Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Started with this little sketch in my sketchbook.  

Saw things I wanted to change, and made those changes when I did the painting - but YUCK!  Didn't like it at all.  Had too much of a left side/right side look with texture and color so...put it aside to start over fresh.

An ugly mess.  Had green and raw sienna on the left side in horizontal lines.  Hated that.  So went over the dried color with Daniel Smith watercolor ground and then painted a bit in it while it was not fully dry, creating some interesting snow-covered (?) look.  But still too much left side/right side cut in the middle by the tree trunk = YUCK.

Beginning again - watercolor - background first and not worrying about going over the tree because it will be dark in the pale sky.  Lifting some clouds and adding a bit of color to the mail field.  And got rid of the little pond that was ugly in the first try.

Much better, but completely at odds of my original intention which was to make a cold, icy, snowy look to the painting.  Hmm...where to go to get that?

Sunday, March 1, 2015


This one is finished.  I'm fairly pleased with it.  I did use some Caran d'Ache watercolor crayons in places to get some deeper color and some texture.

In Love with an Elegant Line

11 x 15 inches on Fabriano Artistico 140# watercolor paper, coated with gold gesso

And just in case you're tired of seeing snow...we're under another winter weather advisory until 10 am this morning = a bit of snow, a bit of sleet and freezing rain before turning to rain when it finally gets above 32F.  Happy March.

Right now, big, fluffy flakes coming down.  When I went out to fill the feeders this morning, I scared off a hawk that had been sitting on the deck railings.  

Friday, February 27, 2015


This began as a simple sketch in my sketchbook (which is almost full now).

The title came as soon as I finished the sketch:

In Love with an Elegant Line

Then I decided to paint it using the gold gessoed watercolor paper.

The next step is to put some color on the gold tree to soften areas and give it more interest.  If watercolor doesn't do it, I may pull out the watercolor pencils.

Still cold cold cold here and about 6 inches of snow still on the ground and piled around where snowplows have cleaned off middle of streets and people have shoveled out their driveways.  More ice and snow coming Sunday morning - what fun.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


The birds are pretty active around the feeders, trying to get their bellies full on these bitterly cold days and nights.  I'm putting out extra so everyone gets a chance to eat.  Here are some photos of the birds (and one squirrel who was braving the snow).

This little red finch, looking a bit disgruntled to be out in the snow.

A nice drink after eating at the suet feeder is always nice.

That snow is piling up on the table.  Gotta dig down to get to the good stuff.

We've been seeing this Rufous Sided Towee coming around to eat, too.

What do you mean, goldfinches only?  That's discrimination!

Monday, February 23, 2015


What have I been doing?  Nothing.  Nothing but watching the snow pile up around the house, around the cars, in the driveway, on the trees.  Nothing but watching the weather channel so I know exactly how cold it is out there right now - and how cold it will be tomorrow.  (Why this matters, I don't know, but I seem mesmerized by all the photos and words about traffic at a standstill and power outages and snow depths.)

My car battery is dead.  I tried to move her before the last snow (6 inches more on the ground and then a little icing on top of that) but it wouldn't turn over.  So it's sitting on the street.  Dead.  Doing nothing.  Being plowed in each time the snowplow comes by to clean the road.

This weather makes me do nothing.  Nothing but watch t.v. and read = escapism.  

My little art room is cold = we have to open the garage door from the downstairs to the garage to keep the water pipes from freezing when it gets down to -20F.  I don't want to go into my little art room to do anything.  So I do nothing.

I hope the temperature rises soon and the snow melts and we begin to see spring buds starting...it only took a week to put me into a real slump and another week of the same to come...winter is not my favorite season.  I hope some of you out there enjoy this snow.  As for me, I could do without ever seeing snow again - ever.

I did some sketching in the my sketchbook (possible plans for future paintings).  I didn't have to get off the sofa to do that.

