Monday, June 30, 2008

Return to Minerva - Design Elements

While working on this painting, I was constantly thinking about colors, warmth vs coolness, and size of shapes as well as whites, darks and mid-tones. I don't know why I was thinking so much - maybe it was because it was more abstracted than a regular painting; maybe because I was painting nothing but shapes with a figure worked inside/around them. Anyway, this was the first time I just automatically thought that way. I think it means I'm finally "becoming" an "artist," or at least I'm thinking like one :) But I also was getting tired and should have quit before I did - so there are still some things that need to be worked on before it can be called done. I'm thinking of using some opaque colors now and maybe using more calligraphy lines and stamping to finish it off.

I'll take it back to class tomorrow and try to finish it off with some strong lines and more "intention" behind the shapes.

The latest Watercolor Artist magazine has a great article about artist, Cathy Hegman, who paints on gessoed gatorboard and hardboard as well as illustration board. She creates some gorgeous, colorful, textured watercolor and gouache paintings. Check out the August 2008 issue if you can get a copy! She starts the article with these words:

"In every good painting, the artist leaves bread crumbs for the viewer to follow. Personal content, characteristic brushwork or individual marks and symbols provide evidence of the journey the artist took to get to the finished piece."

I like that image - but so far my bread crumbs got mushed up somewhere in this painting - or maybe I got hungry and ate too many of them!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday SALE: Ornate Horned Frog Photo by Jerry Carpenter

My husband, Jerry, has become an outstanding and very prolific photographer since he retired from Northern Kentucky University's Biology Department several years ago. He really enjoys photographing all types of things, especially critters. This critter is just one of many photos he took for an assignment to photograph the specimens in the Newport Aquarium's new Frog Bog. You can see his photos all throughout the Frog Bog at the Aquarium, as well as in their print advertising, including several billboards throughout the Ohio area.

This Ornate Horned Frog lives at the Newport Aquarium in Newport, Kentucky. This species is native to Argentina. They are nicknamed Pac-Man Frogs because of their huge mouths. Fortunately they breed well in captivity, and now there are several color variations, including this albino. Jerry shot this photo with his Nikon D70s. The photo won 1st place at Tri-State Photographic Society’s meeting on June 20.

Photo mailed Priority Mail with Guaranteed Delivery Confirmation within the US. Size = 8 ½” x 11” unmatted and unframed, but can be framed in a standard 8” x 10” frame.


If you're interested in bringing this cute fellow to your home, just click on the BUY NOW button, which will take you to PayPal where you can pay through a PayPal account. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can pay by credit card. Just follow the instructions after you click the button.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Open Figure Session Sketches

Today I went back to Saturday sessions with a live model through Manifest Gallery and their open figure sessions. It's been a while since I was able to attend regularly. It will be good to get back in the groove.

We had a new model today and she was good. I know it had to be rough sitting on that hard stool and balancing on the other - she didn't fall asleep or waver much at all. It was hard for me to draw just the shadow shapes of her face, it was tilted down and so much in shadow.

She held the pose for 20 minutes and then a 5 minute rest and another 20 minutes. I moved to get the second sketch from another angle.

Friday, June 27, 2008


I added more to the watercolor and collage of the cordyline. Not sure what else it needs to I'll let it sit for a day or so and go back to it and look with fresh eyes.

Working on the watercolor and collage made me want to go back to the 1/4 sheet watercolor I left unfinished and try to finish it up. I think it's done. But will let it sit a day or two, also, and see if I think it needs more work. I don't want the background to be dark throughout but I do want some darks there...don't know why greens are so difficult for me.

Which one do you like the best?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Marigold Growing

I can't grow flowers.
I can grow plants.
I can grow flowering plants that refuse to bloom.
So I stick with things that are simple, like the clematis around the lamp post and the mailbox and the trellis; like the marigolds replanted every spring. But this hardy thing came up without any help from its own reseeding pod heads from last year = bonus!

Jerry took the photo, of course. Isn't it great to see the beauty in small things?

Now I must get busy with something creative - not sitting in front of the t.v. watching Wimbledon or reading another Brit mystery.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cordyline Collage

Remember the really bad painting I did and then washed it all down to just a ghost image? Well, I've decided what the heck, I'm going to collage bits on it and see if it comes together any better.

This is what I have so far. I have more to do - have to repeat that dark red wrap paper in a couple other places and maybe some whites here and there with rice paper. I pulled out plenty of little bits and pieces and odds and ends for this one.

