Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007 - Susan's Dragonfly 2

I was getting too impatient with the little details on the dragonfly painting so stopped. It needs more highlights on the wings and more detail on the veins before it can be called done. But this is what I have now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007 - End of September Already?

Well, today just got away from me. I don't know where it went. I did get a haircut/color, and I bought a new, larger purse, but that didn't take the whole day. So no excuse for neither painting nor sketching today. My new bag is large enough to carry some drawing tools and my small sketchbook, though, so I'm all set!

How about some photos from Jerry's Great Britain trip? The town is a little railroad station village for the tourists and it gets the tourists because it's the village with the longest name in Britain. Can you say "Clan Fair Pee Gee?" That's all you have to say to sound like a Welsh native.

Although I've nothing to share in the way of paintings or drawings, take a look at the sidebar and see the 3 new artist sites I've added: Check out Myrna Wacknov's work in her painting site and her new blog and look at the Robert Genn newsletter site (so much great info there).

I'll get busy tomorrow and finish that dragonfly, I promise!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007 - Profile Sketch

Did this sketch from Michael R. Britton's online lessons at I recommend these online (free) lessons to get you started at seeing and drawing the portrait. Each month, he emails you another one - I am very far behind, since this is September 06, but I am working through each one and not skipping any - some take longer to finish and give me more problems. It is not easy to get a correct likeness and I don't think I accomplished it here but I'm still trying (the upper lip still juts out too much but I'm not getting the jutting look to his whole "muzzle" area right and I keep fiddling so extra eyes will help).
His photo and lesson is to show how to sketch the profile. I started this last night and finished it this morning, seeing more things to work on and the nose really gave me fits. Well, first the nose, then the mouth, then the upper lip, then the eyes... :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 - Changes, DairyAires + Dragonfly for Susan

Sorry, but I just didn't like the new template very much so returned to the old one. It just seems cleaner to me and easier to read.

And I took some advice given by Sue Cole at WatercolorWorkshop and grounded my cattle and lifted a few lights from the yellow. Done, and thanks Sue and all those at WcW who commented and to Sandy and Kathy in watercolor class Tuesday for their comments!

Also, I got a photo a while back from my friend, Susan M. in BC. It is a gorgeous photo and I thought I might try my hand at painting and trying to get those delicate wing structures. Below you'll see the painting with Susan's photo and then a larger version of the painting so show you where I am = a lot of misketing out shapes in those wings and this isn't done by any means but it's getting closer. I hope to visit Susan sometime in 2008 but for now we are just exchanging emails and photos when we take them. This is from Susan's garden.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007 - Speaking Honestly

Speaking Honestly

Satya, or truth, is one of the yamas Patanjali refers to in the ancient yogic text, the Yoga Sutra. But telling the truth may not be as easy as it sounds. So what does telling the truth mean? To some yogis it means speaking with the intention of being truthful, given that what we call the "truth" is filtered through individual experiences and beliefs about the world. But when we speak with that intention, I have a better chance of not harming others.

Another aspect of satya has to do with inner truth or integrity, a deeper and more internal practice. Honesty is what we do when others are around and might judge our actions or words, but to have integrity is to act in an honest manner when others are not around and will never know about our actions.

In Sanskrit, sat means the eternal, unchanging truth beyond all knowing; ya is the activating suffix which means "do it." So satya means "actively expressing and being in harmony with the ultimate truth." In this state we cannot lie or act untruthful, because we are unified with pure truth itself.

From (under the yoga section).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007 - Autumnal Equinox + Cow Butts

It's the first day of autumn, officially - why is it still so hot???

And speaking of hot, here is a painting I have tried about 5 times and never gotten it right - I call it Dairy Airs (pun intended) but they don't look like dairy cattle so maybe that's a bad title. My working title is just Cow Butts which is what the photographer (see the photo below) called it.
This is on tygerag paper, a tyvek plastic paper that I'd never used before. I put watercolor pencil on the back of the photo and then traced the objects, putting down the yellow-orange pencil I thought would lift off - but it didn't. So...guess I'll just use graphite next time. So with the lines there it gives it a very graphic quality and I'm not sure I like it but...well, this is the 6th time I've tried to paint this photo.
The photo caught my eye a few year ago. It's from a WetCanvas member called K9 Artist(real name is Dana Lee Thompson and check out her site for some great animal portraits she's done:

I've used one of her photos before - the dark clouds over the farmland one - she takes great pics and shares them in the IRL at WetCanvas (copyright free but it's nice to give credit to the photographer).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007 - Wind Chimes Finished

I think the wind chimes are finished.
I think this week was a hard week but my sister, the computer wizardess, came over tonight and restored all the emails and addresses we had lost - didn't believe that could happen. It took her 3 hours but she did it - for nothing but a cup of coffee and some Biscoff cookies (she's family and you're allowed to use family!).

