Saturday, June 18, 2016

Painting the Irish Countryside

Three Harbor Views, Kinvara 6"x6" watercolors, Linda Knoll
I've just returned from a trip to the Southwest part of Ireland. Our group stayed in a little town called Lisdoonvarna, a small town know for it sulphur water and Matchmaking Festival. Our hostess at the Burren Painting Center arranged daily trips to points of interest and gave us lots of time to sketch and paint.

We ventured to several coastal towns, castles, and natural wonders in the part of Ireland called the Burren, a plateau of limestone rock jutting out of the ocean. The history, natural and cultural, was fascinating. There were rock walls everywhere, filled with fossils and flowers!

Rock walls cover Innisheer island.

Four days of the trip were occupied with a plein air watercolor workshop presented by Grahame Booth, a wonderful watercolor painter from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Below are a few of my favorite photos, and paintings I did while I was there. More paintings to come now that I'm back in the studio!

Cliffs of Mohr, on sample paper 5x7" watercolor

Cattle Crossing, 5x7" watercolor pencil

Irish Clouds, 6x8" watercolor

Lilac, 5x7" watercolor

Our tutor, Grahame Booth

After the holiday weekend at Kinvara

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Resolved to Create a Happy 2016!

2015 was a weird year. I felt unfocused about my art, and distracted by too many other things to really concentrate on anything specific.  I tried out a few new techniques: collage and watercolor combo, mono printing with a Gelli Plate; both fun and interesting. I did several collages with gelli printed textures and will be doing more this year.

Elizabeth in Purple, watercolor plus painted paper collage, 8x10"
Flamingoes in Flight, collage with acrylic printed papers, 8x10" 
I spent much of the summer just doodling in my journal, and finally decided to make a coloring book of nature themed doodles. Many of these were produced while caring for my mom, who passed away in September. She was a "birder" and I've been a little obsessed with "tree of life" images, so this page is dedicated to her.

Tree of Life, for my mom, ink 9x12"

Speaking of the tree of life, I also produced a group of wire tree sculptures based on that idea. The spiral ends are reminiscent of Gustav Klimt's tree of life painting. 

Copper Rainbow Tree of Life
My students inspired some other diversions, such as these ink blot trees.

But, I think I should probably get back to some watercoloring! I'm excited that my daughter and I are planning an art trip to Ireland in June, and there are endless inspirations from gardens to national parks to our own neighborhood. And I still have several picture book ideas floating around. Lots to do in 2016... wish me luck. Also, visit my Etsy store to order coloring books, custom wire trees, paintings and more to come.

Happy New Year to you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Holiday Shopping in Modesto

Shop local markets this year and support local artisans and businesses.

My new coloring book, Nature Beauty, will be available beginning Nov. 28. I've worked hard to get this done for the holiday season. It has a dozen hand drawn illustrations, and is complemented by a few poems and some opportunities for you to add your personal touch.

I also have lots of original art, prints and cards as well as my two picture books, that I'll be taking out to the following events. I hope you can catch me there, but feel free to contact me if you'd like peruse anything at my studio. Email or look me up on Facebook.

Mod Shop Indie Crafters Market

Saturday, Nov. 28, 5 - 9 p.m. on J Street in downtown Modesto. I'll be set up at Mistlin Gallery at 1015 J Street. There will be music, poetry, refreshments and of course, art galore.

Dickens Faire and Farmers Market

Saturday, Dec. 5, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. in front of the McHenry Mansion at 15th and I Streets. My booth will be located right in front of the Mansion!

Modesto Spirit of Giving 5K Run (and vendor market)

Saturday, Dec. 12, 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. at 10th Street Plaza, downtown Modesto.

Artsy Folks Holiday Boutique (put on by Interfaith Ministries)

Saturday, Dec. 19, noon - 6:00 p.m. at Bethel Church, 2361 Scenic Dr., Modesto

If you can't make it out for any of these events, I have also re-opened my Etsy shop! You can purchase the coloring book there, and I'll be posting many more items in the next few weeks.

Happy Holidays!

