Friday, July 18, 2014

Helpful Hint

Watercolor Palette
Does the paint on your palette has a tendency to bead up? This can be frustrating if your trying to get colors to mix. This tip may be just for you! With a soft cloth gently clean the mixing area of your palette with a mild abrasive liquid cleanser (Soft Scrub, Liquid Scrub) or Baking Soda mixed with a little water to make a paste. Be careful not to leave any residue of the cleanser behind. 

This works on new or old palettes, plastic or metal. 

Happy Painting!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Watercolor Tip - Spray Bottles

Here's a short video on how I use a spray bottle to move paint on my paper and keep my paints moist in my palette.

Happy Painting!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Sketchbook Skool

Hi Everyone!
Summer is almost here and I've been busy getting ready for Summer Skool. It started with an invite from Danny Gregory, creating a lesson for my class, working out filming for my home, film editing, Skype chat..and now all I have to do is wait for the classroom doors to open. How exciting! 
What I really love is you get to see the entire process. No cut aways, No fixing things in the editing. Just an honest demonstration with solid information you can actually use. And no make up artists either (yikes). You can see the wrinkles in my face and my sun aged hands (ugh). Yup, the real deal!

To see a short film on the instructor line up check out this great film.

Danny and I have a short Skype chat. Not the best quality...but not intended to be either. We talk about filming day, my lesson, the line up of instructors and more.

No matter what you do this summer get out, sketch, be with like minded people and have a wonderful, creative, fun filled safe adventure. 

If you want to know more or sign up for the #2 Kourse, titled "Seeing" follow this link,

Happy Sketching!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sketching with Water Based Inks

Today I want to share a different way of  sketching. If you've gotten into a creative rut it might be a good time to shake up your approach. If you always use the same pen simply trying something different can be all it takes. If you always use waterproof ink try water based. I like to experiment with pens (markers, fountain pens, roller ball, gel pens...). I encourage you to experiment, to0.  And of course share your finding with us! 

Today I am showing how Tombow Dual Brush Pens work with watercolor. The pen has two tips. One side has a brush tip and the other is a stiff nib. The color I am using is #947 Burnt Sienna. I like how the warm tone of the ink dissolves into the watercolor. One of the reasons I like using water soluble pens/ink  is because the drawing becomes less prominent and in some areas completely dissolves.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Happy Sketching!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Negative Painting with Watercolor

Creating a DVD can feel a little like giving birth. First it starts with a seed, ideas begin to form, months of planning, anticipation, waiting and nine months later when you begin to think it will never arrives! 
I am proud to announce,
Negative Painting with Watercolor.

Brenda Swenson takes the viewer through the step-by-step process. She thoroughly explains tools and materials, how to recognize negative shapes, build glazes, and paint characteristics. Also included is an in-depth demo that gradually lead you to an accomplished painting, Brenda gives you everything you need, instilling confidence during this unique process.The 148 minute DVD also has an interview and tour through Swenson's paintings. This DVD is highly recommended for painters looking for a kick-start the creative process.

The first shipment sold out immediately... but don't worry a new supply is due at the warehouse any day. If you'd like to have a copy get your request in right away so you'll be first to get your DVD

~~~~Negative Painting Workshops this Summer~~~~

Dillman's Creative Arts, Lac du Flambeau, WI
Contact:   Phone: (715) 588-3143

August 15, 16 &17, 2014, Negative Painting with Watercolor
Community Room, Montrose, CA
Workshop Information email Brenda

August 23 & 24, 2014, Negative Painting with Watercolor
Mountain Arts Network, Lake Arrowhead, CA
Phone: (909) 337-7810

Friday, May 2, 2014

Summer Skool

The last two weeks have been BUSY! It started with a painting demonstration for 75+ people, Easter with the family at my home, filming for Sketchbook Skool, meeting with fellow painters who are joining me in Tuscany this October, and redesigning the cover for my new DVD, Negative Painting with Watercolor. I'll have ordering information soon.

I don't know about you...but I have a way of overextending  myself. Things always look easier on paper.  By the end of two weeks I was in need of a little down time. The best thing to recharge my battery is (what else?) sketching. After a few play days with my sketchbook I am recharged. Okay...I did sneak in a little extra sleep and coffee. Any how... I am back on my feet again.
My view while filming.

The day we filmed Sketchbook Skool was fun. Danny Gregory arrived at 7:30am bright eyed and ready to roll. The film team arrived shortly after. We had a full schedule with lots to be accomplished. They went about their work of setting up shoots, lighting, sequences, camera angle, sound... and I kept focused on my job...sketching and teaching. Thankfully Mike took the day off work. Nothing like having my "Sweetie" near by. He knows me well and watches for signs when I get tired. He kept snacks nearby, made a lunch run and to everyone's delight frozen yogurt (sprinkles and all) in the late afternoon. A real lifesaver! With his help we we're able to keep going until 7:00pm. By the end of the day we were tuckered out...but overjoyed with what we accomplished. Danny and the film team at Cinepop Media are amazing! I feel extremely privileged to work with such talented people. 

Danny checking out my 1952 truck
Semester #2 theme is "Seeing". One of my favorite topics! You'll see professional quality videos shot in amazing places from Amsterdam, the UK, Sydney and across the USA. Demonstrations, stories, wisdom, tips, and sketchbook tours! Next term I'll be teaching with: Andrea Joseph, Cathy Johnson, Liz Steel, and, of course, Danny and Koosje too. 

Sketchbook Skool 2nd Semester begins July 4th. To learn more please visit the website. Sketchbook Skool If you have any problem with registration you can contact Sketchbook Skool at:

See you in Klass, July 4th!


Still smiling at the end of the day!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wish I Had Your Talent

Filled sketchbooks on top shelves
In the last 22 years I have filled dozens upon dozens of sketchbooks. At last count I've filled 60 plus books. I've worked hard at perfecting my craft. My sketchbooks mean more to me than any painting I’ve ever done. I am not afraid to try new mediums, techniques, subjects and I can see tangible growth in my work. Within the covers of these books I can see my life. Here is where I am free to express myself with words and images. The pages contain the ups and downs of my life. I treasure these books.

Lighthouse Sketch 1992
Next week Danny Gregory and a film crew will be at my house to film my klass for Sketchbook Skool (the spelling isn't a typo). Danny thought it would be helpful to have students see some of my earliest sketchbooks. I had to go deep into the closet to pull out one of my first watercolor sketchbooks but I found one from 22 years ago. YIKES...this is a humbling experience! What a powerful reminder of how far I've come. I can honestly say to anyone who says "wish I had you talent or gift" ... I wasn't very talented or gifted 22 years ago.  It is also very clear how much I improved when I found a teacher who nurtured and encouraged me. Their teaching influence is very notable. I didn't make this journey alone...I was guided and nurtured along the way by teachers I admired and trusted. During their years of instruction I can see my greatest growth. I owe them a debt of gratitude! 
Lighthouse Sketch 2013

The first page of a new sketchbook feels a little unnerving and the last page feels a little the end of a friendship. With each new sketchbook I wonder where it will lead me, and what lessons I will learn along the way. 

I can hardly wait to share my sketchbooks, experience and knowledge. I'll be teaching in the 2nd Semester of Sketchbook Skool beginning July 4th this summer!

Happy Sketching!