Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lifted the Leaves for the Pears

I took a sheet of acetate/plastic and traced around some of the leaves. Then cut them out and, using an elephant sponge, lifted them off the background.

Better? Not? What else would you do?

And our 4 eggs in a nest are the eggs of a cardinal!! And they are hatching - 2 eggs and 2 babies in the nest now and mother cardinal sitting patiently, while father cardinal is sitting on the lightpost close by, PEEP PEEP PEEPing to all the world - guess he's saying, "I'm a new daddy!"

Signs of Spring

At the left side of our front door (as you're going out) is a rather awkward looking yew shrub. Each time we go in or out of the front door, a little bird flies out of the yew and to the edge of the yard where we can't see it. We kept saying, "This is not a good place to try to build a nest."
I took a closer look today and, well, it's too late - not only a nest built in it but 4 tiny speckled eggs! I assume it's a sparrow of some kind but haven't caught mama on the nest yet to get a good look at her. There is something so precious about this fight for survival and replication all the birds have right now.

Now I need to get back to painting while I have some time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Next Step in Poured Painting No. 1 - After Class Monday

And this is what I came home with after class Monday:

There is still more painting to do but it's looking like it should, after much thinking thinking thinking from 10 am - 2:30 pm class (while trying to ignore another migraine, I might add - which isn't easy!)

I might get some painting done today but have our 20th SWAP to get together: making sure I have everyone's address, making sure I know who is going to participate in this SWAP, putting the names in my hat and pulling them out, checking that someone doesn't get the same name they have already gotten in the past, sending out individual emails with partner/mailing information, etc. etc. etc. - whew!!
I also have to run some extra postcards to Ft. Thomas (thanks, Carol and Carl for agreeing to do this), so they can be taken to Evergreen on Thursday for the hanging and those Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society members who did not pick up postcards at the last meeting can still pick up a few when they drop off their paintings. I won't be in the show (can't be at the hanging or the reception due to a short travel trip planned with Jerry's brothers and sisters). But I do hope you check out the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society show that will begin with an artist's reception on Sunday, May 4th from noon - 4 pm. The show runs from May 4 - June 15 so stop by and see the work - you'll be glad you did. It's our annual Colorburst @ Evergreen show and it's always a great day when you can view this many lovely watercolor and watermedia paintings in one gorgeous setting (the Evergreen Retirement Center on Galbraith Road in Cincinnati).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Next Step in Poured Painting No. 1 - Before Class Monday

After you get the misket poured, and the 3 colors you want poured and the misket removed, you choose a photo you want to represent. And draw it onto tracing paper that is laid over the poured painting (so you can see the lights and mediums and darks). Then you trace that onto your wc paper and start painting!

This stage was done before class Monday morning:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday's Open Figure Drawing

Well, I remembered that our sessions begin at 9am, not 10am, and got there in plenty of time and still stopped for my Starbucks :) Although Starbucks was very busy this morning and the baristas weren't singing or laughing - too busy trying to keep up with all the orders!

Here is the sketch for today - a model I enjoy drawing. She has wonderfully curly hair and a pale streak in it and lovely shaped lips and a round body that is fun to draw.

The lighting was such that it created some interesting shadows, too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Pear Shaped Design - Pushing Back the Background + More Pouring

I pushed back some of the color blocks with blue-greys but still didn't like it. So I took a mixture of Hematite and Moonglow (Daniel Smith colors) and picked out a few blocks here and there and did more. Too much? Too little? Comments on this are very welcome as I'm feeling my way around. The dark blocks look darker in person but you can still see some of the original color coming through the dark mix, too, which I like. I left the blues alone.

Then I poured some more color on the first poured painting I began and poured blue (cobalt) onto the second poured painting. The first one has the misket removed - so it's ready for me to choose a photo to draw out and trace onto the painting (I'm thinking of the huge live oak tree with spanish moss on it we saw in Florida).

The second one still has the misket on but it's ready for that to be removed and a photo chosen for this one, too (I'm thinking pelicans under a wharf all bunched up and overlapping - photos Jerry took on a previous trip to Florida).

Pear Shaped Design

While waiting for the misket and paint to dry on the poured paintings from yesterday and class Monday, I started this pear painting. Worked on it more, putting a grid behind the pears and leaves. They need to be pushed back and I'm thinking of making the grid even darker as I push them back with some dark blues.

What do you think?

The British will say something "has gone pear-shaped," meaning it's not turned out well. I think, right now, this is a pear shaped design but it can be saved - I hope!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

More Pouring and Pears

I removed the misket from the first poured painting and remisketed, getting some areas covered again and some new areas covered with the second pouring of the misket.

Now it has to dry and I will reapply some more color, I think, perhaps some more red and blue. I used New Gamboge, Permanent Red Deep and French Ultramarine Blue on this one.

