Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas Eve Ya'll!

T'was the day before Christmas ....

I just had to share this photo of Casey and Rocky, my two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They have loved playing in the snow this week and getting them to pose for the camera is a major accomplishment.

Commands like ..."sit" "stay" "wait" go in one ear and out the other.

What worked? Showing them a bag of "Beggin Strips" doggy treats did the trick!

Happy Christmas Eve Ya'll!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Greetings from Susie Short!

Happy Holidays!

This little landscape is one of my favorites from my Winter Landscape Collection for 2008. It has such a crisp clean and peaceful feel to it.

For those interested in learning how to paint this card I do have a pattern packet with written instructions available. Click here for more information

We are really experiencing winter here in the Seattle area this week. In my neighborhood the roads are icy and there has been about 8 inches of snow on the ground for 5 days. I took a lot of reference photos on the snow on the trees and I'm in the mood to paint some more snowy landscapes. I guess thats what happens when you get snow bound. I've never lived where the snow stuck around for very long so I like it! It really does make it feel more like Christmas!

My dogs love the fluffy white stuff and can't wait to go outside to play. Trouble is the snow attaches to their fur and they don't like sitting by the door with the hair dryer to melt the snow balls that collect on their feet and bellies.

Maybe tomorrow I'll build a snowman.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Painting a Pretty Poinsettia

Merry Christmas!

When we see a poinsettia we automatically thing of the Christmas Season. They make the perfect flower for the holidays. Painting a poinsettia can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. Easy is painting them like this on, looking down at them from the top. Painting them from the side view or other angles includes more shapes and perspective.

I've added a new watercolor tip on my website for Painting Pretty Poinsettias. Check your print preview before you print it. You may need to adjust your margins a little. I hope you enjoy painting these pretty flowers with me. Please email me a jpeg of your poinsettias I'd love to see your paintings or cards. I'll be starting a new page for paintings created from the watercolor tips on my website in a few months.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Roses

Merry Christmas!

May the Joy and the Blessings of the Season

be with you through the coming year!

I thought I share a completely different type of Christmas card with you today. This was the card I painted as my own to be sent by me for 2006. Next year I will include it in a collection of Christmas Roses Cards for the public to purchase. I love to paint white roses surrounded by winter greenery like holly with red berries and sprigs of fir or pine. Each card is unique because I "build" them as I go. I'll share another of my Christmas Rose cards I painted this year in a day or two.

Perhaps this subject would make a good watercolor video. What do you think? I'd appreciate your feedback.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Meet my boys!

Allow me to introduce you to Rocky and Casey our two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. They are
the official "greeting committee" for students and guests coming to my studio. This photo was taken on one of my photo excursions to a local nursery to get reference photos of poinsettias of future painting or cards. If you live in the Seattle area you are invited to stop by my studio to be welcomed by the "boys" and see some of my latest paintings.
Merry Christmas to you all!
Susie Short Studio is located in Kent, WA @ 1311 Central Ave South Suite D
(Plemmons Bldg) (not too far from Emerald Downs)

Happy Holidays! Greeting Card by Susie Short

Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season!
When I sit down to paint winter cards I usually don't have an exact composition in mind. I like to paint on 4 or 5 at a time and let them evolve as I go. Do I ever mess one up? YES!
But I like to give myself permission to try something new and if it doesn't work try again or do something different.
One of my favorite techniques for starting a winter landscape card is using a plastic card (expired credit or gift card) to "scrape" or "scratch" out the white birch or aspen tree. Then I add the darker bark features and darker evergreen behind the 'scraped trees' to make them stand out.
If you are interested in learning more about this technique you will find instructions on my watercolor tips page on my website. Try it!
For my original cards I use blank greeting cards made for watercolor. Two brands that work well for me are Strathmore Watercolor Cards and Canson Watercolor Greeting Cards. Both come with envelopes in economy packs of 30-50 cards. Enough to goof up a couple and still have plenty of cards to paint on!
Of course you can always use regular watercolor paper and cut it to greeting card size.
If you do try this technique I'd love to hear your comments.
Happy Painting!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Landscape Christmas Card

Season's Greetings!

Brrrr! It's been snowing at my house in Washington state. Talk about inspiration for winter snow paintings! This is another card I painted with a winter landscape theme. It is a composition that "happened" as I added brushstrokes to my paper. Instead of being painted from a real place it evolved from my imagination. I like to paint on several cards at the same time and while one card is drying I add something to the next card. Its always surprising how a little detail in one card is just what the other card needs too. That happened with the rocks in this card. And after the rocks I decided to add the hint of frozen water. I like the final results, don't you?