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007 - Wind Chimes

Back to the wind chimes and getting back to normal, I think.

Next step to put the color on the chimes...

And then I'll add more darks to the greens and more greens into the blues to make them look more like glass with the greens showing through. That's my plan, anyway...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - Computer Meltdown!

I tried to print out some pics from Jerry's trip Tuesday morning. Apparently, I asked the computer to do too many things at once and it froze up completely. So, couldn't get out of anything and kept getting the fun error that I could send a report to Microsoft that my computer was frozen. Finally, I just hit the power bar. When it came back on - well, it didn't except for another great message from Microsoft telling me it was sorry but....

After 6+ hours with help from a wonderful tech named Amanda at Gateway, I finally got something that looked like what I had before. And still needed to install all my programs, including printer/scanner and programs for wordprocessing and spreadsheets and then had to work with my ISP and get that all back online and ready to go.

The worst fear was - Jerry had downloaded all 700+ photos onto the computer the night before. And had then reformatted his compact flash card for the camera. So if those photos were gone - they were long long gone. Fortunately, we got them back!

But no painting, no drawing, no watercolor class and no figure session yesterday. And chewed all my fingernails off today as a residual stress factor, I guess :(

So...will share tomorrow what I got painted a bit today but I'm feeling a bit unfriendly like this little crab who just wants to stay in its stressfree shell...
so see you tomorrow -------------------------

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

I intended to work on the wind chimes today but instead went to the allergist and had injections for allergy testing - too many to count!! OUCH! It's something I've had to do for years so I knew what was coming but still a bit painful. And then just came home and pampered myself, reading and spending time looking at all the photos my husband took on his recent trip to Wales, Scotland and England. So just so you have something to look's a great photo of Three Kilted Lads in Scotland. I think this was in Edinburgh (apparently Subways are all over the UK now as are Starbucks - when I was there in the late 80's I was shocked to see Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's).

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday, September 16, 2007 - Listen

"All beings cry out ... Listen
All mistakes point the Way ... Listen
Everything is Truth ... Listen
Put aside self interest and help others." --- Zen Master Dae Gak

Are you listening? Do you hear the songs of the birds outside your window in the early morning as a gift or as a nuisance? Are you listening?

Do you choose to hear the truth or believe anything that is being said? Are you listening? Listening is an active art. It takes practice. It takes time. It takes effort to do it well. Let's all listen carefully today and filter out what is harmful or untruthful.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you walk in beauty with the sun shining warmly upon your shoulders and the breeze gently caressing your face. May you put aside yourself and...Listen.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday, September 15, 2007 - Sketch + Cincinnati Galleries In The Artist's Magazine

I did this small sketch the other evening - the eyes aren't right but I've worked the paper too much to keep erasing and trying again. Oh, well, practice practice practice is the key...I did this a few days ago and forgot about it because it's just not a good likeness (the original photo is from the Michael R. Britton online lessons at
for August 2006. No, I am not that far behind, I just seem to have skipped around with the dates somehow. This tutotial was to break symbolic preconceptions in portrait drawing by using a photograph and working with the sketch while the photo was upside down so you couldn't see "the nose," "the mouth," "the eyes," etc. Well, I started that way and had a heck of a time - could not get the shape of the face right. And as you can see, I made him more attractive than he is in the photo - the upper part of the face isn't wide enough, I've made his beard and bottom lip fuller plus the eyes - the eyes just aren't right. Now, if I didn't show you the photo, you'd never know, but then it wouldn't be honest, would it? I won't ever be someone commissioned for portraits (I would hate doing that) but one needs to get the person close to looking like them! I think I've made my sketch man more attractive than the photo reference but I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate that - or would he?
We're almost finished with the "summer" session of the figure drawing sessions hosted by Manifest Gallery ( and I'm looking forward to fall weather and the start of another session in October. I just received my October 2007 issue of The Artist's Magazine and see that Manifest Gallery has another good write-up, along along with The Fifth Street Gallery (5th and Race Streets gallery hosting the Pendleton Art Studio artists) and Dicere Gallery (

"One's individual behavior can contribute to the making of a happier family and community." --- H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007 - Sandy Maudlin in International Artist + Peaches Done

Would you like to see some eye candy? If you can before the deadline September 19th, go to and select 'see other entries.' You will see 4 paintings from my watercolor teacher, Sandy Maudlin, there in a row. Click on them to enlarge them at the top of the page. (Best of Times, Friends from Oxford, Forever, and Forever Free are her paintings). Feast your eyes on some delicious work!! Yay, Sandy!!! Good luck on the competition.
(For some reason IA cycles through the paintings, putting the latest entries at the top and moving the others down and out - so if you didn't get a chance to see Sandy's paintings before, I think you'll have to wait until she's in the magazine later this year.)