Seafoam with Kelp, watercolor, 2015

Meadow Storm, collage, 2014

Winter Apple Tree, watercolor, 2014

Dancing Maidens, watercolor, 2014

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Jumping on the Coloring Book Bandwagon

"Drought Resistant" doodle with succulents. 18"x24" watercolor with ink. 2015
A few years back, I started making some "doodles". Truthfully, I've doodled all my life during meetings, classes and in waiting rooms. So, when I recently read (and heard from friends) that coloring books for grownups are a hot topic, I decided these doodles could fill the void.

My most recent doodles involved a little more planning, detail, and have become finished pieces with watercolor.  The problem? I neglected to scan most of my early doodles prior to putting the color in. Dummy!

So now, I'm in the process of making a collection of new doodles which will be collected in a book. Most of them will be plants, animals, insects, flowers and the like. I plan to have it ready for the holidays. Below are a few samples.

The original doodles can be seen in this post: or

Please let me know if you'd like to reserve a copy. Email for information.

Closeup of mushroom doodle.

Section of "Drought Resistant" succulent doodle.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mono printing with Gelli Plate

Experiment number one...

Leaves printed in 3 passes with primary colors.
A little process video....
(sorry the sound is not too good)


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Process: Seafoam with Kelp

My latest tide pool and rock inspired paintings have been really fun. This latest, "Seafoam with Kelp" is a little larger than the previous series at 16" x 16" finished size. It started out 16" x 20", but in the end, I decided to stick with the square format of the previous small works.
Seafoam with Kelp, 16"x16" watercolor and ink, 2015

Here is the process I went through.

First, I had this reference photo, and gridded it out for the rough sketch.
Reference photo from Point Lobos State Beach
Pencil sketch on watercolor paper, plus whites saved with masking fluid.
I like to use a masking fluid with a pen tip to do small details, like the bubbles in the seafoam. For larger areas, I brush on masking fluid. The trick to not ruining brushes with masking fluid, is to dip them in dish soap first, and repeat often.
First paint layer plus salt.
The first couple of paint layers are wet on wet. Plus I like to add salt for texture. The salt absorbs the paint and leaves white starry spots. Because the kelp has a hard edge, I painted that shape after the background was dry. My watercolor palette for all these paintings has basically consisted of quinacridone gold, payne's gray, quinacridone burnt orange, Thalo blue and organic vermillion.

Adding blues and reds after the yellow layer is dry.
Adding more layers of color, alternating with layers of masking fluid.
After the initial colors are laid out, I start adding detail, layering on washes of color wet on dry. To build up depth, many layers must be added. Below, the pebbles are formed by adding a layer of masking fluid, then a layer of paint, and repeating 3 or 4 times until I achieve the desired darkness.

Pebbles in a crevice forming with layers of masking fluid.
More layers.
I started adding the contrasting black line patterns of the rocks with acrylic ink. I mixed black with some gold and red which looks pretty nice in a good light.

Its getting there.
At some point, its hard to resist peeling a little masking fluid off to see what you've got. When I peeled the first bit of foam, I was fairly pleased. But I added some more detail with a light paint for more bubbles, and some white ink for highlights.

Detail of foam and rocks after removing masking fluid. 
Some of the final details included spattering the rocks with a little black ink using a toothbrush. The kelp piece was darkened after adding the line pattern with masking fluid. A little blue added to the bottom half to balance the color.

Final 16 x 20" painting.
I decided that the knee-shaped rock in the lower right was really distracting, so I decided I would crop it out and make a square format painting (top image). 

So that's it in a nutshell. I'm happy to answer questions here, or by email at

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Project for the Holidays

I've always loved rocks. I have a small collection dating back to college when I took a few geology classes that included field trips. So, when I went to Point Lobos last summer, I naturally took tons of photos of all the fascinating rock formations. And from that inspiration, I've been working on a series of 30 small mixed media paintings that will be in a show during December. Some of them will include bits of beach stuff like shells and rocks. Contact me for information at

The first 16, all 6"x6" watercolor & ink by Linda Knoll

Beach stuff to be added to paintings

No. 3, watercolor & ink, Linda Knoll

No. 4, watercolor & ink, Linda Knoll