What do you think? Keep going or don't waste your time on this one?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

In Class: Translucent Yupo/Minerva + Finished Lizard Ladies

I worked a bit more on the Lizard Ladies at the Spa, after some more critique in class about what to push back, what to bring forward, and little odds and ends to change, rework, etc.

Still just a fun thing - nothing to hang on the wall - unless maybe it's a kid's room?

Then I picked up the piece of translucent yupo and put my drawing underneath I had prepared a la Carla O'Connor style - traced it with an Inktense watercolor pencil and went right to painting.

This one seemed to paint itself. I was in the zone. It flowed. I thought about where to put certain colors. There are still things I will tweak about it and change. But so far a pretty good effort for today, I think. (I love creating texture on yupo!)

Minerva, Queen of the Mermaids.

(Comments always welcome - what would you do to this to finish it off?)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thinking About Peaches - UFO Peaches!

There are these small, flattened, white peaches at the grocery. They are sweet and delicious. The other kinds are hard and so unpeachlike (is that a word) that they may as well be hydroponic tomatoes (horrid!!!).
So I buy these small ones.

The monthly project for WatercolorWorkshop is still Fruits and Veggies.
So I'm thinking about peaches.

What do you think of these shots?

Which one would make the best painting? to mix some warm yellows and oranges and try to paint fuzzy :)
Oh, and whatever else you do today, don't forget to have a few fantastic moments in there somewhere!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday SALE - Sweet Peony

This will be my first time putting a painting up for sale on my blog. I will do this, one painting at a time, and only on Sundays, and you can pay through my PayPal account by clicking on the PayPal BUY NOW button at the end.

Today's painting: Sweet Peony
Painted with Daniel Smith transparent watercolors on Arches 140# hotpress paper.
It has been painted from edge to edge on 1/4 sheet = 11 1/4" x 15" and can be matted down to 10 1/4" x 14 1/4." Sold as is (the color is as close to real life as possible with a photo), unmatted and unframed.

Price = $95
Includes postage for Priority Mail and Delivery Confirmation tracking within the US, International Priority Mail outside the US.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Celebrating + Watercolor Magazine Artists

Celebrating Mom's 70th birthday this weekend so no painting.

Jerry and I have been talking about selling some work through the blog. We'll see how that works and if I can figure out the PayPal button to put in to make it easy to buy.

I just got an absolutely fantastic magazine the other day - WATERCOLOR. The paintings in it and the description of techniques, etc. are wonderful. I highly recommend you go out and buy a copy. It has a great section of Winslow Homer's paintings and technique, too, with lots of paintings shown.

And check out to see some rich, dark, luscious watercolors that are scrumptious - by Deborah L. Chabrian (her work is on the cover, too).

Angela Bradburn's fruit and landscapes - especially the macro fruit - really made me want to see how she does that - check out her work at

That should keep you busy for a while looking at some masterfully painted watercolors :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Newport Aquarium Frog Bog Trip

We visited the Aquarium's new Frog Bog - I wanted to see it once all the frogs were there and the kids were enjoying it. It is a very cool space and it wasn't too crowded when we went. The play area was busy but not overrun with kids. I did hear some "older" kids say they wanted to play in the space, too, but were too big :)

Frogs of all kinds are all over the place in aquariums fitted into the walls. You can see bullfrogs and tadpoles, too. There is a Frogger game you play by moving your feet forward, backward, sideways and there are lots of large plastic froggies to sit on for great photos of the little ones (and some big ones).

I like the artwork that was painted all over the walls, too, and had to get a photo of Jerry with George, our red-eyed tree frog!

After the Frog Bog, we walked through the Pendleton Art Gallery on the lower level of the Levee - a huge space that is a bit overwhelming, they have so many paintings on the walls. And then a stop at Graeter's on the way home to get a Frog Bog Sundae...sweet and refreshing with mint icecream and chocolate sauce...yum. Very refreshing on a hot day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What I Created in Class Tuesday

This painting is on a full sheet of yupo (the plastic "paper" that artists have been using for a while).
Sandy had us do a lot of thinking before we ever touched paint to paper: First, we needed to have a photo we wanted to paint. Then we were to draw grid lines on a piece of tracing paper (same size as the yupo). Then smaller grid lines in a smaller size box in what would be our focal area of the painting. Inside that smaller grid lined box we needed to trace what we wanted to paint. Then we had to create a "good white shape" a la John Salminen, where the whites of our painting would begin (but not necessarily end).

Then we needed to let our inner 6-year-old come out and draw on the tracing paper what we wanted the painting to say - how the subject made us feel - what to add and where, not paying attention to perspective or depth of field or anything. Painting like a Chagall.