Being a gal from Texas where it doesn't snow much and when it does it usually melts almost as fast as it hits the ground I try to take advantage of "snow days" and soak up as much as I can. I do take photos for reference but nothing beats good observation and painting from memory.

Thanks for your comments! I enjoy reading each one.


Christmas Greeting Cards

As many of you know I paint what seems to be hundreds of cards for the Christmas Holiday season. My Christmas card classes and demos always seem to be a favorite topic for my students. And each year I try to come up with new and different ideas to share.

As a test to see if there was a market for them I took 10 of last years original watercolor cards, printed them and put together a sampler pack to sell on my website. The 2008 Winter Landscape Collection has really been selling well. Many thanks to those of you who placed your orders! In addition to the package of 10 greeting cards I also wrote step by step instructions for painting each card. Call them a watercolor mini lesson, because each little landscape "could" be a larger winter landscape painting.

There is still time to get more in the mail if you are interested.

Click here to order from my artstore. Or just to take a better look at them!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Autumn Leaves

I'm still in catch up mode here.....In November we painted leaves leaves and more leaves! I love the beautiful warm colors of the fall. I even create a special palette with extra paint colors that I don't use in my regular palette. Painting #3 is stamped from real leaves then when dry filled in with color. Painitng #1 is a composition of stamped leaves and freehand leaf shapes. Painting #2 is painted from a photo I took of a some leaves in the parking lot at my studio. Amazing what you can find when you look down.

Painting Pumpkins


Wow! I am so far behind with my blogging! I had so many good intentions when I started this. And when things got hectic I didn't want to get things out of order or miss sharing my activities with you. What happened? I found out the "behinder " I got the more impossible it was to catch up. So ..... I'm going to share what I can when I can and not let the things I miss stop me from posting current activities.

In September and October I held several classes on painting pumpkins and other harvest bounties. Here are a few of those paintings.....enjoy!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Paint the Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest

Paint the Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest is the next watercolor class I will be teaching in Seattle at the Daniel Smith Classroom.
Working from an assortment of high resolution digital photos taken over the past 3-4 years in Mt Rainier National Park and the Cascade foothills this class will focus on close-up views of individual flowers as well as natural groupings or clusters of wildflowers as they can be found in the meadows or along the trails.
Seating is limited to 14 painters. There are still a few seats left so if you want to join us for a fun day of painting wildflowers call my studio @ 253-859-1111 asap.
Where: Seattle Daniel Smith Classroom
What: Paint the Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest in Watercolor
Who: Susie Short, watercolor teacher --- All skill levels welcome
When: August 18, 2008 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
Cost: $55 paid in advance

Basic Watercolor Supplies -- Supply List emiled upon request.
For More information visit my website
or contact me (Susie)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

From my sketchbook - Plein Air Sketches

These are the sketches I painted sitting in my van while the fog rolled by. Even though the day was chilly and the air was damp, being up there....close to the top of the world... was a pleasure.
They say the mountain creates its own weather. For what ever reason it just needed to be behind the blanket of fog that Friday.
Whenever I look at these little 6x8 sketches I'll remember ... I was there.
Sigh............ so much to paint so little time!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sunday - Plein Air on Mt Rainier 080308


What a difference a day makes! The previous twenty-four hours were filled with a fog that rolled in and out of our base camp at Sunrise. On Sunday the sun was shining and the sky was the most beautiful azure blue you have ever seen!

We had a wonderful view of the mountain and the wildflowers. My nose and cheeks got a little pink during my 2 hour demo. Sunscreen was definitely a must on this day! As you can see we all were able to make the most of of afternoon. It always amazes me that even though we were all looking at the same mountain and foreground we all came up with really different paintings of the same view. After we painted for a while several of us took to the trails to see how many more wildflowers we could find to photograph for future paintings.

2008 will go down in our books as one of the best years for painting the wildflowers en plein air.

My thanks to the fourteen painters who made my trip to the mountain a pleasurable treat.
It's my hope that you will join me again next year to see what "the mountain" has for us in 2009.
Until next time....keep those brushes wet!


