Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mary's Painting of Me!

As my friend, Mary, said, "Turn about is fair play." So she painted me - and called is PixieRhonda from the expression on my face. She didn't try the glasses as they would have given her fits BUT this is her very first portrait and I think she did a fantastic job. It does look like me, minus the lines and wrinkles and other gifts of aging :)

Thanks, Mary!!!

And I got my latest The Artist's Magazine today and who is featured with a nice article and painting? Our own inspiration and challenge-inspiring Myrna Wacknov! If you get it, this article is titled "21 Artists Over 60" and it's about those who are still producing great artwork in their 60's like Myrna - and on into their 70's and 80's.

Check out Myrna's blog and join us in her monthly challenges (see sidebar for her site).

Myrna, you rock!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Figure Work - Life Drawing Class

These 2 figure drawings were done in Life Drawing class today - there were twice as many students today as there were the first day last Wednesday and it was a bit crowded. I have to get there earlier to get a good spot next time. Our model was Dexter and he models for the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Manifest Gallery open figure sessions and others, I'm sure. He has a body-builder's body.

I did better on the first version (with Carin helping me get the ankle and foot right) than the second version which drove me nuts on capturing the leg that was in the air. Plus, he was lying down and dozing and kept moving just a bit here and there and especially that leg so each time I looked at it, it looked different! Something you have to get used to with a live model trying to hold a pose for 2 hours, I guess.

If you are offended by nude male anatomy, don't look further...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Class Work - Shape/Cruciform/Cerulean Blue

Well, no one but Ritzy understood the instructions Sandy gave us were to paint the thing before coming to class so we all came with work-ups of the painting but nothing started. I had my value scale and then the cruciform shape set out in darks and then the photo traced on the wc paper. So...laying in the unifying color (Cerulean Blue)thoughout a lot of the painting, I waited for that to dry and then put in the darks using a mix of Quin Magenta, Quin Burnt Orange, Indanthrone Blue and Ultramarine Turquoise. Put my cruciform shape in with those colors very dark.
Then all I had to do was keep the whites and bring in the mid-values and colors.

Sandy said she was proud of me for sitting and thinking long and not rushing in - but really I was just too tired to paint today so was resting :) Thanks to everyone who helped me work this one out and gave good critiques in class!

Now, time for a nap!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Facing Fifty-One

Here's the start of the self-portrait I'm calling Facing Fifty-One. I've got a long way to go with this and probably won't get anything more done today. I want it to be colorful but muted and I want that rectangle to represent a window or a bright, warm spot I'm looking towards. What do you think?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mary's Eyes + Figure Model Saturday

My friend, Mary, said I needed to darken her eyes more - of course!! Bette Davis eyes are deep, rich, dark brown. So I did. And I intend to try another, yep, I'm enjoying this, so why not - and Mary is going to paint one of me (as she says, turn about is fair play, right?) ha ha ha. So here is Mary for now...and I'm hoping she'll let me post her painting of me when she finishes it.
And now I'm fifty-one. But it's not so bad - and, hey, it sure beats the alternative, right? :)

I'm working on a self-portait, too...don't want to rush but do want it to be loosely painted so...I need one more step and I'll be ready to share - definitely tomorrow (sorry for the delay but I've been having a birthday weekend so still having fun and sharing family time today).

I forgot to post the open figure session drawing I did Saturday, too. Here she is - a very interesting and curvy model. I enjoyed sketching her.

I've Been Tagged Again!

Pablo V Lara has tagged me - gosh, I'm just honored he even knows my work - he is a master watercolorist!! Do check out his work (see sidebar for link).

So now I must come up with 5 things about me that you don't know and list 5 other artists - easy since I now have some new faves!!

I have shrunk 1/4 of an inch, according to my last exam - or I've been telling everyone I'm 5'4" when I was really 1/4 inch shorter than that.

I will watch The English Patient and To Kill a Mockingbird every time they are on tv, I don't care if I've just seen them the previous week.

I would rather email someone than phone them - that way, they can read it and reply when they want to, not when I interrupt them on the phone.

I have one dear dear friend who I send cards and write to - yes, real pen and ink on paper writing.

