Monday, September 29, 2014

Watercolor Techniques: Spirited Sunflowers

Autumn is such a great time to spread your creative wings and deepen your knowledge of art making. When I create paintings in the fall, I long to celebrate the fall colors around me. This new online class, Spirited Sunflowers, will teach you new watercolor techniques while creating luminous sunflowers.

Perfectly capture the beauty of spirited sunflowers, bold blossoms and dramatic light with radiant watercolors!  You will learn fun watercolor techniques for creating texture in your backgrounds that you can apply to any of your watercolor or mixed media paintings.

Taking an online class with me is like looking over my shoulder while I paint.  I talk you through all of the decisions I’m making and why I’m making them — whether it’s color mixing, techniques, or design.  I take you step-by-step through it all! The joy of taking an online class with me is you get to see me paint a watercolor from start to finish in real time. I speed up a few parts only so you don't get bored, but every technique is narrated.

Not sure what I said? That's okay. I also provide a written "tips" section with bullet points that cover the essentials. I also list all the paint I use and with shopping information for my favorite brands so you can duplicate the same results at home.

I didn't explain something clearly? The beauty of the online class forum is that I can answer your questions.

All videos are filmed in high definition. You can pause, stop, go back, and skip ahead though class videos as needed.  Lessons are divided up into easy-to-digest segments so you know which video you want to review if you need a quick refresher without having to watch the entire video.

This project emerged as a favorite in my "reader's choice" poll and no wonder. Come join your friends and make new ones in a convenient online class that you can enjoy from any internet  device.
Sign Up Now!
Here is a sample of one of my sunflower watercolor paintings. I will begin a brand new one for you to learn from and provide you with a photo reference so you can create your own. All my secrets for creating the drama in this painting will be revealed in this online class. (like this painting? The original is in a private collection, but sunflower prints are available online in my etsy shop)

Frequently Asked Questions:

When will class be ready?
You can join at any time. All materials will be self-paced so you may view and review as needed.

How long will I have access?
You will never lose access to this online art class. So you can come back again and again.

What if I have questions?
I answer all questions within 24 hours during the work week and any questions posed during the weekends are answered on Mondays. Your fellow students may also jump in and answer your questions.

Who is the teacher?
I am Miriam Schulman, founder of the Inspiration Place and I have been practicing watercolor for over 20 years. I will be your guide for sharing my watercolor secrets for creating luminous sunflowers. You may read my full bio here.

Do I need to have experience with watercolors to take this class?
Although it is helpful to have taken Watecolor Secrets class at the Inspiration Place, it is not a requirement and students and artists of all skill levels are welcome.

How many videos? How long are the videos?
This class is under construction but the plan is to have  a welcome video, a supply video and about 3 videos between 10-20 minutes each that teach the skills needed to paint sunflowers.

Can I watch from my ipad?
Yes.. you just need internet access to watch videos in this class.

This sounds do I join?
 You can join me HERE!

So how about it...are you ready to try something new?

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Famous Women Artists: Alice Neel

This post is part of my "famous women artists" series where I turn the spotlight on different women artists. This week we focus on modern painter Alice Neel.

Expressionist Portrait Artist

Alice Neel is known for psychologically disturbing portraits during the twentieth century. Initially a painter in Greenwich Village, she moved to Spanish Harlem to blaze her own trail. Painting portraits while most artists during her time shunned representational figure painting, especially portraits, Neel gained prominence by painting portraits of other artists such as Andy Warhol and well known public figures. She had a solo retrospective of her while she was still alive at the Whitney Museum of Art. When she passed in 1985 she had a "Joan Rivers worthy" memorial service at the Whitney Museum which was attended by luminaries such as Mayor Ed Koch. In addition, poet Allen Ginsberg gave his first public reading of his poem ‘White Shroud' at her service.

It was more than a profession. It was even a therapy, for there I just told it as it was. It takes a lot of courage in life to tell it how it is. ~Alice Neel

Samples of her artwork

While cruising the internet for pictures of her art to download I was met with glaring warning about "copyrights" and reprodcuing her art without permission. To avoid all that I went onto Amazon to show you some book covers with her art on it. Here are some books about Alice Neel.

There are over 100 titles on Amazon about Alice Neel.

In this excerpt about her you get to see some really great art as well as listen to her philosophy about paintings and art

Whether I'm painting or not, I have this overweening interest in humanity. Even if I'm not working, I'm still analyzing people.

~Alice Neel 

wonderful documentary about her life

Current Exhibitions of Alice Neel's Paintings Around the World 

Whether you are in London or New York you can find Neel's art in many prominent collections and her portraits are included in the following shows...