Finished the peaches for the WatercolorWorkshop group project.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007 - Bloom! Cropped

The dark center of Bloom! was dead center - so did a bit of cropping and if I mat and frame it, I will do it this way so that center isn't right in the middle (a definite no-no). Done with this now and on to two projects for the WatercolorWorkshop online group.
Project 1 = Wind Chimes: Photo taken by Sandy Maudlin for my use. I've always loved that blue glass wind chime she has outside her studio and she took a few photos for me to choose. I dropped misket (Pebeo Drawing Gum) over the thing and then sprayed it with water outward to make it run and move around the paper. That's as far as I've gotten with that.
Project 2 = Peaches: Photo taken by Gina Hall for the group use for the project. We all will be painting from this photo and it's always interesting to see what the different artists come up with. This one is on hotpress paper with some oxgall liquid in the water to help it run and blend. About 3/4 done on this one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 - Bloom! and Morning Glories

I worked on Bloom! a bit more. I think it's done now and I think I should crop out the right side just a bit more so the dark center isn't dead center and to get rid of some of that warm orange that takes our eye there. My wc teacher, Sandy, said the same thing so we're thinking the same way.

And while letting that rest, I began painting the little morning glory/trellis painting I haven't been able to do well - doesn't look like this is going to turn out either but I'll keep trying to figure it out. This really puzzles me...but I see how dark the background is behind the flowers and leaves and I see how warm those leaves are (I need more warms to bring that forward!). Will take the misket off, darken some more, and see what happens. I'm not having much hope for this one. Why is is so hard to do this little painting?

Well, when in doubt just crop it out!! This little painting just got smaller - I cropped off the top, some of the bottom and some of both sides - it's getting to be postcard sized! And it looks better online than in real life :( One more time on this and just misket the whites and nothing else - then go in loose and paint and try it that way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - Tuesday Morning Class

I started another piece of watercolor paper with gesso. I wanted to have some cools in this one so washed over the whole sheet with these colors. This is a half sheet and I didn't roll the gesso or stamp, just brushed it on with a large house-painting brush (cheap ones you get at Lowes).
Next, I took one one of Jerry's photos. I think it is a dahlia but I'm flower challenged so it may be something else.
Then I did a value study (by tracing over the photo with tracing paper and putting in the dark shapes and the midtones). I then rubbed graphite on the back of that tracing paper and traced the value study onto the paper (which, after I got started, was obviously turned around from my original photo so I had to flip the photo to be able to see the shapes right!)

Next I started "carving" out the shapes and colors I saw, spraying water where I needed to refresh the color and texture. I intend to leave the edges very open and blossomed out without any detail but still get the detail in the focal area without having too much.

Here's where I am so far...
At first I was calling it "Delicate Blossom" but now that I have the shapes in there and see the explosion of color and shapes, I'm renaming it - it is now titled "Bloom!"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007 - Ideals

"Ideals are very important in one's life. Without ideals you cannot move -- whether you achieve them or not is immaterial. But one must try and approximate them." --- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

What is your ideal? What do you want people to say about you when they are talking about you while you are out of the room? I want people to know I am honest. I want them to know I tell the truth. Sometimes people can't hear the truth - they don't want to hear it. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't tell the truth because you are afraid people will misunderstand or not hear you. Tell the truth. Even if it "rocks the boat" or even if other choose to believe an untruth. Don't tell a lie or a half-truth or insinuate something that isn't true just to cover your ego building. Telling the truth creates good karma.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sunday, September 9, 2007 - Sketching

I recently purchased Strokes of Genius: The Best of Drawing, from NorthLight Books. Inside, it has this charcoal drawing by Neilson Carlin ( The first time I saw it, it really touched me, but also made me feel sad - or maybe I already was sad and it just came to the forefront when I saw this. Anyway, it was a piece of art that brought forth a strong emotion in me.

