Posts Tagged ‘watercolors’

2017 Note Cards

Posted on: July 17th, 2017 by jmbroekman No Comments

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Time to make the donuts – oh wait, I mean the 2017 note cards

Fear has propelled a flurry of drawing activity in my studio in recent months. It often happens that some germ of a thought lodges itself inside my head; I find myself utterly convinced that I’ve made my last decent drawing/painting, whatever. This year I wondered if maybe I was done with the flower drawings. Evidently not, and I’m ready to produce the 2017 note cards.

The beauty of this propensity – allowing fear to fuel a bunch of work, is that I’m going to be able to print the new note cards earlier than usual this year. Here’s where I need your help. I’ve created a page of 24 drawings (which you can access by clicking on those underlined words, or over in the sidebar anytime – 2017 Note Cards). I’d love to have your input on which are your favorite six. I will tally all the votes, and then decide which ones will get reproduced as blank note cards.

I hope you are finding many ways to enjoy summer. Eat lots of strawberries, dip your feet in cool water, and enjoy this beautiful planet and all it’s gifts.

Springtime in Venice

Posted on: March 5th, 2017 by jmbroekman 2 Comments
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The magical city of Venice

In two weeks I will be embarking on a brief getaway to Venice with an old camp friend. Italy has always provided me a boatload of inspiration; and Venice, one of the more sinister and magical cities on my list, is no exception. Two new sketch books are already bound and ready to go. I have no idea how realistic this plan is, but, I have visions of filling one just with bridges, and the other while I drink coffee in a different campo each morning. Spring may arrive on the calendar while I am there, but I suspect the weather will be more cold, wet and raw, than warm and conducive to spending hours at a time sitting outside sketching! So we’ll see how many pages I fill.

Preparation and Perfection

I’ve been distracting myself by trying to pick the perfect palette of colors to fill up my travel box – even if the “perfect palette” (other than my favorite travel tool: pocket-palette) is a pretty ludicrous idea. It’s been a fun exercise – making little swatches of color, putting them next to and mixing them with each other. It serves to remind me what brought me down this path in the first place: color. I can still picture myself as an elementary school child, happily spending countless hours rearranging magic markers in their box – preferably a great big set of them. Painting little swatches and moving them around on my table – or better still, moving the tubes of paint around – this week, transported me right back to those childhood days.

These will be new materials for me in Italy. It’s only in the last five years (the same amount of time in which I have not been back to Italy) that I have had the courage to work with ink and watercolors. I’m looking forward to seeing how I respond to that combination: Italy + Ink.

And perhaps most importantly, dreaming of how I will spend my 10 days is also doing wonders for moving me back towards some level of sanity – at least temporarily. Donna Leon’s books, which take place in Venice, are providing the backdrop for these dreams. I highly recommend them for well-written escapist mystery literature – even if you don’t have plans to visit.

Great Cranberry Island Drawings

Posted on: October 12th, 2016 by jmbroekman 1 Comment
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Great Cranberry Island drawings from my sketchbooks

I am home again, trying to get organized and settled. My studio is in need of a major clean-up, which is often the case after I’ve been away from it for a period of time. In the meantime, though, I’ve posted pictures of several pages of Great Cranberry Island drawings from sketchbooks I completed last month. You can see them here, or by clicking the link in the sidebar to the right under pages, titled “Great Cranberry Island”.

The drawings and sketchbooks are just part of what I did on that little rock off the coast of Maine. I spent most mornings out and about on the rocks, drawing from the magnificent landscape. In the afternoon I was in my studio working on several mixed media abstract paintings on paper. The paintings reflect everything I was inhaling on this spit of land surrounded by water: the light, the natural beauty, the sounds of the tides coming and going; and perhaps most importantly, the paintings are a reflection of the sense of freedom and joy that I felt there. Thank you Heliker-Lahotan Foundation!

Notecards from a Maine Garden

Posted on: December 7th, 2015 by jmbroekman No Comments
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Hot off the press … new notecards

Just in case you managed to miss the various social media modes of communication, here’s a friendly reminder that I’ve got notecards for sale. And if you have caught me somewhere else, please forgive the redundancy. I’m told this is how it’s done in the 21st century.

Individual cards, which measure 4½” x 6¼” are printed in Maine on soft white matte card stock, and come with standard A6 envelopes. The Vase Series, Primrose & Peonies, and Early Summer series are available in packs of 8 for $20 (4 designs, 2 cards each), packaged in clear acid-free sleeves. The Complete Set comes as a pack of 12, with one card of each design for $27. They are packaged in 2 clear sleeves tied together with raffia.

This year I also have a couple of reproductions available. To see everything – cards and prints – just head next door to the cards page on my website where you can order via paypal. Or if you don’t need them shipped, send me an e-mail and let me know what you’d like, and we can arrange a time for them to be picked up.

If you do need your package shipped in time for Christmas, please make sure and place your order no later than Tuesday, December 15th.

Here’s to a season filled with light, warmth and color!

Beginner’s Mind

Posted on: September 3rd, 2015 by jmbroekman 6 Comments

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Mill Pond Park, Swan’s Island, Maine

The judge and jury in my mind have been working overtime this summer. So, I was somewhat reluctant when my friend Shirley suggested we go to a watercolor class while we were on Swan’s Island last week. Resistance is often an indicator that I’m up against something I can’t see. And yet, generally speaking, my stubborn persistent nature, won’t let resistance get the upper hand. Good thing too.

We spent two hours sitting at a picnic table, looking out on a beautiful outgoing tide harbor view, drawing while Iver Lofving gave clear step by step instructions, and entertaining commentary. It turned out to be the best thing I could’ve asked for.

I approached the whole enterprise with a beginner’s mind; putting aside these past few years of doing almost daily watercolor and pen drawings; ignoring the voices that told me I should already know what I’m doing. And went with an open mind, hoping to learn new tricks. What I really learned was that the clamor of judging voices in my head doesn’t know nearly as much as I give them credit for. That if I let go of any preconceived ideas of what the painting should look like, or what I should already know how to do, or the presumption that I know anything at all, I might actually be able to get lost in looking at what’s in front of me, and let my hands do the rest.

The truth is, all my years of looking and mark making, all of the experiences I have both in and out of the studio, have already left their imprints, and are already at my disposal for making decisions and new marks. It’s all already in my DNA. I just have to learn how to trust that, and allow for so-called wrong moves (which in my recent work seem to have outnumbered the “right” ones). It all leads me further along on the path I happen to be traveling on.

So, my two hours in class with the beginner’s mind approach proved to be an indispensable awareness reset. Which of course, is kind of like what spending a week on Swan’s Island can do for the soul as well. Ahhhh, what a relief.

Thus, having hit the reset button, I am empowered and psyched to tunnel back into studio work with eyes wide open. Armed with renewed energy, and the turning of a calendar page, I am embarking on another daily drawing adventure to get me through the end of the year: 120 days/120 drawings. Ready set GO!