Tuesday, February 9, 2016


From a photo taken during our recent stay on Anna Maria Island.  The house we rented had a beautifully landscaped back yard with lots of interesting plants around the pool.  I took a lot of photos when the sun came down through the leaves and this is the first painting I'll do from those photos in early morning light.

Began with the drawing on watercolor paper and then put in the background using Daniel Smith Shadow Violet.  It may need to be darker.  I will work on that before I finish but want to start on some of the leaves.

Since I'm working very wet-in-wet (prewetting the areas I'll paint into, section by section), I'm working on a towel over my table and weighting down the paper so it straightens out as it dries.  (Learned that trick from Carol Carter.)  Some of the leaves are deep purple-grey and some are golden orange red colors so I'm looking forward to putting the color into those leaves.  Then I may not need to darken the background at all.

Stay tuned for the next steps...

Sunday, February 7, 2016


This post has nothing to do with Superbowl Sunday, except the it is posted on that day!

This is the ONLY watercolor sketch I did in my Stillman & Birn watercolor sketchbook while on vacation.  It was not a very creative 2 weeks.

We did see the full moon out the windows during our stay.  Unfortunately, we never saw it over the water due to storms and clouds.  

And it always takes me a few days - or weeks - to get back into the groove when I return home.

So I am finally working on something from the many photos I took during our stay away, and I'll share it as a WIP (Work-In-Progress) as I go along...

I have scheduled a Pilates session tomorrow - and they are predicting snow showers with accumulations and COLD temperatures, so I may just have to stay in and paint instead.  Hope you don't have strong storms or snow accumulations this week - let's hold Puxatawny Phil at his word (he did NOT see his shadow on Groundhog Day so...an early spring is on its way).

Friday, February 5, 2016


Some of the pretty things inside the house we rented on Anna Maria Island...

I wanted this little table at the bottom of the stairs.  So many neat drawers to hold treasures!

The house had way too many bedrooms for just Sweetie and me, but it was the cutest place we could find at the time we booked.  Each room had nice artwork (all prints but nice prints on canvas) on the walls.  I like that touch - makes you feel like you are in a home, not just a rental house.

The many paintings of boats (especially this one) made me think of Jeanette Jobson's boat paintings in oil, using a palette knife.  This print looked like the original was with a palette knife.

Even the poolside chairs were pretty colors (and compliments on the color wheel)!

The only pink sunrise I saw while we were there.  This was the view out the back, over the pool, looking toward sunrise.  Pretty pink sky the last morning we were there. 

Goodbye, Anna Maria Island!  See you again som

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Just a few more photos I've resized and wanted to share before I get to work again.  Of course, I still have all those Christmas present books to read, too...so I may be lazy for a while before going back to the paints...

"She's back."  
"Yes, I see that."  
"Ignore her and maybe she'll go away."  
"What is her fascination with us, anyway?"
"She wants to draw us?  What does that mean?"
"Shhh.  Don't look at her.  I'm sure she'll get bored soon and walk away."

The storms brought up some interesting things on the beach, like this horseshoe crab.  I had never seen one on the beach before.  

I had never seen surfers on Bean Point, either, but there were about two dozen of them, all young, lean and fierce in that icy cold water.

The house we rented (named Casa Violetta) was beautifully landscaped with lots of interesting plants blooming and growing around the little pool (which was WAY too cold to do more than dip a toe in to test the water = brrrrr!!"

Don't know what this plant is or what the berries are.  The green things behind is how it begins, then grows out into the red berries and then those shrivel and die off.  But haven't a clue what it is. 
I liked those red berries enough to pull a bit off for a possible photo set-up and painting later, though.

Possible painting?

Back to the beach one day when it warmed up and the wind died down.  A man was busily carving this dolphin out of the sandy beach = pretty.

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Returned home yesterday evening after 2 weeks away on Anna Maria Island - again.  Spent the whole 2 weeks in a large, pretty, violet house that had so many smart appliances that both Sweetie and I felt dumb (especially when the alarm on the refrigerator started going off and we couldn't find the manual to figure out why!! = turns out I had the door open too long!!!  What???).  The place was large, pretty, clean and had a little pool in the back (which was unuseable due to the temperatures - which sometimes went down to 45F at night = brrrrr).  

We had tornadoes touch down close by the first week, then cold, windy days; then warming enough to bring more rain rain rain.  I think we may have had 5 days of sunshine total, but still checked out the beach each day and, especially, at sunset.  So...until I catch up with things, here are some sunsets on Bean Point (the north end) of Anna Maria Island.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 29, 2016


Thin Ice
   by Ellen Doré Watson

Reedy striations don’t occlude the beneath—
earthy mash of leaves, flat pepper flakes, layered,

tips protruding, tender-desolate above a mirror
surface, gently pressing on horse-mane, nest material,

tickle-brush, fringe. Buff block-shapes further down,
ghost-bits of green-green, a lone leaf burned white.

My thrown stone skitters on ice. The next, larger,
plunks through and for a moment I am a violator

but then I see it opened a bubble cell, a city,
a lesion, a map—the way in cold and luminous.

Ellen Doré Watson 
is the author of Dogged Hearts (Tupelo Press, 2010). 
She’s the director of The Poetry Center at Smith College 
and lives in Conway, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Using the technique from the faux encaustic demo in the Winter issue of Acrylic Artist, I started another.  This one is on canvas board (8 x 10 inches) I had in the corner (I seem to have a lot of bits and pieces of boards and things I've collected over the years.)

I began by choosing 3 blues and putting them down in a sweeping motion.  

After it dried, I put down the second layer, separating "top" and "bottom" of the painting and laying plastic wrap over the top while the paint was still wet.  Letting that dry overnight, I pulled off the plastic wrap and here is what it was at that stage.  (It had to be tilted for the photo so the shine didn't block the painting in spots.)

I like it.  It makes me think of a strange seascape with a wild sky!  So I will let it sit for a while and decide what I should do next.  

The problem with painting with acrylics, for me, is that I'm unsure where to go when I get to a stage that I like - but that needs a bit more.  I guess that comes from more playing and experimenting and trying new things.  Nothing can become too precious to change.  

Monday, January 25, 2016


Another drawing in the Strathmore toned paper sketchbook (tan).  I like the warmth of this but like the gray toned paper, too - don't think they make other sketchbooks that aren't white.

These are Royal Terns but Sweetie and I call them Elvis birds because they look like Elvis with his black hair and their look of cockiness.  They aren't afraid of looking right at you as if they are saying, "Who said you could take my photo, tourist?"

Elvis Bird on the Beach

Saturday, January 23, 2016


Winter Leafage
 by Edith Matilda Thomas

Each year I mark one lone outstanding tree,
Clad in its robings of the summer past,
Dry, wan, and shivering in the wintry blast.
It will not pay the season’s rightful fee,—
It will not set its frost-burnt leafage free;
But like some palsied miser all aghast,
Who hoards his sordid treasure to the last,
It sighs, it moans, it sings in eldritch glee.
A foolish tree, to dote on summers gone;
A faithless tree, that never feels how spring
Creeps up the world to make a leafy dawn,
And recompense for all despoilment bring!
Oh, let me not, heyday and youth withdrawn,
With failing hands to their vain semblance cling!

This poem is appropriate to the time of year - and also because I will be having another (!) birthday this month.  The days, weeks, months and years continue to add up until I am an age now that I feel, not quite comfortable with, and one that is coming very close to a milestone year that may mean I've passed my sell-by date!