My husband once bought me a very expensive Waterford fountain pen and I hardly use it but it is a work of art and I love the feel of it in my hand - but you can't carry them in your purse if you're on a plane - the pressure will cause the ink to flood out!!! But there is something romantic and womanish about a fountain pen. Ok, I guess I'm a romantic, I admit it.

And an extra, while talking about romance:
My husband can still make me laugh out loud with something surprisingly funny, and he is still the smartest person I know.

And now - please go check out these bloggers and artists and writers and photographers and other creative people (you won't be sorry):

Enjoy! Share the art!

Now I'm off to run a few short errands (I hope they are short) and then home to paint!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

All Behind Me Now!

Well, it's all behind me now...the first 50 years of my life, anyway! I found this photo taken back when I was about 30.

Twenty years ago...really?!?! Where did that time go? Where did this woman go who could fit into a size 4 skirt??!?? ha-ha

Thanks so much for all the birthday greetings and emails and thanks, too, for your continuing support in checking my work, my struggles, my trying new things, and just saying hello once in a while! I'll be busy with figure drawing and a visit to Manifest Gallery to see their new show that opened last night (I don't do openings - too many people) and lunch out and then out to buy - wait for it - buy for my very special 51st birthday - a - yes, you'll never guess - a new -

pillow! ha-ha Nothing says old and decrepit like wanting a new pillow for your birthday so your neck and head and shoulders don't ache when you get up in the morning!!

Then I'm going to do a self-portrait later today so stay tuned.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mary's Portrait - First Attempt

Well, honestly this may be the only attempt. I didn't get a good likeness, elongating her face more than it should be. But here's what I got. I need to watch Janet Rogers' dvd on portraits again and get back in the groove.

I'm planning a birthday portrait for myself, too, either this evening or tomorrow after open figure session.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Busy Day so Far...

Another day, another migraine! UGH!!! Maybe it was the change in routine as I had to do without my coffee and oatmeal this morning in order to get some bloodwork and other tests done. All seems fine and I'll know more when I get the results - it's just routine stuff. Other than legs that ache all the time, I'm doing well for an old broad! ha-ha

After the tests, I talked Jerry into driving to Norwood's Speckled Bird Cafe to see the artwork of Rebecca Weller ( there - she's doing bird motifs and still Asian-inspired work and has sold a few smaller pieces. All interesting color combinations and texture and several pieces I wish I could have. I do wish the cafe had more wall space to show more of her work. She is a wonderful artist with so much talent and style. (I had a lovely quiche and a warm and frothy cut of mocha latte surrounded by her work - yummmmm. )
I also did my regular check on the Cincinnati Enquirer artblog ( to see what's up in our area and came upon an article about Emil Robinson and his work in London - yes, he's left us for London for now. He won a nice grant that will help out immensely, I'm sure. Emil paints and draws like an angel (he was in my Tuesday night figure drawing session through Manifest Gallery). You can check out the article online - scroll down to the 2nd entry there.

If I get rid of the headache pain today, I will draw and paint. If not, I may just sit still and try to not think about it...and just look at the artwork of others.

I have begun work on the challenge Sandy has given her Tuesday class. I drew these elements out of the hat:
1. Shape
2. Cruciform
3. Cerulean Blue
So my painting has to be a cruciform structure and the painting has to be more about shape than anything else and cerulean blue has to thread throughout the painting of be glazed over or under the painting - somehow tying it all together. Many artists call this the "mother color" but I don't care for that term and just say unifying color since that explains better what it means - it unifies the painting.
Here's what I have so far:

And the drawing, ready to place color on - but not today.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Life Drawing Class - First Day

I signed up for the Life Drawing class through the Art Academy of Cincinnati. We had our first meeting today and, although I started the class (and ended it) with a migraine, I was very pleased. The instructor, Carin Hebenstreit, is a painter with a gallery/studio in the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati, and she was very helpful already. There are many of the students who have taken this class again and again from her. I would think after a time you'd have learned what you need to know and would work on your own but they may use it as a way to get experience with models they can't afford otherwise.

Anyway, she helped me sight up and measure things and see how I was elongating things (and making the head too big - yep! Sandy told me I always do this!). I'm hoping to get better under her instruction = 12 classes. Wish me luck!
Both of these are graphite pencil on Aquabee sketch paper.

