Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Well, just didn't feel like doing a sketch today so cheated and did a figure from the back :) I liked this photo the first time I saw it at WetCanvas (photo by a member called yabby). Used a sketch and wash graphite pencil to draw and shade and then put in a pale wash with watercolors because how can you have something called Green Hat without any color in it :)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Yesterday was a busy day with Sangha and then an early dinner at Mom's for cake and presents from her and my sis. So I didn't get the sketch for the day done but will catch up tomorrow on the two portraits for March.

Since today was watercolor class day, I'll show you the Bahamas House finished painting instead of the sketches today.

Well, it's not finished as I see I need to work on that palm tree - and I cropped it back to where it's a square now :( So may have to crop even more off the left side. Since this is just a drawing from Sandy, I can't do anything with this because it's not my composition. I may end up giving it away but other than that, it will just go in the pile.

I also finished the Irish cottage I'd started on masa paper weeks ago. Cropped a bit off the top and bottom of this one.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Two sketches done from the March Drawing Newsletter by Michael R. Bitton (http://www.artacademy.com). This drawing was to work on hair so a side view of the face.

Hair/Profile 1 - January 26, 2007
Hair/Profile 2 - January 27, 2007
And Michael R. Britton's original in vine charcoal and graphite.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Well, today I turned 50.

Turning 30 didn't bother me at all and turning 40 didn't give me any concerns but turning 50 - well, there is just something about that number that seems like, yep, it's all real and you, too, are getting old...

And I can see it coming up fast in the mirror so was feeling a bit down when Jerry said, "Let's go to the bookstore." So we stopped in Border's Bookstore and I got 2 art books (one on drawing portraits from photos that looks like a great find), and then to search for a new winter robe. Note to self: If you're feeling old, don't go into Victoria's Secret and think you will come out of there feeling anything but older!

Found my winter robe at another store - a beautiful cobalt blue robe that is cotton and bamboo (don't ask me how they do it, that's just what the tag said) and then I was smitten with this little beautiful kimono-like red robe and...well...I walked away from it, being the sensible woman I am. I walked back and lovingly touched it again, and Jerry bought it for me. Let me tell you, it perked me right up enough to come home and put on my geisha makeup and my robe and new black slippers and it may not have made me feel 30 again but not so bad for an "old broad." :)

the sleeves?

And thanks to Jenny, Mom, Millie, Mac and Sandy; Ann, Floyd, Gina and Sandy Maudlin; and China for all the birthday rememberances today. Thanks, too, to Lama, Haven, Talon, and Achara from my Buddhist Sangha; and thanks to my buddy, Ron, for the beautiful iris painting :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The two sketches I did yesterday and today are based on the lesson from the February Drawing Newsletter created by Michael R. Britton (see Jan 23 entry for URL).

This time, a child's face. Michael Britton says how hard it is to get a good likeness of a child - then goes on to draw - with conte crayon (which is says is like a thoroughbred and a bit of a prima donna)! I'll post his version last (might as well save the best portrait for last, right?

Now here's mine:

First - Clara Serena (daughter of Peter Paul Ruben). Britton uses the oil painting done by Ruben in 1614 as a guide. I did it first in charcoal. Didn't want to do another graphite and wasn't brave enough to try the prima donna conte :)

Clara 1 - January 24, 2007

Then I got very brave - or very foolish - and tried one with sanguine conte. And Britton is right - you have to know what you're doing with this medium to get it right and I aged her a few more years by overstroking and blending and lifting and - well you get the idea.

Clara 2 - January 25, 2007

And finally, the version in sanguine conte by Michael R. Britton - as you can see, I have a long ways to go...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's time to go back to the basics.

Something was said in watercolor class yesterday that made me think about what made me want to paint in the first place: portraits. Painting people's faces and bodies. And I haven't done that much, except for the 5 geisha I did. Time to get back to basics and return to studying portrait drawing and painting until I can feel comfortable with getting a good likeness.

So I printed out my Drawing Newsletter from January 2006. I saved every one last year but am a year late in getting around to doing the drawing. Better late than never, I think :)
If you're interested, you can sign up for this free newsletter by Michael R. Britton at http://www.artacademy.com I may get his drawing dvds this year, too.