Monday, August 4, 2008

Plein Air Paint Out @ Mt Rainier National Park - August 1-2-3, 2008

This past weekend, (August 1-2-3, 2008) fourteen fellow watercolor artists joined me to take advantage of the limited opportunity to visit and paint Mount Rainier's meadows of wildflowers, which usually flourish in late July and early August. Fortunately, our scheduled dates to paint "en Plein Air" at Sunrise Visitor's Center was a good choice and the blooms were near peak for our visit. It was reported that the long winter season of 2008 with it's heavy snowfall has been trying to fool Mother Nature. And we all understood when the park ranger explains, "the plants won’t bloom until the snow melts away and the sun shines. "
The best news is that even though the bloom season for many of the flowers was delayed by the lingering snowfall most of the wildflowers were all blooming at once and creating a spectacular display for us to capture on paper! Oh, what a colorful sight to behold! Soft hues of blue and bright yellow, crisp magenta and pale lavender, creamy white and luscious greens made up the perfect wildflower palette.

Mt Rainier was playing a game of hide and seek with us as far as the weather was concerned. On Friday a blanket of thick fog that never lifted to give us a glimpse of "the mountain" from our base at Sunrise located at 6,400 ft. The day of fog was cold and wet with intermittent rain showers. I was able to take advantage of the many wildflower photo opportunities I found at the lower elevations along the drive up to Sunrise. (And I got some great photos of the trees through the fog too.)

These photos were taken on Friday, August 1, 2008 - I was the only painter in our group that made it to the mountain to paint this day. I took many photos and painted two sketches in my field sketch book.

More to come............SUSIE

Saturday, started out foggy. As seven artists gathered for a "meet and greet" we wondered if we would even get a glimpse of Mt Rainier. We could however see the glorious wildflowers on the meadow in the opposite direction. While I was painting the demo of the wildflower meadow that extended to a rugged peak, the clouds parted and the mountain in all its glory allowed us to say hello. For the next 3 hours we had off and on quick glimpses of Little Tahoma and Mt Rainier's glaciers. Our focus of the wildflower meadow yielded a handsome array of watercolor paintings.

The beauty of the snowcapped mountain known as Mt Rainier is complemented by the park's famous wildflowers that bloom in the meadows on its slopes after the snow has melted in mid-summer. We were there to paint both the mountain and the meadow's wildflowers!

Read my next post about Sunday's Plein Air Painting...


Our artist pal Joe is missing from the photo. Joe did arrived in time to see some sunshine. We accused him of bringing the waves of fog that came with a drastic drop in temperature and millions of tiny water droplets. Most of us called it a day by 4:00 pm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Report on Sea & Shore Workshop

Well, it was sink or swim for 14 students at this two day event!

I'm pleased to report that everyone survived the day with their heads and paper above the water!
Day one: As planned we worked on studies of waves in action learning to recognize just what they do as they roll into shore. It was fun to see all the splatter and splashing of the brushstrokes create "recognizable" wave shapes. After a short lunch break the class started on a small (7.5 x 11)study of Arch Cape. The study included rock formations often referred to as Haystack Rocks, wet sand with reflections and the ripples of the ocean waves washing ashore. Before we knew it the day was gone and it was time to quit.

Day two: Nine of the fourteen artists returned for the second day of painting. By the end of the second day each student had a seascape painting to hang on their wall.It always amazes me how we can all use the same photo to paint the same subject and yet each painting is very personally unique.As is usually the case during a workshop I started my demo painting but did not get it finished. After spending most of the afternoon coaching and offering advise my painting is still a work in progress.
I will post it when I have time to add some finishing touches.
Thanks again to all of the artists who participated! It really was fun.

Until next time, keep those brushes wet!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Seattle DEMO & Bellevue Class

This was a busy week!
On Saturday July 12th the Seattle Daniel Smith Store had standing room only for the morning demo on painting the Sea & Shore. One of the things I love about doing demonstrations is the interaction with the other artists in the room. They were very responsive and interested in learning how I painted the different types of waves featured in the watercolor paintings on display.
The afternoon demonstration repeated some wave information but also included some tips for painting rocks and wet sand. It was fun to show everyone how the new Surf and Sand Triad works for painting the beach and the ocean water.

REMINDER: There are still a couple of seats left in the two day workshop Painting the Sea & Shore Watercolor Workshop July 27 -28 at the Seattle Daniel Smith Store. Call 206-223-9599 to register. It is sure to be a fun two days!

On Tuesday July 15 I taught a Sea and Shore class in Bellevue. After a morning of practicing how to paint waves, the afternoon was dedicated to executing a painting with water and rocks and wet sand with reflections. Everyone in the class had a successful painting to take home and frame. I'd like to say thanks to the Bellevue staff for making our day so enjoyable!

There will be more one classes in both Seattle and Bellevue this summer and into the fall.
Watch my blog and my calendar for updates and more information!