On the second poured painting I am working more on glazing so the misket dried, I poured the yellow (New Gamboge) paint thinned with water and let that dry completely and then poured the red (Rhodonite Genuine) and let that dry. I will pour the blue (Cobalt) next. Already this is a much prettier, lighter color mix.

Here are the jars I'm using to mix the paint and water to pour on the paper. Remember, you pour the misket on DRY paper but you prewet (spritz well with a spray bottle) the paper before you pour the colors (something I often forget). If you use baby food jars, you won't feel like your wasting good paint when you're done because you can just cap them and keep them for a while.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Amy's Onions + Class Work

Yesterday was the first day I'd been back to watercolor class this month - it felt odd - but maybe that's because I started the morning with a migraine. I was NOT going to miss class, though, so I just soldiered onward.

We worked on our own things (so I finished Amy's Onions - with a bit of darks and a background and some drizzle) at first, while we waited for an order of hotpress crescent board to arrive - but it never came - so we started the Stephen Blackburn-style project of poured painting on coldpress 300# Arches (I had some with me and others bought some or waited until they got home to start their project).

Here's how it goes: First, you pour misket (any misket works but the grey Pebeo drawing gum works the best at thinning and drizzling) on your dry paper with a pipette. Quickly, with a spray bottle, spritz the misket so it moves and creates drizzles that look like tree limbs moving up and around the whole paper. Then that has to dry completely. This will be your pure whites so you don't want too much or too little - be Goldilocks and find what's just right. Since I could tell Sandy thought my first one was too much, I did a second and was lighter with the misket.

After this step dries, you can (#1) take the misket off and reapply misket in the same and different patterns or with (#2) you pour on a second color. It helps to pour your yellows first, then your reds or blues so you get clean glazing.

And of course I couldn't just do this - had to start another project while waiting for things to dry. So back to pears and a grid design behind them. So 3 things to work on later this week.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Birthday Cards

No painting yesterday or today but did make up 5 birthday cards for all the birthday people coming over this evening. Jenny, my step-daughter, got the best one of the pears - and a new breadmaker, which she asked for, and a little cash to spend as she pleases (probably on shoes - or garden stuff :)

Now I've got to cook - something I never feel comfortable doing because I don't really do it enough to get good at it and am always sure some disaster is going to happen (things not done, not hot in the middle, too runny, too something!). But you can't share birthday hosting with 4 other couples who all cook and have good stuff (like homemade lasagna) and then just order pizza when it's your turn...or can you?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Saturday Open Figure Session

Well, I stopped by Starbucks on my way to the open figure session today - first time I've been able to attend since the new sessions began April 5th. Thought I had plenty of time to maybe set up and get some warm-ups done before anyone else got there. I walked into the room and there were 1/2 dozen artists all set up and drawing and the model was posed!


Since there was only 1 person I recognized from any of the previous sessions (thanks, Kurt!), I went over and whispered, "Why is everyone here so early?" He then told me we start at 9 am now - not 10 am!

Oh, well! I chose an open seat and easel and got to work quick!

Graphite and then some charcoal. And I didn't do any measuring, just sight drawing everything. I really liked the pose he was in - we had a fill-in moderator today (Constance) who also teaches some of the foundational drawing classes. I thought she had posed and backlit him well (even if my seat was positioned in such a way that I was looking into the light).

I'll remember next week to get up and out of the house earlier :) but I'm not giving up my stop for Starbucks!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rusty Onions :)

I did get permission from Amy Palko to use her photo for my painting of the onions as my Rusty Things project for my group :) Thank you, Amy!

Here is what I have so far...first washes and second. Am I done? Do I need to add more? What do you think?

And I think I am done with the Rusty Pot painting we all are doing at WatercolorWorkshop. I wanted to give the background some color but keep it light. I think seeing it like this, it needs a bit darker shadow shapes to give it more pop?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rusty Things

Since the monthly project at WatercolorWorkshop is Rusty Things and the photo to use is a rusted pot, I'm using my bosc pear (I put a bit more orange-rust color on it but just a bit) and started the rusted pot again on watercolor paper with my paints at home - much better :) Since I don't know where the photo came from, I can't give anyone credit (I searched WetCanvas but didn't see any photo like this there so Gina - who gets the photos for us to all paint from - must have taken it from somewhere else). Since I can't give photo credit, this will just be a study for the monthly project and I won't use it for anything else (I'm not expecting it to be great, anyway but having fun with the rust and blue and wood right now).