As soon as I get rid of the migraine symptoms, I have homework from Sandy's class (similar to Myrna Wacknov's challenges) but I have to do a good value study first. We will be working with the same photograph each week - 3 weeks or 4 - and using different design elements and colors, etc. Here is the photo I'm going to use, taken at Shaker Village by Jerry, my in-house photographer :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My First Award - From Suzanne

Gosh, I won my first blog award. As a thank you from Suzanne McDermott of Landscape Into Art, she has given out this little award to those people who have been supporting her 3 months of daily painting by checking her blog regularly and/or buying her artwork.

First Watercolor Workshop Artist of the Year, now this! What is 2008 going to hold? Well, it's going to see me turn 51 in a few days - eeek!!! But other than that, I'm looking forward to 2008. How about you?

And now for some artwork (thanks for being patient while I get back in the groove after a short trip away). Unfortunately, there was no "saving" this painting of the mermaids from a start that was a bad compositional design. So - no more on this. I can't make myself try harder without just starting over from scratch (which I might do after a break).

And since I spent all day in class on this, trying to work it out, I didn't get anything else done so just tweaked some stuff a bit that was almost done - like the noni plant (Sandy said to mute the edges a bit so the whole green isn't too much).

That's all for today. But tomorrow I start my Life Drawing class taught by Caren Hebenstreit, and I'll let you know how that goes and may have something to share. I've needed a little instruction for quite a while on figure drawing and hope this helps me get where I'm going.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Not a Day Off - But A Day On

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.

Of course, Dr. King was talking about our spending on the Vietnam War. It has been almost 40 years since his assassination. Would he still be trying to change our thinking and encourage us to become brothers and sisters - or would he have given up? There is so much injustice and cruelty in the world today. But no more so than in past decades. It's just directed at a different "other/outsider" today.

Instead of thinking of this as just a day off - think of it as a day on. Take some time today to honor those who fight the good fight, those who see injustice and don't ignore it, who put themselves out there for others and care about this country as a nation in need of support, healing, and growth for all its members.

Just think about it for a minute or two today.

(Check out Sandy Maudlin's blog today and read her comments on this day.)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shaker Village in Kentucky

I drove down around Lexington, KY with Jerry Saturday morning to meet with several members of the TriState Photographic Society for their field trip to Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky ( It was cold cold cold! But those intrepid (or just crazy) photogs were outside and inside, snapping great photographs all day Saturday and some of Sunday before heading home. Some even were out to get the sunset last evening and sunrise this morning. It was below 0F!!!

I am not a photographer - I just snap what I see that looks good and might, someday, become a painting :) So here are a few of mine until I get something painted (after I thaw out a bit more).

One of the very plain but beautiful buildings. And some seeds and planting utensils.

A woman in traditional Shaker dress working the loom.

And a sunlit sewing room ------------------------ >

A Shaker kitchen - the little "box" is an oven and the round boxes on the table are traditional Shaker design.
The table is ready with butter churns, coffee pots and servers, all made right there in the settlement.
There are no Shakers left in Kentucky but there is still a tiny settlement hanging on in Sabbathday, Maine.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Catching Up + Little Landscape Practice

Well, I got all the emails (38 individual ones) out for the online group that shares paintings.

And I have nothing else to do but sketch or paint until I have to get ready to go see Sandy Maudlin's demo at the Cincinnati Art Club this evening (she asked me to be her dinner guest). It's going to be a great demo!

I got some new art supplies yesterday from Daniel Smith: paints, gouache, and new Multimedia Artboard.

And I had to have Perinone Orange because Suzanne of Landscape Into Art(
uses it in her landscapes and I really like her landscapes. I know, getting this color won't make me paint like her. I don't want to paint like her, I want to paint like myself. However, I would like to be able to paint a little landscape without so much effort and anxiety and overworking it. And only practice will make me be able to paint a landscape I'm not ashamed of. So...practicing...

I taped an Arches coldpress block into 4 pieces (2 are 5" x 7" and 2 are 4 1/2" x 6 1/2") and just tried to put down something using color and thinking landscape. The more I try, the better I might get, right? No photo reference, just letting the paint create a landscape.