And the two Dean Nimmer books I ordered have arrived.  I've begun looking through them but not doing any exercises from the book yet.  Maybe it will be a spring thing...

Come on, Spring!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I had planned for my students to paint on gold gessoed watercolor paper this week - but the weather had other ideas.  We had a big snow all day Monday through Tuesday morning and then the temperatures went down to -7F.  Yes, I said MINUS 7 degrees!!!  Didn't want anyone to get out in that who didn't have to be out because they didn't do a great job of cleaning any secondary roads due to the blowing snow Monday.  

Have you ever painted watercolors on gessoed paper?  Same thing as that, only this gesso is gold.  Daniel Smith carries (or used to carry) lots of colors of gesso so you could play with a lot of colors other than white.  And with gesso on the paper first, lifting watercolors back to white is easy.

It would make for some nice Asian-inspired paintings or anything that had some bold colors like black, red, dark blues, oranges, etc....leaving the gold showing through in places makes for a pretty piece.  

Not saying this is a pretty piece.  I just wanted to see what I could do with gold gesso over the TerraSkin "paper" I have.  It does stick well with acrylics.  Once the paint is dry, it doesn't come up unless you scratch it up with an exacto knife (which I don't recommend because TerraSkin is not paper but a stone paper that is heavier and has a bit more tooth than Yupo and is less slick.  I got some for Christmas and will be using it, experimenting and playing to see what it will and won't do.

The best thing about this is the palms and how I just brushed the black gesso (yeah, black gesso, not paint) down with the flat brush, creating those fronds.  The worst this is the bottom, the strange shaped wings of the blue heron/egret? and the afterthought of the red sun in the tiny portion of the edge of the paper which would be cut off if you frame it.  But this is just a play and experimentation piece so...live and learn, right?

I hope you are inside, safe and warm.  This last snowstorm cut through the midwest and through the south and then up to poor blasted Boston again, making sure everyone had a taste of snow, sleet, ice, blowing wind, etc.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


What I got for Valentine's Day (plus chocolates and two cards and a slice of peanut butter pie - YUM - from my Sweetie!).  

I had to put the flowers in another vase because this one, although cute with the candies around the center, had a very small area for the water in the center of the vase, and they were drooping a lot - needed more water.  So put them in the blue vase I got from my sister last month.  

What we got for Presidents' Day:
snow and more snow and cold.  But a lot of birds as soon as I filled the feeders and threw seed on the table.  

Why do Cardinals always look so red in the snow?  There must have been a dozen out there at one time.

We keep a heater in the birdbath, so it stays unfrozen no matter how cold it gets.  The water attracts every bird in the area who needs a quick drink or a little dunk to wash off the feathers.

There are twice as many males as females in the Cardinal group we have here, but this couple seemed to stay together, all puffed up against the cold but well fed.

Enjoy!  And stay safe and warm.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Coming up with ideas and titles from my sketchbook drawings, this one is called 

Stone Soup.  

I remember it from a children's story - the title - but don't remember much about it so should look it up and see what the story is.  Was it an Aesop's fable or a Grimm's fairy tale?

If I plan to continue with these acrylic abstracts on paper, I need to invest in some good acrylic tube paints so I have more variety in my colors, or just paint in the fluid acrylics I have (I seem to have a bit of those lying around, waiting for me to do something with them.)

Not sure where this one is going and it doesn't have the good lines the sketch had...something seems to get lost in the translation from sketchbook and graphite to paper and limited amounts of acrylic paint.  I did watch a pot boil (it's not true that a watched pot doesn't boil!) the other evening, wondering how to incorporate those bubbles into this one.

I am reading a book on Georgia O'Keeffe which my sister bought at the Indianapolis Art Museum (they are having a show of her works with the southwest still lifes of other artists at that time).  Looking at this, it could be a southwestern landscape (if I get rid of the stones) = mesa and sky?

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I just couldn't BEAR it
If you wouldn't be my VALENTINE.