Issue: 9
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Soft Edges with Watercolor by Bill Hudson

In many of my maritime paintings, I like to paint the background in light values with soft edges. This, of course, adds perspective and gives the viewer a feeling for the atmosphere. As a watercolor artist, one of my most frustrating challenges has been painting a soft edge, with control and confidence, in one swipe of the brush. Many times I've had to work on a dried edge by scrubbing and lifting to produce the desired effect. But nothing is as clean and artful as getting it right on a single pass of the brush.
Here is a technique that works and takes little practice.
(1)   Saturate the paper in the area to be painted. Continue that saturation about � inch beyond the edge boundary.
(2)   While the paper is still "shiny" wet, blot the water up to the boundary of the desired edge.
(3)   Then paint the shape. However, only apply the paint up to 1/8" from the blotted edge. The paint will wick into the remaining 1/8th inch. However, it gently stops at the blotted edge.
(4)   This makes the edge soft, controllable, and predictable.

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A Word from an Artist...

The Mahl Bridge: A Review By B. Eric Rhoads
"Like a golfer I'm a gadget nut. When I used to golf I thought the latest greatest clubs would make me a better golfer yet this was rarely the case. So when I saw the Mahl Bridge I immediately ordered one for my summer studio and one for my winter studio. I anticipated that this was a tool I'd like and need from watching the videos online.

The package arrived via Fedex Ground in a long narrow box. It was very manageable. I immediately opened the package and tried to figure it out on my own, but found the directions to be helpful when I hit a couple of snags.

It just so happened that I was working on a piece with the need for a perfect horizon line. I always get them a little crooked so once I figured out my placement, lined up the device, put some paint on my brush I was able to do a perfect straight line at the horizon all the way across a long canvas non stop. I made a perfect line first time.

The device I bought is pretty long and it hangs off the easel and tends to get in the way when its not being used. I bought the larger size because of the largest canvas I do. If I had to do it over I'd buy two sizes so I did not have the long sides jetting out on my smaller paintings. But it's really not a problem I just take it off when I'm not using it, which I would probably do anyway.

Though I thought this device would be handy for making perfect lines like sail boat rigging or the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge the surprise to me was how wonderful it is to have a place to rest my hand while painting. I'm used to using a mahl stick to steady my hand but the stick isn't nearly as steady as the Mahl Bridge.

Now that I've had mine for about three weeks I'm still happy I own it. I don't use it all the time but when I need a steady hand for an intense area of detail or something more exact this device is a blessing. It's well worth the price, which is very reasonable. Unless you're working on a flat table be sure and get the optional clamps, which allow you to hook directly to your easel or your canvas.
This is one of the better painting gadgets I've used. Its well constructed, has great instructions and even includes a DVD. I give it FIVE stars."
                                                              Eric Rhoads
What's Happening...
For FREE MARKETING, email us and we'll do our best to get your event in next month. For more information on the following events, click on the links:
Southern Watercolor Society.  March 26-April 30, 2010
 at Anne P. Baker Gallery/Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, Madisonville Community College, KY. Open to all water media artists from Southern Watercolor member states + D.C. Cheng Khee Chee AWS, DF, NWS, TWSA juror and workshop instructor. Deadline December 1. Digital CD entry only. Fee $25/2 entries. Cash awards. Workshop dates: March 22-26, 2010. Prospectus and workshop information available after September 15. Send #10 SASE to: Southern Watercolor Society, Attn: Elise M. Beattie, SW Vice Pres., PO Box 7829 Paducah KY 42002. Or download:

Watercolor West  -  Demonstration Series, 2009
Watercolor West, in cooperation with the Riverside Art Museum, is presenting five nationally known watercolor masters on the following dates:
Saturday, October 17th         Joanna Mersereau   10 AM  to  3 PM
Saturday, October 24th         Bill Hudson         10 AM  to  3 PM                                             (Please Join Me)
The Riverside Art Museum is located at: 3425 Mission Inn Avenue
                                                           Riverside, CA 92501
                                                        Call 951-684-7111 for more info
The National Watercolor Society   -  Demonstration Series, 2009
The National Watercolor Society and the City of Brea Art Gallery are presenting the following five watercolor masters to demonstrate their painting techniques
         Saturday, Oct 17: Gerald Brommer
         Saturday, Oct 24: Yachiyo Beck
         Saturday, Nov 7: Chris Van Winkle
         Saturday, Nov 14: Brenda Swenson
Demonstrations are 10am to 3pm at the City of Brea Art Gallery in Brea, California
Fall Affaire in the Gardens Art Show
Oct 17th and 18th
Beverly Hills, CA
Carmel Film and Art Festival 2009
Oct 10th and 11th for the Art Show
Carmel, CA

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(offer ends Nov.  30) 

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