then tear it down to size. 

You will see all the different sizes available and consider buying your paper in bulk even if 5-10 sheets at a time, or place an order with a friend

Cheap Joe's or  Dick Blick

Update on Make your flowers Sing Course

Update: I made a couple of improvements to the "Make Your Colors Sing" course. the video lessons are now downloadable to your device so you can view the lesson anywhere. Another change is that I have included a printable 15x22 line drawing, that can be used to transfer your drawing to watercolor paper. Let me know how this works for you. I am planning on making other courses downloadable along with the larger PDF files.
Happy Painting Birgit smile emoticon

Meet Scooter one of my new students

Nancy one of my students, sent this photo to me and said, Meet our kitten, Scooter, a rapt student of Birgit. Makes it a little difficult for me to view the daffodil DVD!
LOVE the picture, thanks Nancy It's nice to have students at all levels 

Tips: Tearing Watercolor paper

Are you looking for an easy way to tear watercolor paper?
Here are some easy tips

Click Here to View Link

"Brilliant Saturated Color"

Hi everyone I just added a new course to my online school take a look at "Brilliant Saturated Color".
If you have questions or new ideas for other courses just let me know at
To view the school Click Here
Happy Painting 

Join my New Online Courses

I'm really excited to let you know that I have launched my new online school and here are just a few of the courses available. Over time, more and more will be available so of you have comments or program ideas that you would like to see, just let me know.

I love the idea of being able to reach people that aren't able to make it to one of my workshops and also make it easier for people in different countries.

You are able to go at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home studio.

View all courses here

Brush Tips

I am always asked how I clean my brushes, all I ever do is just rinse them out with clean water, but some people feel that their brushes aren't clean unless they use soap. Be careful when washing your brushes with any detergent or too often, this can damage and dry the hair making them brittle. If you feel that you really need to wash your brush then use a mild soap, such as ivory, baby soap or brush soap (which is specifically designed for washing brushes). Start by putting a little soap in the palm of your hand and gently work it into the hair of the brush. Shape: To reshape your brush, wet the tip then flick your wrist in a downward motion to remove the water and reshape the point. If you prefer not to flick your brush, remove the excess water and gently reshape it back to a point then lay them flat on a soft terry towel then let dry.Storage: Between paintings place your clean dry brushes handle down in a heavy clay, stone jar or pot, keeping the ferrule (tip) side up in the a…

FREE mini course

Enjoy this FREE mini course, release the fear of watercolor along with any idea of having to be perfect. Start with simple 5x7 paintings, then later increase the size using the same techniques if you like. Have a better understanding of much water to use, drying time of the surface and how to use those so called accidents, to your advantage. Ask questions and post your own paintings.
Click Here

The Star Flower with Birgit O'Connor Free Webinar Recording

Published on Feb 16, 2016 In the recording of this webinar, Birgit O'Connor demonstrates how she creates the Star Flower step-by-step. Learn how to see value in shadows, how to mix colors, shape petals and more!