And I've started another "rust" project for the month - some onions. The photo of the onions came from Amy Palko at Lives Less Ordinary - I have asked her permission to use her simple yet beautiful photo and will share my wc of it if she grants permission to show it here. Here is her photo - and you'd do well to visit her blog for the fantastic photos there and the good reading (

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Slide Show of Ormond Beach Scenes

Here are more photos from my trip. The Fairchild Oak is huge - so massive that when you walk up to it you have a true feeling of awe. Not what that word has come to mean but the true meaning. You get a catch in your throat and you stop breathing for just a moment as you understand the age of this beautiful living thing.

Some of the photos are from the Ormond Beach Art Museum and Gardens. A lovely little forested and little lizard-filled (so cute!) area that has great trees, flowers and even a waterfall.

And of course, the egrets bobbing in display - a few males still hadn't paired up (and it may be too late for those johnny-come-latelys) and they were giving it their all, bobbing and stretching and fluffing out their feathers to attract a female. (My photos are just point and shoot and I wish I could show you Jerry's - which are fantastic, as usual! - but since I don't know which ones he may use in competition, I'll have to wait on that).

Enjoy my little pics while I do some serious housecleaning today and I hope to take a break sometime and get a little painting done just to feel more at home and back in the groove.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Artist Needs Her Eyes

I haven't caught up from vacation yet so nothing much to post but these 3 little things I did in my sketchbook while in Ormond Beach. I was sure I did more drawing and painting - but maybe I just worked these 3 to death!

The last little watercolor sketch is the monthly group project from the same photo we are doing at Watercolor Workshop. I only had my graphitint pencils in limited colors and a sample set of Sennelier watercolors in only 6 colors so didn't get a good mix of colors in this one, but it's just a little something and I'll redo it in a real painting later this month.

I don't know who took the photo we're using - one of our mods, Gina, chose it and I have to ask her if it's from WetCanvas or not.

So why the title about eyes? I had an emergency eye appointment today after having some strange things in my left eye while away from home. I was sure it was the start or the actual fact of a detached retina and I was horrified at the thought that I could lose the sight in my left eye - and went around with my left eye closed seeing what my world would be like = not quite right. But the doc said it was just OLD AGE EYES = vitreal degeneration where the liquid in your eye turns from a watery juicy nice moisture to something more like hair gel and you get floaters and clouds and all kinds of interesting things in your eyes when you're trying to watch t.v. or the computer screen. Nothing to do - a fact of aging. Crap! One more thing that's turning to crap on my 51-year-old body. But I can still paint so that's enough complaining, right?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Photos from Ormond Beach, Florida

Just a few photos while I'm sorting and resizing and deciding which ones to choose to paint! This first was the view from our diningroom table - each meal was spent sitting and watching the waves roll in. The first few days were windy and chilly and wet but by Wednesday the sun broke through and stayed.

The beach was a cinnamon color but soft sand and easy walking. The water was a bit nippy over your feet (I did not go into the water).

Squadrons of pelicans flew over every day, north and then south, but I could never get a great photo of them.

And the main reason we go to that area of Florida is to visit the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine to see the nesting birds. They have great white egrets, snowy egrets, tricolor herons, little blue herons, wood storks, and other birds, all preening and building nests and watching over eggs and feeding squawking babies. It's quite a sight!

And the Alligator Farm is named for the dozens of species of alligators that call the place home. And the number of alligators in the water and on land underneath all the trees are why the birds nest and raise their young there. Why? The gators keep out all other predators and the gators often get a snack in return (yes, the birds often lose a chick in nature's way: they often have 2-3 chicks and the weakest one will be tossed out so the strongest survive and grow).

Ok, back to laundry....

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lots of Photos and Some Artwork to Come...

Just got back from a wonderfully relaxing time spent in Ormond Beach, Florida. I'll have some artwork done in my sketchbook and some photos taken when I recuperate from the travel time and catching up with emails, snail mail, phone calls, etc.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Familiar Face...

I opened up my latest copy of The Artist's Magazine and saw - Myrna Wacknov!! She won The Artist's Magazine 30-minute self portrait challenge and had her painting featured.

With all that she's doing and winning one of the top awards at the American Watercolor Society this year, I think 2008 is going to be Myrna's year! It couldn't happen to a nicer person :) Check out Myrna's blog (see my sidebar for the URL) to see what she's up to now.

I won't be posting again until next week - so see you then...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Bosc and Blush Pears Underpainting Plus

I think these are going to turn out much better with this grey mixture than the previous plus I was less heavy-handed with the underpainting this time - see, you can teach an old dog a new trick! haha

Just for fun, I'm using paints I would normally NOT use because they are fugitive - but I bought them when I didn't know any better and for studies they will do. It might be interesting to put these in a window when done to see just how much they do change over time, too. (The colors are Aureolin and Rose Madder Genuine mostly on the blush pears).

Sorry, Susan, but I had already put some color on the pears before I read your suggestion to darken the bottoms - so I'll darken with color later. I'm hoping to get more done on these today.

Next layers....