So...I came up with this (sorry the photo doesn't show it well because it's pretty thin tracing paper pinned on my bulletin board).

I used a photo I took at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine. So....alligators but not scary, in fact, very friendly and pretty and, hey, why not lady gators having a day at the spa? So I ran with that...and came up with Lizard Ladies at the Spa.

Here's a closer view of the ladies - see how pretty they are? And their pretty bows on their tails?

I need to make some adjustments but not too many. And it was fun creating all the texture using squeegees (yep, the kind you clean your windows with), foam rollers (like you get at the paint store), stamps, and lots of granulating colors.

Sandy said mine looked like a Miles Batty. I have to look up his work and see what he does...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Monday - New Pics

Here's a couple of new pics from Jerry's photo-shoot on Saturday. I'm using one for the new blog pic of me - not too horrid. Jerry hates it if I don't smile in my photos - but how is a girl supposed to look mysterious and glamourous with a big smile and squinchy eyes??

No painting yesterday or today. Went to a family thing and visited with everyone and celebrated all the Dads in the family - then home to watch golf and see what Tiger Woods could do at the end = pretty good!! Watching Tiger today, too, off and on. Do you think he'll win again? He's got his red shirt on so how could he lose, right? Although Rocco is also fun to watch. And I don't even play golf.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday Photo Shoot :) + Summers Bounty Finished

This AM went to play "model" for my husband who went to the Cincinnati Camera Club on Vine Street. They set up for portraits and I was the only BRAVE wife who went - so it was interesting to have 1/2 dozen male photogs telling you, "turn this way, chin up a bit, eyes this way, tilt your head," etc. etc. I have never had that much attention! ha-ha There is a LOT of information to learn about doing portrait photography and lots of things to "see" to get a good shot - and when you're working with this face, well...all I can say is I was brave enough to do it but I would never be happy having snaps of me all the time - I'll leave that to the gorgeous people like Angie and Brad :) It did give me more of a sense of what our models feel like in our figure drawing class (no, I was never without clothing!!!). It's not that easy.

And I finished Summer's Bounty without killing the whites!!! YAY!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday the 13th Give-away!

Two more paintings to choose from for today's give away:

1. A painting done in Sandy's class that used her taped technique. You tape each value and paint, taping as you go along, like a poured painting but each value is taped after painting. When you pull all the tape off, if you've done it right, you get a painting that works. I like the glow in the window of this one but I did not enjoy doing all that time-consuming taping! You know me, can't slow down...

This one is painted to the edges of an 11" x 15" sheet of Fabriano coldpress 140# paper. It can be matted down to 10 1/4 x 14 1/4.

2. A painting of flowers on rice paper. Watercolor paint on crinkled rice paper. It was completed by gluing it to Fabriano 140# coldpress paper and painting the darks in. It's sturdy and you have a bit of an edge. It can be matted down to 11" x 14."

Post a comment - I'll take the 5th person who posts today (your posts all have the time listed on them when I see them come through for approval so I'll know, by time, who was first, second, third, etc.).

Tell me which one you'd prefer - and then you just have to send me your mailing address.

Now remember, I have to approve the posts so YOU DON'T SEE THEM here at the blogspot until after I've seen them and approved them so...don't hold back waiting to be number 5 or you might miss out!!

Are you lucky on Friday the 13th? Good luck!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Summer's Bounty

The WatercolorWorkshop Yahoo group has a monthly challenge to paint fruits and vegetables for June. This painting came from a photo taken by Janet who gave everyone permission to use it. The watermelon just called to me, and I like the shadows. I want to try to leave whites here and there, too.'s where I am so far. Need to put in the dark seeds of the mangoes and a few touch-ups here and there and I should finish it tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wednesday Give-Away

The first of 2 paintings was won Monday morning by Susan R. Now here are 2 more to choose from. Again, email me at with your mailing address and which of the 2 paintings you prefer.

(See Monday's post for full information about how to participate in this give-away.) The same person cannot win more than once, giving others a chance to get a free painting.

Today THE THIRD PERSON to post a comment here wins the choice of these 2 paintings:

1. Watercolor painting on Arches 300# coldpress paper using Daniel Smith watercolor paints. The rose is a deep pink and I tried to match that in the photo as close as possible. The top is very dark and rich with a mottle background. This one is painted to the edges of the 11 1/4 x 15 1/8 sheet of watercolor paper and can be matted down to 10 3/4 x 14 1/8.

2. Transparent watercolor painted on 140# Fabriano Uno coldpress paper, it's painted to the edges of the 11 x 15 sheet and can be matted down to 10 x 14. This was one of my first tries at painting glass using a photo from Sandy in class.