And for those who are saying, "What the heck is Allmedia Artboard?" It is a hard board, very thin, that you paint on to get some great textures. It's not as runny and hard to manage as yupo or tygerag (Tyvek) but not as easy to work with as gessoed paper - but fun!! Here's a painting I did of a white bird of paradise on the "rough" side of the artboard (the more textured side). You should be able to click on this and get a larger version so you can see the texture and granulation that comes from painting on this surface.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bette Davis Eyes - Much Better!

I just couldn't stand the sketch I did of Mary so I did it over more carefully in my Exacompta sketchbook. I think this is much better and looks more like her - still not a perfect image but it's much closer than the first one.
And I'm blaming the Moleskine for the bad one! ha-ha

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Behind the Scenes

Strange. I've had to reject my first comment on this blog. It had nothing to do with anything posted here and was from Anonymous so what the heck? I hope it doesn't become a problem. So far, everyone has been open and are interested in the works presented here.

No artwork today - I've been working behind the scenes with another online group to get them ready for our 19th SWAP (SharingWithArtistPartners). We have a lot of newbies this time and I'm trying to keep everyone's name and address straight for the name draw.

While checking out some of my favorite blogs, I did find 2 new favorites though! Check out the work of Ronell Van Wyk at and also check out (don't know here name but she lives fairly close to me - just one state away and could be just a few miles, who knows?). I'll add them onto my faves soon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Moleskine - What's the Deal?

Well, I tried a sketch (from the PoseManiacs site) with 2B graphite in the moleskine journal. And I just don't like this slick paper at all. So - I've tried it and it's going back on the shelf to be a backup to my Exacompta.

Sorry, all those Moleskine-ites out there but this just doesn't do it for me. I like a paper with a bit of texture and toothiness. I even got out my graphite set and using my new mechanical pencil with a 4B lead + an 8B graphite pencil, I did a portrait. Better - but the 4B lead seemed to incise the paper and then the 8B over it left white lines. This is a (not very good) portrait of my artist friend, Mary. She definitely has beautiful "Bette Davis Eyes," and I was trying to capture that.
I really should be embarrassed about this sketch - I've tilted her nose straight when it should curve around and that makes the fact look odd - I couldn't draw a decent thing in open figure session Saturday, either. It's like I can't SEE anymore when it comes to faces and figures. I'm sure it will come back...won't it?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Noni Plant in Watercolor

Here's the painting - I think I may leave it white in the background but your comments are welcome. Should it remain white or blush a color over the background?

According to a search, here's what I found about noni:

Traditional uses of the noni plant are varied and virtually every part of the plant is used as some form of medicine. Healers used noni leaves as a bandage or poultice for wounds. Young, green fruits were crushed and the extracted juice was used as a remedy for lesions or sores in the mouth. Root or stem bark was typically used to treat inflammation or infections. Other conditions treated with noni include fevers, skin disease, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal upset, menstrual or urinary problems, diabetes, and venereal diseases. Research into the traditional uses of noni indicate that it was the second most popular plant used in herbal remedies with approximately 40 known and recorded formulations. Noni is included in the traditional pharmacopoeias of Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and Asian populations.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Noni Plant from Belize

WatercolorWorkshop is having an open January project. Y can paint any medicinal plant. I chose this noni plant we saw when Jerry and I took an anniversary trip to Belize in 2006. You may have heard or read about noni, which is supposed to cure cancer. It sells for ridiculous amounts of money for little bottles of the stuff. I've seen it in Hawaii and in northern Florida being sold. Apparently, the ants like the sap that comes off the bulbs very much but I don't know how healthy ants are...hmmm...

Here's the photo Jerry took - a strange looking thing.

I'm working on the painting slowly and will leave the background white a la botanical painting style and should have it finished tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

WatercolorWorkshop Artist of the Year

I can't believe I won this award - but I did. It is a yearly award that is voted on by the members of the WatercolorWorkshop yahoo group. I was in a group of 7 who were nominated for it and any one of them are deserving for their work on their art. I am now in some fine company, including Gina Hall, Mohan Man, Susan Roper and Jane James, who have been previous winners (see sidebar for their sites/blogs).