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What do you think of these portraits?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Famous Women Artists: Helen Frankenthaler

Famous Women Artists: Helen Frankenthaler
This post is part of my "famous women artists" series where I turn the spotlight on different women artists. This week we focus on modern painter Helen Frankenthaler.

Abstract Expressionist

Helen Frankenthaler was part of the group of abstract expressionist painters who studied under Hans Hoffman in the 1950's. Being in this group of artists exposed her to the highest levels of art society and she became a close personal friend of the influential art critic Clement Greenberg. Greenberg took Frankenthaler to the studio of Jackson Pollock where she witnessed first hand the painting his style which she called "cooperation by chance." Frankenthaler evolved the idea further by creating paintings on the floor by thinning paint and then pouring it onto raw canvas.

Bridge Between Pollock and Color Field Painters

Frankenthaler is cited as the bridge between Pollock and the color field paintings that came after her which is why I included her in my blog post: Ten Women Artists Every Young Girl Should know About

Famous Women Artists: Helen Frankenthaler
Here is Helen Frankenthaler in her studio. My artist friends and I always comment about how we often dress to match our paintings and vice versa. You can see the coral in her blouse echoed in the coral on the painting against the wall, which looks like her famous "Mountains and Sea" paitning. Frankenthaler's paintings were created, like Pollock's, on the floor.
Famous Women Artists: Helen Frankenthaler
Frankenthaler's seminal work: "Mountains and Sea" is one of her most famous and pivotal works. This painting is often cited as the bridge between Jackson Pollock's work and color field paintings like Mark Rothko.

Famous Women Artists: Helen Frankenthaler

If you are in New York, try to get to Composing with Color at the Gagosian Gallery. You will see works like this one. The Color Field artist Helen Frankenthaler’s “Cool Summer” (1962), at Gagosian Gallery. Credit 2014 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Gagosian Gallery

Tribute Film

Where you can see Frankenthaler's paintings now...

Frankenthaler's paintings are included in the permanent collections of major museums worldwide including The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. You can also see her art in a solo exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery and included in a group exhibition at the Neuberger Museum. Details below.

Current Exhibitions in New York

“Helen Frankenthaler: Composing With Color: Paintings 1962-1963” runs through Oct. 18 at Gagosian Gallery, 980 Madison Avenue, near 76th Street

"When Modern was Contemporary" at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, New York though December 15, 2014.
Famous Women Artists: Helen Frankenthaler

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What do you think of these ethereal paintings?

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Art Market Research

So I am doing a little art market research and I wanted to share it with all my blog readers. As you may know, I teach online watercolor classes at the Inspiration Place and I decided to let my students help me choose the next project. I posted five different project ideas and I asked them, what do you want to learn? The poll will be open through September  25th, 2014. Then I will start filming the most popular class choice.  You can cast your vote too.

What do you want to learn? Let your voice be heard at the Inspiration Place


Watercolor Projects in the Lead

Right now, dragonflies and sunflowers are neck in neck in the popular vote with an even number of art enthusiasts voting for each. Which painting do you want to win? Here is a little more information about what I will be teaching in each watercolor course. If you are not a member yet of the Inspiration Place, membership is free.

Oh sunflowers-- 

Van gogh saw beauty in this flower that resembles an overgrown dandelion and so will you. Sunflowers are a great intermediate project for someone with a little bit of experience in watercolor and wants to create something luminous and fantastic. If this project wins the popular vote, I will be teaching how to capture the light on petals, to mix gorgeous greens and create a mysterious and harmonious background. Like this sample sunflower painting? I just listed it as a fine art print in my etsy shop available in your choice of sizes. click HERE to discover how easy it is to own your own watercolor print.

dragonfly art by #schulmanArt for sale

Dragonflies symbolize spirituality. 

Starting life out as an ugly beetle, the dragonfly metamorphose into another creature so they may soar to heavens. If this project wins the popular vote I will be teaching you how to draw the delicate dragonfly wings and explore advance techniques to create the swirls and texture in your watercolor paintings. Are you also an art collector? Take a peek at all the dragonfly art and accessories I have in my etsy shop. 

The dragonfly pendants are very popular right now as gifts to give ( and keep!)

So the poll asks what you want to learn-- but I also want to know... what art do you like better and why?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Fostering Peacock Decor

peacock decor | peacock art | peacock paintingSo there is a really large peacock painting in my living room right now and I am trying not to get attached to it since this is just a foster painting. There are paintings I paint for myself that I never have any intention of selling... such as paintings of my children. On the other hand, there are paintings that I fully intent to set out into the world and this peacock painting is one of them.

