As a self taught artist, I have been using instructional material to learn about art for as long as I can remember. From Bob Ross to Walter Foster, many professional artists have entered my home and life through this type of media. My shelves are chocked full of books, magazines, DVDs and VHS videos. In fact, I am always on the look out for new additions to my art reference library, as I believe these tools will always have a valuable place in my studio.
Recently, Cheap Joe’s introduced a new DVD to our large diverse collection of instructional material. “Painting in Living Color- Carolina Morning” by Susan Crouch. The moment I reviewed the DVD, I fell completely in love with Susan’s art. The first thing I noticed about her work were the bright and vivid colors that bring the painting to life. Fresh, clean watercolor pigments that stand out and grab your attention. Also, the subject matter she chooses is a celebration of life and beauty. She frequently paints the birds, animals and flowers from her own backyard. Susan is a resident of North Carolina and just happens to be our neighbor. She and her husband Clay live just down the mountain in Statesville. I recently had a chance to visit Susan at her home and studio.
The day I visited, she had opened her home studio up to the public for her annual Holiday Open House. Susan’s dining room was filled with beautifully framed full sized paintings as well as note cards and smaller framed version of her artwork. Her paintings are enjoyed and collected by admirers all around the U.S. She currently participates in Art Shows and Festivals throughout the Southeast. Susan also designs cards for Hallmark’s Dayspring division for the retail stationary market. Her paintings, along with her own line of greeting cards, are inspired by God’s Word and His glorious creation. When time allows, Susan offers workshops to the public to share her experience and talent with others. But, in the mean time, her new DVD will offer a unique look into Susan’s world and allow you to sample just one of her beautiful paintings.
I noticed, while looking around her very practical studio, that Susan, herself, had a wall sized book shelf filled to the gills. It seems we share the same love for books and DVDs. Susan explained that there are a lot of professional artists that have influenced her artwork through reading their books, watching DVDs and taking workshops throughout the years, especially, Edgar Whitney, Tony Couch, Jane Hofstetter, Wes Waugh, and Anne Abgott, just to name a few. And she still uses the material frequently for all of her paintings.
Susan uses a variety of materials for her unique process, including Cheap Joe’s American Journey Interlocked Synthetic Brushes. In the DVD segment above, Susan gives you a great tip on how to distinguish older worn brushes from new ones with sharp tips! This and other great information is available on Susan’s DVD.
Susan’s style is so refreshing, and if you are like me, you will immediately want to ask her, “How do you do that?” Well, in the DVD you will see just how she creates the painting from start to finish. The design is comprised of layers and layers of transparent watercolor washes giving depth and dimension to the watercolor paper surface. She uses a wet into wet technique and also negative painting to create a great deal of the background and then adds just the right amount of detail to the main subject. This 100 minute full length demonstration will take you through the complete process of painting two beautiful Carolina wrens sitting on a luscious branch of Fall leaves. Susan will let you in on how she begins the painting by collecting her photographs, what materials she uses, design tips on how to create a pleasing composition and much, much more. All in addition to her three part step by step demo. Susan’s full sized wren pattern also comes with the DVD so you can follow along with her to reproduce the sample painting yourself. Susan hopes you will use the information as a “springboard” to help you to develop your own individual style and techniques.
The following list provides the Chapters included on the DVD.
1. Supplies and Materials
2. Favorite Tips
3. Photographing Birds
4. Choosing Colors
5. Mixing Greens
6. How to Make a Color Journal
7. Carolina Morning- Part 1
8. Carolina Morning- Part 2
9. Carolina Morning- Part 3/ Layer 1
10. Carolina Morning- Part 3/Layer 2
11. Carolina Morning- Part 3/Layer 3
12. Carolina Morning Review
13. About Susan
So you see there is an enormous amount of information all wrapped up in this 100 minute DVD. Susan also has several You Tube videos available on the Cheap Joe’s You Tube Channel for free viewing 24 hours a day. You can also see more of her artwork at her website www.susancrouch.com. Sign up for her monthly newsletter to keep up with new paintings and where she will be showing her work. Susan also has her own Facebook page, where she posts frequently regarding inspirations for paintings and interesting art news.
In my opinion, a person never truly stops learning and thank goodness for that! I want to learn something new everyday, no matter what it is. Knowledge is something that cannot be taken away from you. Once you have absorbed it and put it to practice, it is yours, forever. So I say, take every opportunity to learn something new every day. From books and magazines, DVDs and videos, classes and workshops, don’t ever stop learning. Then, when you are comfortable with what you have learned, spread your passion like Susan and teach someone else!
Have a Happy “Learn Something New” Day!