Summer Studio Update

What’s happening here at Green Cottage Studios this summer? Great question, I would love to tell you. (HT to Elyse Meyers , who makes funny videos)

I am experimenting! Trying different mediums, substrates and going where the creative flow takes me.

Finding inspo from Dar James’ Creative Summer Camp (HT to artist Dar James), I have tried to push further into new areas.

One area of experimentation is watercolor. Watercolor paints, either in a tube or little cakes in a pan, are mixed with water and the resulting painting on paper is translucent and “watery.”

It’s a medium which I had not really used since long ago in art classes. I recall that I always found it difficult to work with and a bit fussy. As a lover of layered colors — one over the other, sometimes transparent or sometimes opaque — acrylics have been my mainstay.

However, I got out some old watercolors, bought some new ones (two types) and dove in. Experimented!! The issue that watercolors remain “reactive” meaning that once dry, if one adds more paint or water, the paint is activated again, resulting in bleeding and mixing. This can be good if you intend that and can control your result, it can be bad if you end up with a hot mess.

One cool thing that I tried just this summer is seal the first layer of watercolor, either with spray sealer or with some gloss medium (clear sealer that is spread on) and let it dry, one can paint with watercolor again. Watercolor on its own has a matte finish, once sealed you can create any finish you like. In the gallery below, the squares of watercolor paper with the botantical images, are ones that were sealed. I also started layering with acrylic paints, metallic paints, Posca pens and small amounts of collage. These started to be really fun. I may find a way to frame them up.

Papers – There are a variety of watercolor papers, different weights and different finishes made by multiple companies. Here’s a blog post if you want to dive into the differences. I did several experiments and I believe I like the smooth finish of the hot pressed type.

Another experiment of the summer is gouache! Gouache a method of painting using opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance. It produces a matte finish. I had a set of acryl gouache and a different set in the pans. I have started working with those and really like the intensity of the colors and the matte finish. Again, it is water soluble after it dries, so I will have to work with that.

Another experiment of the summer is my Ecommerce shop. I created through Square.

So you can shop my Instagram feed. Look for images with the little shopping bag icon! More to come on this, as I said experimenting!

Stay tuned and I will share how these experiments proceed !

100 Days! What I Learned

As the 100 Day project comes to a close, I wanted to reflect upon what I learned from the process.

Keep it Doable – Everyone’s interest, energy and time varies, so it helps to keep your project aligned with where you are. I kept my works small – 4 in. by 4 in. – and it didn’t seem like an onerous task to make one each day. Your project has to be something you enjoy doing, otherwise it will languish, for sure.

Discipline – A daily art practice takes dedication and discipline. But it really is not like hurdling a huge boulder, more like lifting a small rock each day. Mindfulness was helpful – I had to order substrates ahead of time so I would have enough. Planning – Sometimes to have a daily artwork for a day I was busy or had a family commitment,  I had to work ahead. Sometimes I’d do two or three panels ahead. Or other times, it was good to spend time thinking of what to do next in your series.

Random Words – My plan for this year was to randomly select a word or phrase each day and use that word as the theme for the daily artwork. This worked out mostly, but sometimes I wanted to create without the theme in my head, or I just couldn’t come up with something for a particular word…. So I did add a few words to my list. And sometimes I created a work first and found words that matched it later. No worries because I made up the rules! I guess what I learned was the restrictions of rules can sometimes be helpful, sometimes not. But it’s fun to break rules!

Creativity – Like a muscle, creativity gets better when it’s worked. I found some days when the small works were a wonderful starting point for other projects. Some days I created a larger work from the smaller one, other days I felt “warmed up” by the process of creating the small work and ready to work on something completely different.

Stuck – To get over a stuck feeling, I’d just start somewhere. Somewhere small. Maybe apply gesso to raw wood panels, paint the side of panels (mostly black), or just do something that gets the paint out, a brush in my hands. Once the small steps were begun, I could take bigger ones. (And sometimes I’d go for coffee or tea, or take a walk!)

Small & Big – There is value in small. Accomplishing a small piece felt good! And I can use a small format to create whole little worlds or just emphasize one hue. And the small images or techniques sometimes found their way into my larger works.

Lots to ponder and think about this project. Thanks to all who followed and liked or commented along the way!

Check out all the works and the accompanying text on my IG profile – cmillerartist

How do you do something for 100 Days? One Day at a Time!!!

Spring Art Tour in Hunterdon

The Hunterdon Art Tour is set for April 30/May 1!

Great news! The last weekend of April is a self-driving art tour, called  “The Hunterdon Art Tour” and 90 area artists in 40 locations are opening up their studios to welcome visitors and I am one of those artists.  You are invited to come see my art and working space!

I am so excited to be in my space and working on many projects, including the small works in my 100 Day Project. The landlord has repaired the building and tenants are moving back in.

The Hunterdon Art Tour

Dates: Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, 2022

Address: Green Cottage Studios

“Canal Center”

278 N. Union Street, Suite 108

Lambertville, NJ 08530

 My Open Hours:

11 am to 5 pm – Saturday

Noon to 5 pm – Sunday

There will be an exhibit of all the artists’ work and an opening reception on Friday evening at Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, NJ. There will be opportunities to purchase art which supports the tour.

For more information see

Maps are coming soon for the full roster of artists.

You can get directions to my studio at Google Maps.

Looking forward to seeing you in person!

Update: Green Cottage Studios Space

Coming Back!

What is the most powerful force on Earth? Water! Hurricane Ida caused much damage in New Jersey (and around the country) in September 2021. The massive rain resulted in horrible flash flooding in Lambertville, which devastated Green Cottage Studios creative studio space.

Approximately four feet of water swept through the studio, turning everything upside down and inside out, literally. The flooring and walls came up and all the contents seemed to have swirled around and settled in odd places, and everything was covered in mud. Mud, mud, mud everywhere.

My partner Rich and I were able to save some things, most importantly canvases, wood panel items and some works on watercolor paper, and a few sturdy items like a shelf and rolling cart from IKEA. But the remaining contents — equipment, furniture, art supplies — was a total loss. And it was not safe to even try to retrieve such items, and many were beyond saving anyway.

Below are the photos after the flood. If you want to see my post of how the GCS looked before the flood, you can go over to this post. I encourage you to scroll down so you can see the photos of the interior before the flood.

Luckily, I was able to keep creating this fall and winter in my home space. It’s tiny but I still was able to work on some projects. I sold works at ArtJam 2021 – which supports homeless families at HomeFront.

So January 2022, as the calendar turned to a new year, the building had been renovated and it was safe to return.

Just like Spring, Green Cottage Studios is now re-emerging. The space has been evolving as each day I bring a furniture, storage and art supplies, as well as working on creating new art. Many thanks to Rich Miller who has been assembling and hauling big things!

Here’s some photos of the new set up. These images include my Inspiration wall, my window and view to the outside, some things on the work table and the new display grids. There’s still more to be done. But stay tuned as we add more!!