Monday, September 1, 2014


Here in the U.S., we have a three-day weekend to celebrate Labor Day on Monday.  That doesn't make sense to me = we get a day off to celebrate labor? 

Labor Day weekend here in the Ohio River Valley means fireworks on the Ohio River, more traffic on the roads, the last cook-out of the summer season, and back to work and life as usual!

Hope you all have a good and safe weekend, and a great week to come...

Sunday, August 31, 2014


I think we only have two more weeks of lessons in the Val Webb online course, Painting Birds in Watercolor and Beyond.  In this one, we pulled out the watercolor board again - I worked on the 8 x 10 inch piece as is, although Val cut her paper or board down to 6 x 6 inches.  First, the blue skies.  Painted the blue around, then lifted with a natural sponge (Val used a cellulose kitchen sponge but I have some natural sponges so used them).

Next we will put a bird up in that sky to see how she soars.  

Can you believe it's September tomorrow?

Friday, August 29, 2014


The best thing to do when painting on Yupo is to let the paint do its thing and don't try to say everything. 

Well, that went out the window when I was playing with this piece.  
Now I need to return, blur, soften, take out, etc. - again, thinking about how George James would do it (he definitely wouldn't have worked SO LONG on creating her face - he would have just left it so you could fill in the features).

I made the mistake (?) of putting in black India ink in places and it does not lift off - maybe I'll try some alcohol on it and see if that will lift it.  And that green is painfully green :(  Of course, that's the beauty (?) of Yupo - I can wipe a lot off and start over fresh and maybe add in some china markers (grease pencils) and things to make more marks...too many decisions!

So, after some looking and thinking and wiping is where she stands.  Better?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Not done yet...we'll see where this one goes.

Autumn is almost here - where did the summer go?  (And why is it so hot and humid now?!?)

Got an email from a stranger asking me if I'd mail paintings internationally (although he didn't say where he was located), and when I said he could pay by PayPal, he gave me reasons why he couldn't.  Think this is a scam?  Yep, I do!!  Beware when there is not enough information on the requestors side to tell you who they are or where they are or how they are going to pay for artwork (which was never mentioned by name).  

Picked up my two paintings from the GCWS Show at the Barn yesterday morning.  Six paintings sold, but mine were not among the happy few.  

Monday, August 25, 2014


Wasn't that something they used to say in the old Monty Python's Flying Circus programs? 

I have been anti-Yupo for a while, after hearing stories about it from others about problems with it.  I also removed a painting from a mat and frame and it was yellow all around the outside so it didn't retain it's white color after just 2-3 years in the frame.  It's funny, too, because when I was first introduced to this, I loved the way the watercolor flowed and dried and created interesting shapes on the plastic Yupo.  

So I decided to get out a piece I'd painted on, wipe it all down and try something on it again, just to get the feel of it.  So here's a start of a watercolor painting on Yupo.

Guess I'll take a cue from George James (the King of Yupo) and make some big changes as I go along, blurring lines, making marks, etc.  He sticks to just watercolor on the Yupo while I've found most artists around here paint liquid acrylic on first and then add watercolor after, doing some wiping back of the acrylic with alcohol or a Mr. Clean Eraser (which is what I used to wipe off the painting that was on this piece before I began a new one).  

There are many artists using Yupo for watercolor, acrylic, fluid acrylic, even oil and china markers.  So I guess anything goes if you want to try out this plastic to play on.  We'll see where this play takes my painting...

Saturday, August 23, 2014


In Val Webb's online course, Painting Birds in Watercolor and Beyond, she had a materials list that included a set of three watercolor boards (8 x 10 inches).  I used one for the gouache and ink technique and used this one for the toned paper painting.  You tone the paper first, then draw your bird on and lift and add color and gouache and whatever you want to get the coloring.  

This great horned owl, named Kentucky, is one of the raptors Sweetie takes care of when he volunteers at the raptor center here locally.  They have the great horned owl, a barred own, a screech owl and a hawk - all have been damaged in some way and cannot live in the wild but they can be cared for and are pretty happy in their huge cages outside.  Kentucky is even a regular guest at our annual Christmas gatherings of all the raptor volunteers and he's quite a gentleman, sitting on the back of a chair and watching the activities.

If you are interested in Val's courses, just go to her webpage and check out the upcoming online classes - this course will be offered again in January 2015 and I recommend it for anyone wanting to add to their bird knowledge and painting techniques!  (Val posted her raptor on the toned board on her webpage, too, for you to see.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Here are two more of the Stillman & Birn sample sheets I was sent from the company.
They are postcard sized = 4 x 6 inches.

The Beta Series, 180# cold press is the series I have in two journals and I love it!  Bright white paper that acts as if it's between a cold press and hot press = smooth with a little tooth.  It takes the watercolor well, whether you paint wet-in-dry or wet-in-wet.  

This is watercolor with a little pen + ink linework and some gelly pen (white) work added and even some lifting of color.

(Definitely not a good painting - I did no pre-drawing, just began by using my brush as the drawing tool and put the ink in later for emphasis.  But you get the idea!) 

The Delta Series, 180# cold press is in Ivory, so I thought the little yellow finch would like to try this one out with me.  Watercolor put down wet-in-dry with touches of gouache for the highlights and wing bars.  Then I went back and wet the feeder color, dropping in more colors.  Beautiful paper, much like the Beta Series.  It's a warm ivory color, so if you like toned paper, you'll like this. 

The Zeta Series, 180# smooth paper is also a good paper for water media folks.  Nice granulation and blending ability on the paper.

I would say any of the papers are excellent, but for my tastes, the 180# papers are the way to go.  Now I guess I'll have to order another journal - or two!

Thanks to the folks at Stillman & Birn for sending me samples to play with and try out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Rainbow Dancer
11 x 15 inches
Arches 140# cold press paper

Sweetie was asked to take photographs at the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show in Mariemont Sunday.  We went over around 1:45 and they announced the winners around 2:00 pm.  He got photos of the winners with their winning paintings and big smiles and will send them to Deb Ward, who does our blog.  Check for the photos and info about the show coming up there later this week.  Just go to
http:// to see the photos and read about the winners.  (We gave away a First, Second, Third place and three Honorable Mentions.  First Place went to a watercolor, Second Place went to an acrylic + watercolor on Yupo, Third Place went to a watercolor on Yupo, and the Honorable Mentions went to an acrylic on canvas, a watercolor + gouache, and an acrylic ink.)

Until then, here is a couple of shots of the crowd.  We had A LOT of people come to the opening reception.  That is always a good thing.  Plus two paintings sold.

People love hanging out around the table filled with food.  And I saw quite a few people coming in with bottles of wine.

For photos of the paintings and the winners, go to the GCWS blog later in the week.

And after another GCWS show where I didn't get a ribbon, this post from Dreama Tolle Perry from her webpage, came in handy for me to read!  Perhaps you'd like to read it, too?  If so...go here.
My problem is, I can't imagine people don't love my crow paintings as much as I love painting them! ha ha  

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Val Webb asked us to do a few sketches before trying to paint our birds in her online class, Painting Birds in Watercolor and Beyond,  this week, focusing on the eyes.  

This is a great horned owl, Kentucky (from Jerry's Raptor group).  I drew him in graphite on cold press watercolor paper.  (Not sure why it looks a bit green as it's on 140# cold press Fabriano, I think.)