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30×30 Guest Artist : Maria Coryell-Martin

May 15, 2018

30×30 with Maria Coryell-Martin

Now, I don’t precisely *know* Maria. We haven’t met in person, only online.

These days, don’t we all have people we’ve found on the internet? People who we don’t really know, but we love what they’re doing, and we’d kind of like to have their lives, if only for a few days.

Maria is a traveling artist on an entirely different level from my own experience. She’s on a kind of artistic adventure that brings to mind scientific illustrators from the turn of the century. She’s traveled with research expeditions to the Arctic, and, as the winner of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, circumnavigated the globe making art in remote regions.

Find out more about Maria’s and her work at, or follow her on instagram @ExpeditionaryArt. She’s also on the Facebook <here).

It’s a great honor to have her joining us for 30×30. She’ll bring a unique viewpoint to the group. I’m very excited to see what she comes up with over a month of new work.

Five Questions for Maria about #30x30DirectWatercolor2018:

When you think about 30 days of daily practice – do you have a theme or a goal that might guide your work the month?

Maria : I moved to my home in Port Townsend, a small seaport town in western Washington, just two years ago. I plan to use the 30×30 project as an opportunity to sketch and learn about the town’s cultural heritage, maritime industries, and connection to the water.

[Ushuaia, on the southern tip of Argentina]

Are there any specific materials or techniques you plan to investigate? Will you use your reliable tools, or use this time to experiment with a new thing?

Maria : Ink and watercolor is my sketching comfort zone. For this project, I’m excited to leave behind my pens, using watercolor only (with some pencil sketches), with the Direct Watercolor Palette. <read more about this here).

I plan on using my favorite toned paper, with some additional white gouache for brights. The mood and techniques reference the natural history tradition which is an inspiration for my expeditionary art. I’ll be using primarily Arches Cover tan paper which has a beautiful soft feel, and perhaps some Canson Mi-Tientes (sand color) which is heavy enough for light watercolor wash, but dries very quickly. I buy both in large sheets that I cut down to size. I have prepared sheets in a couple of formats (5″ x 7″ and 6.5″ x 15″ panorama), so I have some choice for composition. I reserve the right to experiment with other colors or formats, no rules are written in stone.

[Here’s Maria writing about making this View of Niaqornat]

Do you think 30×30 will be a challenge? Or is one painting a day easy for you?

Maria : Painting daily (or doing anything daily for that matter!) is a challenge for me right now as I balance my life with a toddler and working at home. For the 30×30, I give myself permission to play, experiment, and embrace, “practice not perfection!”

Let’s have a small tip! Give us a strategy people might use to reach the goal of 30×30?

Maria : I recommend preparing your materials for the month all in advance, so they are ready to go. Choose your sketchbook or paper, prep your watercolor palette, and keep a small bag packed up so when you want to paint, you are prepared.

What do you hope have gained at the end of the 30-day marathon?

Maria : I hope this marathon pushes my understanding of my tools and techniques, and builds a daily sketching habit that I can sustain beyond the month. I’m also sure I’ll encounter some surprises along the way.

There’s a quote I love by David Boyle from his book, Art and Fear:

Vision is always ahead of execution, knowledge of materials is our contact with reality, and uncertainty is a virtue.

Thank you, Marc, for organizing this wonderful project!

Looking for the FAQ/Announcement < click here!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jack Rosenberg permalink
    May 15, 2018 11:43 AM



    • May 15, 2018 11:50 AM

      Hahah! I hear you Jack :) What can we do, sometimes I get enthusiastic:) One more bit of info and today’s rush is over. (Note: If you were serious, I can’t unsubscribe you, you have to do it from your own wordpress account).

  2. Missy Walsh-Smith & Gary Smith permalink
    May 15, 2018 6:31 PM

    I saw that! I really like his work! Maybe we should do the challenge!


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