Welcome Bienvenidos!


Beginners Colored Pencil Class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
March 6 5:30 - 7:30

Mixed Media Colored pencil class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
March 20 5:30 - 7:30

Beginners Watercolor Class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
March 27 5:30 - 7:30

Mixed Media Watercolor Class at Kirk Bear Canyon Library
April 3 5:30 - 7:30

* Individual and group tutoring is available too :) Contact me here or Facebook or my website SueBetanzos.com





Monday, October 21, 2013

Drawing Birds

Maybe I could use a helper? No, Risa would never tolerate anyone else being my " helper"! My old aussie girl wouldn't share with any bird.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fairies, Dragons, Unicorns and More

With fantasy art so popular nowadays, there is a VAST selection of books available on everything from Manga, to tons of How To's.
Though I have always loved, read and collected fantasy stories, I have only admired fantasy art from a distance until recently when I was introduced to a few How to series (out of dozens!). After a marathon meeting with local fantasy artist Jessica Feinberg I came away over saturated, a little overwhelmed, and very eager to try this genre of painting - fantasy artwork.

My personal favorite How To's are the Dreamscape series by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and the Fairy series by Linda Ravenscroft. Both are excellent water color tutorials - covering the basics of fantasy artwork drawing and the medium in simple, thorough lessons.

Both artists can be found on Amazon and often at your local library, which is where I started although I  already want my own copies! Both Amazon books also offer generous Look Inside features where you can preview before buying.
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law Dreamscape series

Coming from a mural painting and faux finishing background my brain was literally sparking with ideas for new paintings just when I was starting to feel a little burned out with current techniques and searching for something new.
I have already designed a new painting that is sort of fantasy, but still realistic. A riff on Stephanie Law's swirly style while I find my own.
Letting go the mental grip of reality to free style in fantasy takes some practice both in technical skills and thinking. This is where I will draw (literally) on all of the fantasy and paranormal literature I have loved and read most of my life.
Fairy tales, folklore, myth and legend are some of my favorite reading in all age groups with a sprinkling of excellent paranormal series like the Kat Richardson Greywalker series.

First, better get to work on current commissions since one of my deadlines is in five days, the others at the end of this month. Then at the end of the day I can play on my own personal project which will be my new experiments with fantasy artwork - Yay!
I will post my experiments and journey here.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seth's Blog: Can an audiobook change your life?




Seth's Blog: Can an audiobook change your life? YES. One of many reasons I am a devoted fan of audio books. Also recommended is Think and Grow Rich (Napolean Hill), 101 Free marketing tips, Duct Tape Marketing, Flight Plan and several others. They are great to keep you moving forward, whatever your goals may be. Zig Ziglar is also good. Of course, stories are nice too, but those are saved after the work day is done :)


Some narrators can sweep you away into the story and I much prefer the pictures, sounds, landscapes in my own mind to those supplied by Hollywood.
Nora Roberts is so prolific that I always find a story I enjoy full of intrigue, romance, paranormal (which I like), and rich characters. There are so many, but I recently finished listening to this one. All of the audio books I listen to have been found at my local library :)


Saturday, October 5, 2013

How to Reverse Glass Paint

Risa StarGazer - Reverse Glass Painting




Seven years ago, while instructing at a glass academy, I was introduced to glass painting and fell in love with the technique. The rich jewel enamel paints glowed under the clear glass, creating a magical effect I am still currently exploring as my style continues to evolve.

The history of glass painting goes back hundreds of years to China and India. In mid century America and europe, tiny portraits of dogs, people, landscapes were often reverse painted on glass or carved clear quartz (intaglio) and worn as brooches, depicting the culture, people and times of the country.

Today in 'modern times' I am often asked how I do the ancient fine art of reverse glass painting. People think it's hard - but not really :) Like everything else, it just takes practice.
Glass or clear plexiglass can be used. Acrylic paints or enamel paints are good for this.
Often seen as "Acrylic reverse painting" if the acrylics are used and often with plexiglass.
I love the look of glass, so prefer enamels. They tend to be more durable.

Here is a short "How To" for those curious about the reverse glass painting technique which I use for rich, jewel colored glass paintings. At first glance painting backwards seems daunting, but actually it's easier to get into the rhythm than expected.

Materials you will need:
One piece of glass or clear plexiglass
Peebo enamel paints or Folk Art enamel paints (Dick Blick, Michaels, Jo-Ann carry these)
Few small round brushes ranging small, medium, large.
One liner brush for details
One larger square (chisel) brush for painting larger areas.



Step One: Make your drawing of your subject, keeping the first few projects simple to build your skills and technique. Use white paper and remember that any writing needs to be mirror imaged. Easy to do by writing on tracing paper and flipping it over to a backwards view.
Keep in mind that the finished painting will be the Opposite of your drawing.






Step 1

Step2: Start by painting in all the small details that will be in front. Eyes, leaves, stars. 
Remember you are going Front to Back - details first. Tape your drawing to the back side of the glass with clear tape at the top so you can flip the drawing to check your painting progress.
Clean the painting surface well to remove all traces of oil, grease, dirt. Try not to touch the glass because the oil from fingers/skin will leave a residue the paints don't like to adhere to.



Step 2

Step 3:  Keep painting and flip over to check your progress or have a mirror  behind to see the painting from the right side. Sometimes I prop a mirror behind the easel to see the right side quickly.

Step 4: Now that the painting is almost done the sky background is added last.  This is where you triple check any changes that need to be made. Once the background is applied it is very difficult to change or correct - next to impossible in most cases.  Small Changes Before the background can be made by carefully scraping with razor blades. Some areas of broad color are very difficult to rematch and are best left alone. I use colored paper to help establish form, color, contrast and composition adjustments.
Step 4

Step 5: Apply the background, in this case night sky. Pay careful attention to the direction of the brush strokes. Every brush stroke is visible in glass painting. Flipping it upside down was helpful for this little painting. The paints are semi-transparent, so it takes 2 - 3 coats for Each Element (leaves, bird, grass etc.) Some may want to be left with one coat to layer colors or special effects.

Step 5




Finished! The sky is several coats of Ultramarine blue and Dioxide Purple. I call this folky little style my StarGazer style and enjoy playing with it for the glass paintings.  Now try out this unique painting style and enjoy! In another post I will share some of the exquisite historical reverse glass paintings as well as modern reverse painting.