Lin #1 - January 22, 2007 Lin #2 - January 23, 2007

The picture of Lin came from the January 2006 newsletter. My plan is to do one each day but each model twice. So yesterday and today, I did Lin. Did I get any better the second day? Did I get worse? Did I see things better the second time around or the first? I think this will be a real learning experience.

And here is Michael's portrait of Lin which was featured in the newsletter done in graphite and conte crayon.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

Another Monday, another watercolor class. My teacher remembers our birthdays and she gives us a card (after passing it around for the whole class to sign), and a free tube of watercolor paint on the Monday of our birthday. I took cookies in to class today and mentioned twice that it was my birthday this week - but no card, no fresh new tube of paint. The big 50 only comes around once and looks like it may go unnoticed. So, I have to admit, I was feeling a little sorry for myself...

But I came home and in the mail received - a Daniel Smith catalog and a gift certificate from Spain!!! A sweet surprise from my friend, Teresa :) who shouldn't have, really, shouldn't have done such a thing but she is such a sweetie and it made me smile and lifted my spirits so much :)

Gracias, mi amiga!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Well, everything's closed because we got our first winter storm. The whole country has been suffering and now winter is here. It's only 2-4 inches around the area so I imagine things will be back to normal tomorrow - but I have to tell you, I didn't miss the snow and ice at all. It was nice pretending to live in Florida while we were having 50-60F temps all during November and December.

And I painted this thing.

It's not what I had in my mind at all, wanting to do it much more loose and spare of brushstrokes. Worked on it about 1/2 hour too long. I began with a light sketch on the paper (Fabriano Uno rough white 140#) and then laid in the first colors with a 1 inch hake brush (a gift from my artist friend, Mohan several year's ago) and a No. 7 round (Cheap Joe's). I cropped too much off the top and left side so now it's square - a definite no-no. Will try again. Waterlilies are hard to paint and I don't do landscapes well so I'm torturing myself...

The statue is of Jiso, protector of travellers and women, and was taken this past fall at Furnace Mountain, a Zen Buddhist retreat center.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Yesterday, the online art world lost a dear friend, a true gentleman, and a wonderful artist. Mohan Man passed quickly Friday from an aneuryism after suffering from kidney disease and failure these last few months. Mohan never complained during his lengthy illness and his work continued to be of the highest quality. He painted what he felt - and he made us feel it, too, as we viewed his artwork which always carried within it a feeling of peace and stillness. This man knew beauty and conveyed it to many of us who were in awe of his talent and his inner strength.

Please take a moment and view his work at

Thank you, Mohan, for sharing your world with us while you were on this earth. And thank you, Susan (his wife and best friend) for bringing him back to his art after a long time away. The only thing that gave him more pleasure than his art was living his life with you.

Om mani padme hum...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Working on the monthly project for the WatercolorWorkshop yahoo group = water lilies. The misket is still on the white of the flowers. Not working with a photo but looking at the front cover of a book called Light up Your Watercolors Layer by Layer by Linda Moyer
for a guide on colors - and maybe I should read the technique inside because my pads and flowers sure don't look like her's :)

And I think once the perspective is this far off (thanks to the many artists at WatercolorWorkshop for telling me what I wasn't seeing clearly), it might be best to just begin again...

but heck, why quit and start again when you can spend another couple of hours really ruining this one? haha Sorry - I'm showing it even though it is horrid! Sometimes you get diamonds, sometimes you get coal...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Last work done on this - just had to see where to push some things back and pull some things forward - and finish the berries. Done!

Again, I have to give my thanks to Mustcreate, a member at WetCanvas, for her wonderful photo that made me want to paint it.

Here's the series all together (stages 1, 3 and 5) so you can see the process from first glaze to finish...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Trying to finish up the leaves and berries slowly - this is where I get too rushed and ruin a painting so need to slow down and work it bit by bit. I made up my mind before I started that the berries would be the absolute last thing I do - so they were last and the misket is still on them.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Monday, January 15, 2007

No wc class today - Sandy is ill :( and I'm recovering from a migraine I got last night so not sure about painting. Several things need completed and I'll get to them this week, I know.

