My Abstract versus Realistic Watercolors Were equally Popular on the boardwalk!

Boat for Melisa, watercolor 11×14″
by Sally Meding

During my demo, I sold small 11×14″ matted watercolors on the boardwalk at Marina Bay, Quincy, MA, (just south of Boston).

Interestingly, abstract was just as popular as the realistic images!

These are some of the pieces that I photographed recently! Forgot to photo the latest ones! Oops!   Scroll to see the abstract photos below.

It was a glorious day, about 75F and lots of people were having lunch/dinner overlooking the yachts and power boats. I had dinner there watching the sun go down!

Irish  Lighthouse, watercolor, 11×14″
by Sally Meding
“Delicious” watercolor 11×14″
by Sally Meding
High Tide watercolor
11×14″ by Sally Meding

Watercolors of yacht and boat (semi-abstracted) for Marina Bay Arts Affair 2013

At the Docks 15×22″ watercolor
by Sally Meding
“Perfect day for Sailing” watercolor 15×22″ by Sally Meding

Click on images to view larger

Latest Boat/Yacht paintings for entering the “Arts Affair 2013” at Marina Bay Corporate Park, 500 Victory Road, Quincy, MA. August 3rd and 4th. 10-6pm. ( Everyone is welcome, if you are in the area! 
Both pieces will be for sale. I will be doing a demonstration, and will have other smaller works and original art-cards available. The start time of the demo has not been given to me yet.

Which one do you prefer?

Painting outside your normal style helps improve your art skills!

“Country Path” 4×6″ watercolor by Sally

Having fun painting many abstracts (or semi-abstracts) in intense hues! Makes using value more difficult but I enjoy the challenge! This was painted right from my head.
I was thinking of Italian countryside (Tuscan) with the lollipop Italian cypress evergreens.
It has been a while since I painted realism so I decided to practice……

see below!

4×6″ Pansies” watercolor “work in progress”

“Work in progress” of Pansies, blooming here in Massachusetts currently.
Checking that I can still see value (in real life) I have a “work in progress” of realism!…..These pansies were in the kitchen of my art group meeting! I painted from life (not a photograph) and picked the best 3 different pansies for my composition!

  • Not happy with bottom pansy….it was starting to fade, I should have picked a better one! 
  • Values in the green leaves still need work!
  • No shadows yet!
  • I still prefer painting semi-abstracts!

Creating a Series in Watercolor

“Perfect Day” watercolor collage 11×14″
“Exhilaration” watercolor with collage on
 embossed hand-made paper 11×14″

“Harbor Bay” watercolor with collage 11×14″

“Peaceful” watercolor with collage 11×14

 Creating a series is easy, there just has to be a common thread throughout the different art pieces. In this case, it was a “Sea theme, either sail boats or undersea view. All works are the same size, 11×14”, and matted with the same museum board-forming a shadow box kind of effect. I am currently investigating a frame that would work for all of them. My first choice would be natural maple, but cost may change my mind!
Some of my smaller pieces belong in pairs or triplets and I name them accordingly.

“The Journey” watercolor/mixed media 11×14

Accepted at Clever Hand Gallery in Wellesley, MA!

My 11×14″ watercolors (matted) and art-cards were accepted by the Clever Hand Gallery! They have 34 pieces and hopefully they will be popular. Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Graduation cards are available. Here is a sample of one of my small artworks. The Gallery is located at 52 Central Street, Wellesley, MA. It was founded in 1973 and is one of the oldest artisan cooperatives in New England. Everything that they sell is locally made.

My Artwork interpreted in Flowers by Joan Clipstone!

Another view of the “Morning Commute” by Sally meding
interpreted in flowers by Joan Clipstone.

15 selected art-works from Wellesley Society of Artists, Spring Exhibition at the Wellesley Community Center, Wellesley, MA were chosen by floral arrangers from Wellesley Garden Club for interpretation in flowers. This event on May 4th 2013 was called “Art in Bloom” and the arrangements were then auctioned.
  My art piece “Morning Commute” (on leftside in above picture) was chosen for interpretation by Joan Clipstone. Thank you, Joan, I love it!

“Morning Commute” by Sally Meding was interpreted in Flowers
by Joan Clipstone of Wellesley Garden Club.

Preparing for an Open Art Studio!

Flyer for Needham Open Studios.
My artwork was chosen for the advertising!

It is always a lot more preparation than I expect! Showing my watercolors to their best takes time, so I try not to leave everything to the last minute!
Here’s my bullet list:

  • Order new business cards if outdated (mine were) from, delivery in less than 7 days!
  • Update Artist’s Statement, or write one if you dont have one!
  • Update Bio and make copies for putting on the back of the artwork for sale. I include contact information and website.
  • if  your “Open Studios” have a website, send all photos and bio etc. in a timely manner.
  • Order acetate crystal clear bags for matted artwork from The unframed items are easy to store/transport and browse if protected.
  • Finish framing artwork and buy the cardboard corners to protect from scratches in storage or transportation.
  • Inventory all artwork for display and make sure everything has a price tag! Try to start this as early as possible!
  • Create a yard sign advertising the event 3-4 weeks ahead of time. Hand out brochures and flyers about the event.
  • Purchase fold-able tables for display and ease of transport.
  • Be sure you have enough display bins, racks, easels, business card holders and clean table cloths. If you have the room, set up a dummy table to plan your sales lay-out.
  • Design your own or purchase a hanging system for your booth/sales area. Hooks and fishing line work in a pinch, not a problem if indoors, but outside this maybe be too unstable in the wind. Keep it simple and lightweight! If you can, borrow a display system to see if you like the whole Open Studio scene before investing first!
  • Create little signs for beside your artwork showing medium, size and price.
  • Plan for a small area where you can demo what you do best! Obviously, all equipment needed for demo or a step-by-step example of how you do what you do! “Open studio” usually means the visitors want to know about the artist, they are not just buying from a store!
  • Small change/cash, calculator for sales tax, sales receipt book, cash box or cash belt with pouch. I find the pouch the easiest-as the cash box can “go walkies” if you get distracted. Push-pins, tape, hooks, price stickers, scissors, pens/pencils, wrapping material, gift bags and your name button!
  • Offer a door-prize, drawing or other small incentive, so email addresses can be collected!
  • If you offer classes, have a sign-up sheet ready to jot down their contact information.
  • Enlist a friend to help with set-up and take-down,  sales help for bathroom breaks and bringing you food/drink as needed!

How I created “Fragment of a Dream” Watercolor painting.

“Fragment of a Dream” by Sally Meding

My process is a layered approach based on the elements and principles of design.

I am driven by color and knew ahead of time that I wanted a focal area of hot bright color surrounded by neutralized cool color. (Complementary colors, reds and oranges against greyed blues, blue-greens and blue-violets)
  • I choose my value scheme.
  • Draw in the structure with pencil, (vertical strata with a low horizon) to which I overlay a smaller curvilinear “cloud-shaped” abstract layer.
  • Lay in juicy cooler colors (wet-in-wet) in patches avoiding the focal area and added salt, spatter and cling-film for texture. This is the spontaneous layer and I let the paint do its thing! I let it dry overnight.
  • Finally, I paint each shape with a graded wash while playing the “game of contrasts” (A phase coined by Jane E. Jones). That is light shape is placed next to a darker shape, or a brighter color against a duller or warm color against a cooler one while simultaneously thinking about my underlying structures.
  • I often emphasize certain areas with lift-outs, in this case, I wanted it to feel more dreamy so very small squares (mimicking stars) were lifted in the periphery that mirrored those in the focal area. (They are hard to see in this image).