Here is the work - it's 14" x 20" in charcoal. It's called Expulsion. I don't understand the stones in the left side but the figure itself seems to be lonely, defeated, and yes, expelled from something (or perhaps the stones have been expelled from the body). Whether she's been expelled from a group or a relationship, or is expelling something stone-like from inside her, I definitely feel this work.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007 - Figure Drawing from Tuesday Night

I only did one small figure drawing with the model Tuesday night. This one in graphite on my 9" x 12" sketchbook. This was about a 45-minute sketch. I may add a watercolor wash later to show off her red hair or put in some conte.

Emil Robinson posed the model (he is having a show in Loveland, Ohio at the William Schickel Gallery - artist reception is today from 6-9 pm). The gallery site is

While watching the US Open Men's match today, put some pastel colors on the figure drawing.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday, September 7, 2007 - Rusty Finished

Rusty done ----- >

Now hear the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, starting her song in the background...

Chain chain chainnnnnnnn
Chain chain chain.

Although you can't see it on this painting, I gessod the paper and then stamped to emboss the gesso, creating even more texture. I read about this technique of stamping into gesso in the latest Watercolor Magic magazine - an artist named Myrna Wacknov did this with portraits. She also works on something called Tygerag paper which creates great textures. Check out her site at to see her work. I might have to suggest working on Tygerag paper in class sometime :)

And while this one was drying, I misketed the whites and pale colors in the morning glories painting (a small one - about 1/8 sheet) so I can go in with lush darks without worrying about losing the whites. Will start painting it next.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007 - More Gessoed Work

Just a bit more tweaking and this one will be done (that large splotch of yellow in the lower middle is still wet and I'll tone that down. Need darker darks in the bottom part, too. Almost done...

Also finished the yupo painting of George (just 2 little changes you probably can't even tell I did but Sandy suggested) and spray sealed it with Acrylic spray so no more working on this one - done and ready to sign.

After the Rusted painting is done, I'll start carving out the shapes on this 1/2 sheet gessoed paper. Nothing but the first washes of color on this one and did this one in cools. The photo is by my husband, Jerry Carpenter.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 - Painting on Gesso

In class Tuesday morning we worked on gessoed paper to create a watercolor painting with some great texture effects. Here's how it's done:

1. Prepare a piece (or 2) of watercolor paper by slathering white acrylic gesso on it

2. Let the paper dry completely

3. Choose your colors (warm or cool dominant) and paint an all-over medium value

4. Let that dry

5. Sketch what you are going to paint over the painted paper - with a graphite pencil

6. Begin putting in all your darkest values, cutting out the shapes

7. Lift the whites from the paper - gessoed paper lifts back to white easily IF you don't use staining colors

Voila! After you gesso you paper, you can stamp into it to get more texture using little rubber stamps - I used a small leaf stamp for mine and then rolled the gesso out a bit to smooth it so it felt very leathery when I was working on it. You don't have to know what you're going to paint before you gesso, but if you do, you can choose colors accordingly and even texture by brushstrokes, etc. Here's the painting and the photo I was using as reference (taken by my husband, Jerry Carpenter).

"Genuine compassion involves analyzing the situation regardless of whether the person is close or not." --- H.H. the Dalai Lama

Monday, September 3, 2007

Monday, September 3 - Morning Glories Again

I really ruined the morning glories painting I was working on. The background was too dark and I made it without any spaces in the darkness. So after working on it for about 1/2 hour and it getting worse and worse, I just tore it up and threw it away. I started again with a value study to see the darks - the thing about this photo is the darks so have to get them right. Maybe this one will work out...

This is a tracing over the photo and then I'll transfer this to the wc paper tomorrow in class and start.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday, September 2, 2007 - George Finished

Added his eyes and a touch here and there to clean up the background. Done! The bottom is a bit dark (that's from the lighting, not the actual look of the painting). Such a handsome little froggie, eh?

Time to move on to something else now - ruined the morning glory painting or will have to do something major to make it maybe a redo on that, too. I was trying to get the dark background a bit mottled and let some areas dry too much before spraying them with water (for the mottling). I could do a small one again and try to keep it high key next time...

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saturday, September 1, 2007 - George Do-Over + Morning Glories

Got around to starting George the Red-eyed tree frog again today. Changed the background so I can work with it more. I think this looks better. Just need to add the eyes and maybe a bit of something behind the leaves - but not sure.Also started this small painting of morning glories while waiting for bits of George to dry enough to go back into them. It's from a photo I took on the deck this morning. It's just in the first stages, as you can see...