I am putting a deposit down for the November workshop by Nicholas Simmons who is being hosted by Sandy. Those of you who visit WetCanvas (http://www.wetcanvas.com) will know Nick and his work. Those who don't you can check out his work there or at http://nicholassimmons.com. Not your traditional watercolorist, that's for sure!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Well, painting a self-portrait is hard. All kinds of harsh thoughts come up about your face shape, your lips, your eyes, your wrinkles and saggy bits!! I should have started this about 10 years ago when I still looked pretty good :) Knowing I'd have a hard time with this and be too critical - which would keep me from painting well - I decided to paint myself as another famous portrait. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I came up with this.
Rhonda as Frida Kahlo.
Now, I wear glasses always - and my hair is short with bangs. Other than that, the features are mine but the eyes gave me fits and they just aren't right. And my dear husband said, "You're prettier than this," which is why I still love him after 12 years together :) haha

Now time to go back and work on the Leaves and Berries painting...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Friday, January 12, 2007

Have to do a self-portrait and/or water lilies (or lotus blossoms) for the WatercolorWorkshop group to which I belong. Haven't begun either! But here are some older paintings that would fit the bill if I either run out of time (projects are due at the end of the month) or make a start and mess up!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Working more on the Autumn Leaves and Berries painting - stage 4 and 5 were mostly working with the bg, laying down a warm wash and then pushing the background back even further with Indanthrone Blue (by Daniel Smith) and leaving some leaf shapes here and there. I'm pleased with it so far and it needs about 2 more workings before it's done. And that means working the leaves to give them all more dimension (so taking off the misket is next!).

Worked more on the elephant on masa paper - this is done because the masa paper won't take more working. But I'm learning about the paper and what you can and can't do with it and what works best :) I'm not thrilled with this but next one will be better...

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Monday, January 8, 2007

My first day back in watercolor class since before the holidays!! So instead of a Christmas party we had a New Year's party. And you won't believe it - Sandy (our instructor) gave us each one of her paintings!!! We got to choose the one we wanted and everyone got one and I got this one!! It is on yupo and is a favorite of mine that I had commented on. I can't believe how generous this woman is - amazing! I didn't crop the photo because I wanted you to see that it's matted beautifully and wrapped - all I have to do is buy the frame!

I love this painting so much and our party was great - lots of great gifts, food and chatter :)

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Another masa paper start. This one was done by tracing the cottage on the masa paper, then painting the sky and shadowed rocky fence. Then I crumpled it, put it in water and squeezed it more, taking it out of the water and squeezing more to get more wrinkles. But I think the sky is too textured and rough. So a good friend - and a smart man - said, "Wet the back of the masa paper, put it face down on an ironing board and iron it with a warm iron." That's what I'll do before going any further on it.

Here is is, again, with the sky ironed out a bit.

The photo of the Irish cottage was taken by Miriam Coulter, an artist who was in an online watercolor group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WatercolorWorkshop/ a long time ago and shared this photo. This photo was also used by a dear artist friend, Mohan - see his version and the rest of his beautiful work at

I've also done more layers on the leaves and berries painting but the elephant will sit patiently (I hope) and wait for me to decide how to finish it off and blend that white in the upper face more so it's not so bossy. With this version, I've just begun to add in some Quinacridone Coral either mixed with New Gamboge in the palette or pure on the paper.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Back to the masa paper elephant putting in some darker values and trying to splatter those freckles without getting them everywhere :) I think I made the iris of the eye too small and too reddish so it's a bit scary looking right now. I'm not sure I can "fix" it now but I'll give it a try.

Also put in another layer or two on the leaves and berries painting...haven't gone any darker than Quinacridone Gold on this so far.

Also want to say Happy Birthday to two friends: Teresa in Spain and China in Indiana!!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

While the elephant on masa paper is drying,
I started this painting based on a photo by MustCreate at WetCanvas. As you can see,
this is going to be one that is glazed several times to get the look I want. I started with
Hansa Yellow Light (a Daniel Smith color)
and will gradually get darker, oranger, and redder, saving those berries for last - at least, that's the plan!

All of the photos in the WetCanvas (http://www.wetcanvas.com) image reference library are copyright free - but it's good karma to give credit for the photo to the photographer. So thanks, MustCreate, for the photo!