You can see the very colorful spread our List-Mom, Susie Short, created by going here

Please feel free to comment on the guestbook, if you choose. I'm hearing from people I hadn't heard from in years - hi Natasha!!! :)

Now after that puffery, I hate to post this mess! ha-ha But I will...

Mermaids reworked but not much better. I still need to fill in that seaweed between the 2 mermaids - it's too pale right now.

No painting this morning - off to Open Figure Drawing through Manifest Gallery. It's been a month since we met and it will be fun to get back to it. I also signed up for a class on Figure Drawing through the Cincinnati Art Academy (their continuing ed department) that starts later this month!

(Did I mention that this painting of the mermaids is on Tyvek? The real construction type Tyvek. It works somewhat between yupo and gessoed paper.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Little Landscape - WcW Group Project + Radial Girls Finished

I've been having some internet problems connecting for a couple of days now so I'm posting early while my connection is working. Hopefully, my ISP will solve the problem (they admit they have today) they said wasn't their problem 2 days ago. Since when did it become standard operating procedure to "first deny any fault" in all areas of life?
Here's the start of the group project (a landscape) at WatercolorWorkshop.

After misketing the foreground weeds, and darkening areas, here it is. I liked it better before I putzed with it. Landscapes are not my forte by any means!

And I finally went back to Radial Girls and worked on them more - working with the design and darks. I think it's finished. Comments welcome. This January challenge by Myrna is really showing up my defects as a painter! Whew! Well, maybe it's not defects as a painter but defects as a planner?? Yep, I have to admit it. I jump in all excited and ready to go without thinking about where it's going to end up. You'd think, after 5 year's of painting this way I would learn to slow down and think more. Must be a defect in my system somewhere - need a major overhaul! ha-ha

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Which Creature Are You? I Think I'm an Otter...

My teacher and friend, Sandy Maudlin, sent me this today:

So which creature are you?
If at first you don't succeed ... ask yourself, Am I an otter? A squirrel? A mouse? The answer could spell the difference between things going swimmingly and squeaking to a halt. Find your own winning style.
Does your style resemble an otter, mole, squirrel or a mouse?

(From Kathy Kolbe, a specialist on the instinctive patterns that shape human action.) Kathy's father pioneered many standardized intelligence tests, but Kathy was born with severe dyslexia, which meant that this obviously bright little girl didn't learn in a typical way. She grew up determined to understand and defend the different ways in which people go about solving problems. Kathy often wears a T-shirt that says "do nothing when nothing works", a motto that typifies her approach.

"There are four basic action modes: 1) The Quick Start - when you want to learn, you just jump in and start messing around."

"2) The Fact Finder: before you start a task, you need to know all about it. You need to go through the instructions and analyze them for flaws, then get more information to fill in the gaps."

"There are two other typical patterns," Kathy explained. "3) Implementors -- like Thomas Edison, for example -- need physical objects to work with. They figure out things by building models or doing concrete tasks. Then there are 4) The Follow Thrus. They set up orderly systems, like the Dewey decimal system or a school curriculum."

To identify your own action-mode profile, you can take a formal online test (the Kolbe Index at; there is a charge), or just observe your own approach to getting something done. To give you an example, people with different profiles might respond to a challenge -- let's say, learning to crochet -- in the following ways:

• Quick Start (Otter): If you're a Quick Start Otter who wants to crochet, you'll probably buy some yarn and a hook, get a few tips from an experienced crochetmeister, and jump right into trial and error.

• Fact Finder (Mole): You'll spend hours reading, watching, asking questions, and learning about crocheting before actually beginning to use the tools.

• Implementor (Squirrel): You pay less attention to words than to concrete objects, so you might draw a pattern of a crochet stitch or even create a large model using thick rope, before you go near a needle.

• Follow Thru (Mouse): You'll likely schedule a lesson with a crochet teacher or buy a book that proceeds through a yarn curriculum, learning new stitches in order of difficulty.

None of these approaches is right or wrong. They can all succeed brilliantly. But someone who's programmed to use one style will feel awkward and discouraged trying to follow another. We can all master each style if we have to, the way a mole can swim or an otter can climb trees, but it's not a best-case scenario.