Until next time.... Keep those brushes wet!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sea and Shore Watercolor Demo and Workshop

You are all invited to come see my FREE demo at the Seattle Daniel Smith Store this coming Saturday (July 12th, 2008) at 11:00 and 1:45 pm

I'm offering a one day class on painting the techniques used for painting seascapes in watercolor at the Bellevue Daniel Smith Classroom. Register with me (Susie) for this one. To sign-up online using PayPal click here or you may register by completing the mail form found at the same link.

Check the Daniel Smith Store Blog for a preview based on the blog report of my first Sea & Shore demo on June 21st. (Thanks Debbie!) And I'd also like to thank the fine group of Wet Canvas artists who came to the was nice to me you'll and I hope you will come to more of my watercolor events!

Plus I'll be conducting a two day Sea & Shore Watercolor Workshop on July 27th and 28th in the Seattle Daniel Smith Store. This fun two-day workshop is packed full of information for the intermediate to advanced watercolorist.
  • Day One: I'll start by showing many of the elements that make a successful seascape painting. Students will learn how to create the forms of waves, breakers, rocks, sea foam, and wet sand. I'll will discuss and demonstrate the importance of color, sunlight, atmosphere, and composition. Practice exercises will help you build a foundation using these forms, and also help plan your composition before actually starting a painting.
  • Day Two: We'll begin with a brief demo following with a review of painting techniques covered on day one. You will then start your seascape painting while I'm there to offer individual instruction and encouragement helping you effectively paint the sea and shore.
    Photo references will be available for use and purchase or you may wish to bring your own photos to work from.
  • Cost: $75 per day
  • Time:11 AM to 4:00 PM
Don't forget my FREE demo at the Seattle Daniel Smith Store this coming Saturday (July 12th, 2008) at 11:00 and 1:45 pm

See you there! Keep those brushes wet!


New Sand 'n Surf Watercolor Triad

Take a look at this newly released triad of watercolor paint the nice folks at Daniel Smith let me select just in time for painting summer seascapes! I wanted to include two of my color favorites and introduce my students to Goethite a nicly granulating pigment perfect for painting sand.

These three superb colors work together to create the illusion of waves breaking into foamy surf and washing onto a golden sandy beach. Ultramarine Turquoise and Indanthrone Blue, used side-by-side or mixed, create a wide value range of blue-greens. Diluted they add the right touch of color to foaming waves. The natural granulating characteristics of Goethite (Brown Ochre) are perfect for painting golden beach sand.

The DANIEL SMITH Limited Edition Susie Short "Sand and Surf" Extra Fine Watercolor Triad is available online from the Daniel Smith website. Save 47% off the list price and it ships FREE!

You may also want to read the DS Blog about this new triad too!
Let me know how you like them!!
This photo was taken by Wet Canvas artist Laura D at the June 21st Sea & Shore DEMO. I appreciate the WC folks getting together to come see me do my thing! I hope they can make it to more events.
Keep those brushes wet!

PS. The waves in the previous post were also painted with this new watercolor triad.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Watercolor Splashes and Splatters


I've been splashing in the waves for the past few months. I have so much to learn about how the waves are formed. Once I have some understanding of what I'm seeing I then have the challenge of putting what I see and what I want to see on my watercolor paper. Wow, what a fun and exciting task!

The Internet has many good images of waves in photos from around the world but I don't like to work from other photographers work. Aside from copyright infringement issues, I find (for me personally) nothing beats going straight to the source...cameras and sketchbook in hand ... and just study the waves for myself. What a wonderful excuse to visit the coast!

During my visits to the Oregon coast I was fortunate to observe several different lighting conditions and directions to give me a wider depth of study. And I came home with several hundred digital photos to sort through. A task I will thoroughly enjoy.

I have found that the best motivation for learning how to paint an unfamiliar subject in watercolor is the teach it. At least that's what works for me, after all how can I teach someone else how to do it if I can't do it myself. I'm feeling pretty confident that my wave studies have been successful and while I still have much to learn about waves and their nature I believe I have a fairly good grasp on where to start my watercolor paintings. The two watercolor study paintings displayed above were painted in my studio from a combination of my photo references. They are 11 x 7.5 inches painted on Arches 140# CP paper using Daniel Smith Watercolors.

I used these two watercolor paintings (plus several additional watercolor works-in-progress) to teach a watercolor class in Bellevue in April. It was such a fun class. There will be more....

I'll share some more coastal paintings in the near feature. (I'm on a roll! And I have another watercolor workshop coming up on July 15th in Bellevue and July 27 & 28 in Seattle. And you're invited to come see my FREE DEMO at the Seattle Daniel Smith Store on July 12th 11:00am & 1:45pm)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will visit again soon!
Keep those brushes wet!