Be the THIRD person who posts a comment today to win one of these - you can choose which one you want.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today's Anniversary Painting and Card :)

I got another card and original watercolor painting today! And here I thought there would be no more coming my way! This lovely, bright, clean painting of an unusual arrangement of gerbera daisies came from Ontario, Canada and Dorena. Thank you so much, Dorena!!!

And the card is an original, designed and painted by Dorena, although her kitty, Nepenthe, took some credit, too :) Thank you, Nepenthe!! (Can you see the numbers in the design signifying the 5th year anniversary and the 20th SWAP? So clever!!!)
They are both beautiful!

Sandy wore us out today in class. Lots of thinking and planning and drawing and working on composition and trying to lighten up and be our 6-year-old selves again, working on something a la Chagall...not realistic, fantasy, flattened, playful.
Not easy! haha And when we got ready, we were to transfer our images to transluscent yupo (but the yupo didn't get delivered so I tried on regular yupo but made a mess with the graphite soooo....
nothing to show today but maybe tomorrow I'll have it cleaned up and ready to start painting...maybe.)
We worked on a grid within a grid (George James technique) and the good white shape (John Salminen technique) and then combined them and...well, our heads were spinning!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Not Exactly Pay it Forward But...

I was rummaging through many paintings I have and found some I cannot sell or put in a show because they are not "mine" in the sense that they were done in class and often with Sandy's photos or composition. I did paint them using my materials but I had help along the way. So...what am I going to do with them?

Give them away!!!

So here's the deal. The FIRST PERSON TODAY (I may change the number next time so it won't always be the first poster of the day) who posts a comment of any kind - and sends me their mailing address (offline at, I'll send a painting to you. I will show 2 paintings each Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week. You can rank the one you like the best that particular day in the email to me and I'll send you that one.
Here's what I have:

1. A watercolor on gessoed watercolor paper (140# paper, either Arches or Fabriano since that's all I normally use). Using all Daniel Smith paints on a white gessoed ground, this was done in class and I'm happy with the rocks. Do you like rocks and lighthouses? Post a comment and you may win this one. It's painted side to side (no white taped edges) and is 1/4 sheet watercolor paper = 11" x 15"

2. Traditional watercolor on Fabriano cold press 140#, a rose painted in Sandy's class. It is from her photo reference and the "fence" was put in to keep some pale colors in the background and I taped it with artist tape and pulled if off after the fact. Some of the colors bled through which I like. This is also on 11 x 15 paper (1/4 sheet) but it's not carried out to the edges so you can mat it down to 9 3/4 x 12 1/8. The white edge is unpainted paper - created by taping around the painting and then putting the tape off when done.

Each painting is shown pinned on my bulletin board in my artroom. Colors are as accurate as I can get them - not much variation from the photo to reality. I'm showing the edges so you know how you can mat them.

Good luck - and Enjoy! Times are hard. A gift lifts the spirits of the receiver and the giver :)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Nicholas Simmons DVD from Creative Catalyst

Saturday's mail brought me this DVD from Nicholas Simmons! I just ordered it a week ago = fast service!

You know what I'm going to be doing today. This is a 2-hour dvd of Nick's outrageous (in a good way) painting style accompanied by his own background music so I know it's going to be a treat. So, pen and notebook in hand, I'll be sitting watching this after errands this morning. I have a feeling this will be just the thing I need to kick-start me up again after a bit of a slump for a couple of days.

I'll come back and let you know more about it after I've watched it a couple of times :)
For those of you who haven't yet heard of Nick (but you will!), visit his blog at and check out what he's up to these days besides winning top awards and having workshops all over the country and going on cruises and...well, go on and take a look!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Figure Drawing at the Essex

Very few people showed up today. Out of town, just too hot to get out of the air-conditioned house, or maybe just too tired - it seemed the 5 of us who showed up today were all tired and groggy. Must be the heat. It was a bit warm in the studio by 11 am when we stopped.

Here's what I came up with today. After several weeks of not drawing at all, it was hard to get started and this is my 2nd try of the same pose. I had to make myself slow down and take breaks. I didn't measure anything, just tried to slow down and sight it. The position of that leg with the knee facing me, was not easy!

Artist Reception - First Friday Night

I went to an artist's reception yesterday evening for a friend from the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society, Joyce F. She had her paintings showing in the front of this very funky, cute and eclectic shop called Creative Hands and Artisan Shop in Bellevue, KY. Since her camera was acting up, I took a photo of her next to some of her paintings on the wall. She had watercolor, pastel, and acrylic paintings for sale. Stop by sometime and see the show - it's up through June.