Once you know your instinctive style, brainstorm ways to make it work for you, not against you. Play to your strengths. To really boost your sense of self-efficacy, think of ways you could modify your usual tasks to suit your personal style.

This is the very best way to leverage an understanding of conative style -- to create useful, complementary strategies instead of disheartening, competitive ones. Many of us have spent a lifetime trying to be what we're not, feeling lousy about ourselves when we fail and sometimes even when we succeed. We hide our differences when, by accepting and celebrating them, we could collaborate to make every effort more exciting, productive, enjoyable, and powerful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday's Class - Mermaids

Even though I didn't finish the first January challenge painting, I started a second (because today in class we painted on tyvek - the actual stuff from a construction site that a student's husband "borrowed" for us). It wouldn't take the paint at first and then Sandy tried putting down a thinned layer of acrylic matt medium first. Then it worked fine.

I knew this time I had to work with 1) Vertical + 2) Value + 3) Permanent Alizarin Crimson and it was difficult to get this to work - kept fiddling and it's still not right. Sandy says the mermaid in the bottom part is too much a right angle and it stops or cuts the flow there. Cropping it at a severe angle might help but I may just have to start over on this - or consider it a learning experience and move on. I should have thought out the composition more and spent less time painting and trying to get it to work :(

Oh, well...I still have to finish that little landscape painting, too. And after 4 hours working on this mermaid painting, I'm mentally exhausted and need a nap!

Sandy commented that I cut off too much on the left side on the previous showing of the painting - and she's right (I was trying to tilt it to crop it and did too much, I think).

So here's the original - see the white line through the left side? Well, I'm not going to tell you what I did when I got home but needless to say I have to redo this one or toss it now...I shouldn't make decisions when I'm tired and hungry. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow...

Monday, January 7, 2008

No Painting - In a Reading Mood

Well, I didn't paint anything Sunday and just did a small start of a painting from a WatercolorWorkshop group painting of a landscape. It needs some work to finish it up and then I'll share. Here's the photo we are all working from...
I've been reading.
I wanted to read Atonement by Ian McEwan. The movie is being touted as the greatest love story since The English Patient, and that's saying a lot. For me, I found it lacking. I actually found myself quickly skimming over parts and it took an interminably long time get to the action for which Briony must atone. Perhaps the movie will be better. And I'm not giving away the secret - just in case you want to read the book or see the movie without having the story spoiled :)

I'm already 1/2 way through another book called Obsessed by Ted Dekker. It moves along well and is a mystery surrounding the Holocaust and the stones of David (the stones he gathered to use to slay Goliath). Interesting and fast moving so far. Maybe I needed that after the slow-moving Atonement.
What are some of your favorite reads?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Radial Girls - Redo

I just wasn't happy with the first start - didn't think the leaves fit or did anything for the composition so I just wiped them out (didn't know how easy it would be but, apparently, paint over texture medium wipes out easily!). And then went for my original idea - the dark hair and tying the figures together with that.

It's not finished yet - things to do but not sure what or where - and some more shaping of the bodies a bit. Wondering about still tying things in with some line work in that star shape? Will think about it.

Today has been a busy day. A few photo members came by at 10 for a mini-workshop Jerry was giving. Then we visited one of Jerry's former students this evening who is in from Oregon. (We were awakened this morning at 4am by the neighbor's car alarm going off. Turns out, it was deer setting it off! They were in our back and side yards. He's a hunter so they were probably trying to steal his truck as payback! :)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Radial Girls - Where Am I Going With This??

I'm not sure where I'm going with this and probably needed to do more sketching in designs before I put this one down on the wc paper...but couldn't wait, of course! Jumped right in. I worked in graphite, adding more shadows to the main figures, and traced them down over a star shape that is supposed to show you the sweet spots in a painting if you put things on the correct axes.

I chose these colors:

1) My "mother color" that was picked blindly from the hat = Natural Amiata Sienna
2) Cobalt Teal Blue
3) Rhodonite Genuine
I plan to use RG more often this year and might as well start now.

I didn't want it to be just the girls - so added some leaves (the same leaf traced over and over around the center ladies). And I also put down texture medium in the background (not all over but in most areas) so the paint on the leaves shows that texture. I didn't put any on the girls but wherever there was a strong highlight, I took a white china marker and colored that white in - it will add more texture, because it resists the watercolor paint.