60" is not 6 feet

This peacock started life out as a commission. I was commissioned to paint a 4x6 foot painting but silly me used a canvas 60" wide which is not 6 feet wide but only five feet wide. Oh, dear. By the way, a 4x6' commissioned peacock this size is normally $3000. (but you will be able to collect his one for more)

peacock decor | peacock art | peacock painting
Peacock Perfection, 48x60" Original Canvas Wall Art

And this painting is too small

The most stressful part of commissions is that five minutes between when your client first lays eyes on your painting baby and then breathes out their exclaim of delight. My client was delighted with this very, very large ( but not quite large enough) wall art.

The wrong baby

She loved it so much she rolled it up the painting baby in its swaddling cloth and took it home to her upper west side apartment in New York City. However, when she got the baby home she realized it wasn't hers. As much as she loved this new painting it was only five feet wide and not the six she had paid for.. I offered to refund her the difference or start over... and well... I started over.


peacock decor | peacock art | peacock paintingHappy Endings

This story has a happy ending. My client now has her proper six foot wide peacock painting that is not exactly the same as this no two paintings are the same... but she loves just as much. However, I now have a 4x5' painting that is up for adoption. I have the adoption papers drawn up and displayed in my etsy store


Seeking the perfect collector-- are you her?

The right collector for this painting will have a flair for modern color and want to brighten up their wall with a statement piece. Are you the new collector for this art? Since this peacock is no longer commissioned art, the investment is now only 1800....just about 40% less than the regular price, a huge art savings. There is only one and if you want to collect this one of a kind painting, click HERE.
Want to save on this art right now? let me email you the latest coupon

Frequently asked questions...

If you are wondering how long it took me to paint this marvelous fine feather friend, take a look at this six minute video. I cut out a few parts where my hair was just a horror show and then sped the video up about 100x the normal speed. Cat lovers will enjoy the cameo my cat makes in the window and if you watch carefully enough you will see the cat just outside my window as well.


Watch the video!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fall Color Trend Watch: Misted Yellow

yellow fashion trends | fall 2014 fashion trends | discover color trends on
One of my favorite aspects of fashion how color trends evolve. Now that fashion week has arrived in New York City, I am starting to fantasize about clothes. During fashion week, the designers present their collections a full six months in advance giving stores a chance to buy what they want. The fall clothes that were presented last spring showed a lot of yellow.

Not Canary Yellow

Now before you get scared off , this is not a Big Bird or tweety bird sort of yellow. This warm yellow is very soft as the name suggests... "misted yellow"

yellow fashion trends | fall 2014 fashion trends | discover color trends on

(enjoyed this blog post? why don't you pin it!)
Pictured above:

Givenchy Jersey pencil skirt with mosaic pixel print

H&M Sleeveless blouse and Cable-knit jumper

Maison Martin Margiela Leather Over-The-Knee Boots

Fendi Yellow leather '3Jours' engraved logo plate tote

Printed peacock silk scarf yellow scarf silk


How to wear yellow this season

For those who may be reluctant to wear too much yellow near your face, this yellow is very well suited for accessories as the color goes so well with all the colors in the autumn palette. Whether for a bag or a printed yellow scarf, a touch of yellow does go a long way. Yellow used in a print will be the very popular this fall.
printed yellow scarf trendy for fall 2014
Yellow Prints are hot this fall, 
this glamorous peacock scarf is 
a good investment that you can wear all year.


What the experts at Pantone had to say

Pantone is the leading predictor of trends (although a lecture I went to said this is not a "predictor" so much as a "reflection" of what they are already seeing in the marketplace.) From their website they say: Adding a ray of sunlight and warmth, optimistic Misted Yellow alludes to the promise of spring to come.

Yellow is a good investment 

Looking ahead to the spring 2015 color trend report (yes, the report is already out!) There is a yellow in that palette too which they renamed as "custard" but it is basically the same color as misted yellow. So any accessories or transitional pieces you buy now in yellow will also work in the spring.

other posts you might like

If you like color trends then check out Color of the Year
If you like to decorate with yellow in then check out ... Decorating with yellow and white in your living room
Click here for all the posts on color trends.
Like this blog? Did you know you can follow daily posts or a weekly summary by Email ?

A little yellow help from my friends... 

I invited my artsy craftsy friends to share their yellow creations here and you can too! Just add a link to your etsy listing or a blog post on yellow and don't forget to tweet and like on facebook when you are done!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Art Journal Ideas: Hobbies to Go

Although school has started I still go by the vernal equinox and won't say fall has started until September 22. So we still have a few more weeks in the summer list challenge. For this week the list idea is to make a "packing list"

So today I am going to share with you some art journaling I did while I was on vacation. Now, I am notorious for forgetting things on vacation and then having to run and out and buy the essential (or often non-essential but somehow at the time seems completely necessary like I can't live without it.. ) So for my "packing list" I made a list of things not to forget and many of these items I have forgotten to bring on various trips.