It was fun to see so much activity, since it was "first Friday" and all the galleries and shops were open for customers to walk through. There was even a theme: pajama night. So, if you wore you pajamas, you got a discount on anything you bought. I have to tell you, at first glance, it looked a bit odd to see adults running around in their pjs in broad daylight on the streets of Bellevue! ha-ha

Joyce's show and the gallery showing her work was well attended with people in and out the whole time I was there and they had a fantastic duet in the back singing so well I thought it was a cd playing! And the dolls in the back part of the gallery, all created by different artists in a doll-making guild, were so creative, fun, and just fantastic!
Now I'm off to my open sessions drawing group - haven't been in a while so I hope I'm not too rusty.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Today's 5th Anniversary Gifts from SWAP Members

Today's mail brought me this lovely painting created by Reni, another SWAP member who is helping celebrate our 5th anniversary of SWAP (SharingWithArtistPartners), a Yahoo group of artists who exchange paintings. This painting is about 4 x 6, like a photo, with several nice little elements, including a very pretty dragonfly (one of my favorite things).
I also received a card that is a photo of one of Reni's paintings placed in the center of the card that is embossed all around = lovely work!
As for me, no painting today. After every Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society meeting, I spend the next 2-3 days typing up the minutes/newsletter, proofing, editing, getting it ready for copying for the members at the next meeting. Also, I've decided it's too hot. I've never been to hell but I can't imagine it's any hotter, more humid and sticky, or more uncomfortable than it has been the last 2 days here in the Ohio River valley. Too hot to move, to breathe, too hot to do anything but sit and sip on mocha moolattes from Dairy Queen or caramel frappachinos from Starbucks :)
I'm going to the open drawing session at the Essex tomorrow so I may have something to share then. We only have 2 more sessions to go before a short break before summer session begins.
So what are you up to this summer? How hot is it in your part of the world?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Paintings from Philippines and Australia SWAPpers!

Yesterday, I went to the meeting of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society and watched Mike McGuire paint using gouache. It was a good program and I learned some things about gouache I didn't know.

Did you know you can wash it off under the sink and remove 95% of it if you hate it while you're working?

Did you know you don't have to use a fixative on it when you're done - just mat and frame it under glass like watercolor.

Did you know you can continue to layer colors over colors, putting on darks or lights at any time?

I didn't know all that. Now I do! And you do, too!

When I got home in the middle of another thunderstorm and pouring rain (which had been going on since the evening before), I watched the mailman deliver a package to me. And this time it's from the Philippines!! We have 3 SWAP members from the Philippines and I love their work - they seem to work in bright, bold colors all the time, and maybe that's from living in the heat with the bright sun making bold colors everywhere, I don't know.

Here are the latest 5th anniversary paintings I got:

1 = from Linda P.
2 = from Suzette (Linda's daughter)

3 = from Robert (who has painted a traditional Philippino ship)

Now how cool is it to get 3 paintings + a card from the Philippines in the mail on a dull, rainy, stormy day?

And that's not all!

I also got a lovely painted card and some little paintings (ACEO trading card sized) inside the card from Joy in Australia!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Linda, Suzette, Robert and Joy, for your beautiful artwork and for your generosity!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Again? :)

Well, I took the 2 tries at the cordyline plant to class. Sandy's critique was to just start over :) She was right.

So I did. This is not 1/2 sheet, it's just 1/4. I am going to do this again, trying to keep the whites and get a good mottled background that works - and if I can do that, then I'm going to do this again on 1/2 sheet hotpress.

That's the plan, anyway.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Ugly Stages Make Me Freeze

Since I've tried the cordyline painting (twice now) and feel it's not going well - and the first, you know, was a total disaster! - it's got me frozen.

When that happens, I just sit around and watch movies or read instead of even thinking about painting.

Maybe I'm resting my brain?
Or I'm just avoiding the hard part of pulling a dog out of the basket, giving him a good brushing and making him look good!

So nothing of mine to show you BUT I did get one more anniversary painting and a lovely card from Denise in Washington! With just a few well-placed marks on the paper, Denise has indicated the rain coming down and puddles to splash in for the kids! Love it!!

And the card is beautifully done. I'm wondering if the paint was put down and allowed to blend on the paper and then the dolphins were lifted out?

And I finally got Jerry to download his photo, taken from the interstate, of one of his billboards. The billboards are on the interstates (I-75, I-71, I-471) around OH-KY and right now they are showing Jerry's photo of George, our red-eyed tree frog. They look pretty good!! HONK if you see one!