So this is where I am right now. I'm thinking the leaf shapes may not work - but I can push them into the background as I move along. I just thought of something else entirely to do for this project using these guidelines and I may end up going there instead - we'll see! ha-ha So far I just have the body color on the girls (no hair or shadows that will tie them together more). The leaves are filled in a bit with color. I'm thinking about those lines (that are in the star shape) - should I use them or not? So much to think about!!! I do have the Natural Amiata Sienna in the girls and the leaves but nothing in the background yet. It should be fun to play with the bg, though, since it's almost all covered with texture medium.
Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 3, 2008

January Challenge from Myrna - Radial Girls, Step 1

Well, she has given us another interesting and growth-producing (I hope) challenge! Who? Why Myrna Wacknov (, of course! This time, we choose our subject matter first. Then 1) choose one of the 7 elements of design. What are they? They are 1. Line 2. Shape 3. Size 4. Direction 5. Color 6. Value and 7. Texture

Well, then you choose a composition/format from the list of:

1. Horizontal 2. Vertical 3. Pyramidal 4. Checkerboard 5. Asymmetrical
6. Staggered 7. Frame in Frame 8. Cruciform 9. Cantilevered
10. Radial 11. Floating
Whew! That's a lot of compositional styles to choose from but you can learn more about them all in the book by Marianne Brown titled "Watercolor by Design." Now how
did Myrna know I had this book?!?

So is that all? Nope! Not yet.
Next you choose one color to be a "mother color" a la Stephen Quiller - a color that touches each area of the painting in some way or blends in some way or influences all of the painting in some way to being harmony to the painting.

So I have my subject chosen - a nude figure from my new Virtual Pose cd - I didn't limit myself to one pose but left that open.

Then I pulled the Design Elements and the Compositions/Formats from the box, blindly (after printing out the list and putting them in 2 separate boxes for drawing).

And then I used the last of the watercolor titles I had left in the hat from December's challenge - and pulled 1 for the mother color.

And what did I get?

1. Image : Nude Figure

2. Design Element : Texture

3. Composition: Radial

4. Mother Color: Monte Amiata Natural Sienna (no, I did not buy this color, it was a freebie from Daniel Smith when I bought a lot of other colors!)

I thought, okay, not bad but how does one make a nude figure radial? Thinking some and in my limited way thinking about radial designs from the center outward and came up with this as a starting point: Radial Girls - step 1

Now to see where it goes from here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Colorful Drawings in My Moleskine

The Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting is cancelled this morning due to the horrid cold and just enough snow on the roads to make driving in Mt. Adams treacherous - so I'll be home again (I'm beginning to feel like a bear hibernating!) and may start Myrna's January challenge.

I'm still studying 2 of my newest art books and getting lots of ideas while reading, absorbing new information, and then sketching in my Moleskine when I want a break. The Moleskine has very smooth paper and so far I've just sketched in graphite and then gone over it with the Elegant Writer pens (the bright, vibrant colors) and the Inktense pencils (a bit more muted). I put a bit of water on the heart lock to blend the color more and the EW's wet and blend well. The paper won't take a lot of water but a nice wash works okay. Now I need to get in with the graphite or conte sticks and blending to see how it goes. So far, so good - plus it's lighter weight and thinner than my Exacompta so fits in my purse easier (I have a big purse!).
What I've done so far:
1) From a photo taken by Jerry in Scotland - a blue lock that was rusted and interesting and shaped like a heart. I love that photo and wanted to try a sketch of it and see if I could get the color and texture.

2) A sketch of a field of lavender (took a photo of the scene from the movie, Perfume) + the flat plate and candles (apple and blueberry) I bought my sister-in-law for Christmas (I liked it so much I almost kept it but didn't - but I did take a photo before wrapping it).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Best of 2007 - Cool

Can't do warms without including the cools. Here are 7 "best of" paintings I did in 2007, all in cool colors.

Happy 2008!!!

Best of 2007 - Warm

I picked 7 paintings I did in 2007. These are all done with warm tones. I prefer cool colors but often end up doing warms, starting with a yellow underpainting to give it a glow.