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.)

Friday, August 15, 2014


The Stillman & Birn sample sheets I was sent are all 4 x 6 inches and I've tried out three of the sample papers so far, using only watercolor and gouache.  Here are the results...

The Alpha Series 100# paper held up well to the wet watercolor but really isn't heavy enough to do much in really wet media (you couldn't lift color from the paper well), so I'd use this for gouache or colored pencil, other dry media, maybe.
(Correction:  Viktor from Stillman & Birn referred me to the painting by Iain Stewart who is working on a larger sheet of the Alpha paper and he layers up to 5 layers and can lift, using a tough scrubby brush!  I stand corrected!  Perhaps I was too gentle with my lifting, afraid to tear the paper, or was using staining colors?  Thanks for educating me even more about these wonderful papers, Viktor!  I have to say, the Stillman & Birn reps are very responsive and I like that.)  For that video Viktor sent, see here:

The Epsilon Series 100# paper held up well, too, and was very much like hot press in that it dried quickly and left hard lines which I used to advantage in painting this rough tree.  I painted this very wet and the paper didn't buckle or seem to soak up too much water.  If you like hot press, you could use this paper the same way, although it is thinner than hot press watercolor paper.  This might work best with pen + ink with watercolor.

The Gamma Series 100# paper has a vellum surface and was like hot press paper but you could add and layer color.  I didn't lift color, but will try it using a scrubby brush after hearing from Viktor at Stillman & Birn about the Alpha paper liftability.

I added some gouache to the watercolor.  Like hot press, you got hard lines when the paper dried quickly, but that could be worked around or used to your advantage.

Of these three papers, I liked the Epsilon Series 100# paper best of all and liked painting wet-in-wet on it and working with the way it dried.  

I'll do the other three later...

Thursday, August 14, 2014


When the bluejays begin squawking and won't stop (it really gets annoying at times), you know there's a predator nearby and they are sounding the alarm.  Well, I looked outside yesterday afternoon and this was in the swimming pool!  

We didn't open the pool this year so that's the black cover over the water that he (or she) is standing on and this bird was huge!!!  Grabbed the camera and began shooting, moved outside so I could get a clearer shot.  

Now that's worth squawking about!

Drove up to Mariemont and dropped off the two paintings I'll have in the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show - which opens this Sunday with an artist reception from 1 - 4 pm at the Women's Art Club "Barn" gallery.  Do come to see the show if you're in the area.  6980 Cambridge Avenue, Mariemont (Cincinnati) OH.  The show can be seen weekends (August 16, 17, 23, 24) 1-4 pm and weekdays (August 19-22) 9 am - 2 pm.  The show runs just one week and weekend from the opening.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


The three grandkids and what I came up with.

I need more practice on people!  The only one that doesn't look stiff is the one of Jocelyn at the end - colorful but maybe too colorful?  

It was Sweetie's idea to take the portraits to show the girls when we were out shopping Sunday and they loved them all.  Except Alaina wants some color behind her, more like Jocelyn's portrait.  

I'll get in some more practice and try the new ones from freehand drawings - and then present them (or these) to the parents for an extra Christmas present.