 Initial Layers

I started this spread before I left 
( you can see steps in Two for the Road
In my initial layers I used scrapbook papers, 
prints from my watercolors, patterned napkins 
and Tim Holtz tissue paper. Also, the night 
before I left I added bubble letters using 
my black signo pen quickly writing down 
my "essentials"




My List

If you look at my list, I do recognize that I could survive without any of these. In fact, besides the contacts and the makeup, pretty much everything on my list are my hobbies. You would think that I would remember my makeup but I remember one trip where I flew to relatives in Atlanta and had to buy a full face of cosmetics at Walmart since I had nothing.

Packing List:

Bathing Suits
Floats (surprising this is the first year my kids did not use these-- now that they are older they like to laze around the beach and read)
Weights (for working out...these did not get used.)
DVD's (I played one once... I call this "fantasy workout" it is when you pack all your workout clothes because you imagine yourself using the hotel gym but never do. When we go to Cape Cod I bring my DVD set and I was faithful when I was younger doing a tape each day... Now I just put on my sandals and walk around the block a few times.)
Journal (but of course)
Pens (don't assume I would remember the pen bag just because I brought my journal. This is the kind of thing I forget-- I will pack "half" of my hobby and then the whole project is useless.)
Knitting ( I thought I would knit, but I didn't. Part of the problem was I really didn't like the knitting project I started last year. Last night I went through my knitting books looking for a replacement pattern to use the same yarn for a different pattern.. although art journaling is a great hobby, I realized I missed the counting in knitting.)
Blow dryer (this never got used either!) 
Camera (a real one, not just the iphone)
Sunglasses (all my pairs of sunglasses I own I have purchased on vacation when I forgot to pack them)

Art Journal Supplies

For this art journal spread I used neon pens, pastel sharpie pens, signo black pen, signo white pen, washi tape and a white faber castel pen.

What about you, do you bring your hobbies when you go on vacation?


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Women Artist Spotlight: Roz Chast

Illustrator and Comic Roz Chast (in case you can't read the small font-- Pigeon Little says "The sky is falling, the sky is- Oh, look! Part of a bagel."

Today I start a new series on my blog called "women Artist spotlight." I was motivated to write about women artists after learning that the Daring Book for Girls did not include female artists in their section recommending artists to young women.  My first post was Ten Women Artists Every Young Girl Should know About and you can read that here. I was thinking about that post recently and recognize that dozens more talented artists could make the list.

Exhibition in at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich

This comic was not part of the exhibition, 
but hangs on my studio wall and can be 
purchased on Conde Nast website
Last weekend my husband offered to take me on a little day trip. For some reason, he considers a 30 minute car ride to Greenwich "close" whereas a 30 minute train ride to NYC is "far" but I knew that there was a little exhibition in Greenwich I wanted to see so I didn't argue. The Bruce Museum which is just off of exit 3 on I-95 is a small museum to start. If you are somewhere in the New York- CT region, this is a great museum to take kids to since the museum has a small but wonderful natural history exhibit and across the street there is a large playground with jungle gyms shaped like dinosaurs that overlooks the Long Island Sound.

Being, Nothingness and Much, Much More: Roz Chast, Beyond the New Yorker

This New Yorker cover and others 
can be seen on the artist's website
Roz Chast is best known as a cartoonist and illustrator for the New Yorker. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of design she has been a contributing regular cartoonist for the New Yorker since the late 1970's Her exhibit occupies a small square room but you will need time to read each cartoon. The children may not understand the sophistication behind the "obsessive compulsive Santa" who lies on his therapist couch and talks about rechecking his lists. Another favorite was the illustration of the fretting "Little Engine that Coulda Woulda Shoulda."


Hand carved stamps

Beyond the cartoons

The exhibition promises to go beyond the cartoons and mixed media artists will love her hand carved stamps. They display both the stamps and the art created by the stamps. In addition there is a display of her hand painted eggs and also a  tapestry she made of her father.  I loved seeing the other projects which made me feel that she is "just like us" working on her personal crafts as well as her "commercial art" and I wonder if she keeps an art journal.

Pansky style painted eggs.
The show in Greenwich runs through October 19, 2014


Where you can find her art

You will want to spend a lot of time in the gift shop ( I am a gift shop junkie)  reading the greeting cards or perhaps getting one of her books (as I did) For those not in the area you can find her art in the New Yorker or on Amazon. Here are some of my top picks. I love her neurotic humor with whimsically drawn characters.You can click on each book to collect it on Amazon.

At Home with Roz Chast: The New Yorker Video

There is a wonderful video on the museum website courtesy of The New Yorker. In it you get a glimpse of her studio, her characters and her neurotic parrot. ( why are our pets just like us? I have an anxious cat.)

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Do you like this artist? Tell me what you think!

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