Friday, October 31, 2008


Each year we have few trick-or-treaters. It seems, in this neighborhood, we have a few folks who open their garage doors and sit out in their driveways, handing out candy to the kids coming by on the sidewalk. I thought it was a strange fluke that we would have decorations out, all the lights on, and the door open, and watch dozens of kids just walk right by. They wouldn't walk to the house. So I decided if they were too lazy to walk up to the door and say, "Trick or Treat," that they didn't deserve candy.

This year I was determined not to participate at all. But I just couldn't be that mean. So Jerry went out just before the 6 pm start and got a few bags of the good candy.

We had one little girl and her baby brother come to the door before the 6 pm time started. She even knocked and said, "Trick or Treat!" I don't remember what her costume was because her mother was standing in the yard in a short black skirt, high heels, and a black jacket and I think she was supposed to be Sarah Palin. The father was standing on the sidewalk in a black suit and tie and a mask that I think was supposed to be John McCain - if John McCain had spent the last week in a tanning booth.

I am still recovering from the scare.

Now the kids walk by the house - groups of 3-5-7 of them, talking and walking. They seem headed for somewhere - not sure where - but not here. Looks like there'll be candy left at our house tonight (which is why we get the candy we like).

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Reds of Autumn

Along the path to Natural Bridge (why did they mark the path Easy Path when it was straight up 1.5 miles???), I stopped to gather leaves. Since there were so many beautiful reds, I just collected them and maybe paint them later. (Ok, really I stopped to catch my breath and try to get my leg muscles to stop burning!!)

So these are the reds of autumn...

Natural Bridge is a 2,200 acre park that sits adjacent to the Daniel Boone National Forest. Nine hundred tons of natural sandstone arch is suspended across a mountainside - the natural arch bridge measures 65 feet high and 78 feet long. That's where everyone wants to go - to stand on the top looking over the mountains.

Smudge was happy we were back home - as you can tell by the excessive grooming around us...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Short Trip

Went away for a couple of days to southeastern KY - saw Natural Bridge at the Natural Bridge State Park and the Red River Gorge area ( Did more hiking than my back should have allowed me to do and now I'm feeling the after-affects (but have a chiropractic visit Friday so should get readjusted).

The colors of the leaves, especially the red and orange ones, were spectacular!

All photos by Jerry.

We came upon one cliff carved away in interesting shapes and the color is from the iron ore in the mountain. It reminded me of the southwest petroglyphs you find in New Mexico - but no carvings on them made by humans.

We did see some carvings on top of Natural Bridge that was in a puddle the shape of a heart.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Gum Nuts - A Whiter Shade of Pale?

Mixed up some American Journey Periwinkle (Cheap Joe's) and some Verditer Blue (Daniel Smith) because both of these pigments have white in them. Had to have a white so used White Gouache. Mixed them all with some acrylic matte medium so they would be permanent when dry. And worked on the gum nuts and some white highlights here and there. Not happy with the nut on the left - I like some of the things that are happening, though.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Bad Year for the Red Birds

I found Papa Red lying on the deck in the rain Friday afternoon. Apparently, he had struck a window hard enough to break his neck. So sad :(

One Cardinal pair had a very hard time this year, losing 4 of their 5 babies (remember the nest of 5 in the shrub by the front door?); then more of the couples after the Kentucky Hurricane came through in September; now the last Papa Red is gone. I haven't seen the female around lately. Wonder if she'll move off to another area to find another mate before winter comes.

Looking at him this closely, you can see the beauty of his form and color.

After we took a few photos, Jerry put him under a tree beside the deck.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Nuts - Reds

Got that red out and used it. Now I need to work on the nuts themselves and see what else needs tweaked to make to work. I'll have to leave a lot of white and pale color on the nuts - and will have to mix my own watercolors with matte medium to make the acrylic paint since I don't have a cerulean or white in the fluid acrylics. Again, if it doesn't work out, I'm still going to do this again in pure watercolor, maybe cropping a bit more off that right edge.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nuts - Next Stage

Using fluid acrylics in a limited set of colors, I prewet areas of the paper and put in the color from a very wet mix of colors on the palette. By the time I got to the right side of the paper I took a harsh spray bottle and sprayed the heck out the paper on the left and middle - causing some of the paint to come off and look batik. But the paint on the right side had just been applied - so it all came off - d'uh!!

What the heck, I can always just crop it - or go back in with the greens after I play with the reds next...

Sometimes you Feel like a Nut

Returned to the unfinished painting of the Australian Gum Nuts (photo by Joy McKenzie in OZ). This was started with fluid acrylics very watery and flowing. But I just didn't feel like finishing it. So got it back out in class Tuesday morning and worked with watercolors mixed with matte medium (so they become more permanent and like acrylics) since I didn't take my fluid acrylics. Well, made such a mess I just put it under the sink and poured water, rubbing the color off with my hands. And this is what I left with:
This morning I get out the fluid acrylics again and started working on it again. It's coming along, I think. It's in the drying process right now and I started with the greens and background stuff and then sprayed some of the paint off to get some batik look (cannot get the look Nick Simmons does but hey, he's been doing it more than 2 times so far! ha ha).
Will share when it dries and I get a photo (after a haircut and color this afternoon).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Losing Another Painting Friend

I received word last night that another painting friend passed from us. Floyd Gibson was a member of the SWAP (SharingWithArtistPartners) group for a long time and many had paintings from Floyd. But it wasn't just the paintings that meant so much. It was all the positive and kind comments Floyd made to everyone all the time. He was a gentle, giving, caring soul and I hope he is with his lovely Angie again and they are watching the sunset together.

I am honored and a bit awed to discover that I was the recipient of Floyd's last SWAP painting. It says so much with its simplicity and almost zen-like quality. Perhaps it says where Floyd was in this stage of his life, too. If that's so, it was a good place.
Happy painting, Floyd, wherever your latest travels lead you. You will be missed.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Dreaming of Painting

Last night I dreamed I was taking a Nick Simmons workshop. And all my colors were warm colors. I was doing okay but not happy with my work. Nick said, "Well, I thought you loved blues? What are you doing painting all those reds and oranges and browns?"


Now, my dear husband said the same thing to me about a week ago.
And this dream reinforced that.

So no more warms for a while. Going back to my cools. We'll see if that helps me dig myself out of this rut I've been in. I've been painting - but have no emotional attachment or concern about anything I'm working on right now - and I miss that attachment that connects you to your artwork.

Ultramarine Turquoise,
Quinacridone Rose,
Rhodonite Genuine,
back to the cools I go...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Three Peppers

Another small painting - 1/8 sheet (7.5" x 11") on Fabriano Artistico coldpress 140#. I just used my last sheet of Arches and am almost out of Fabriano 140. All I have left is 300# and Twinrocker - guess I'll have to break down and use the good stuff!

This one is also from a photo taken by madmum at Wet Canvas. If you are in need of inspiration, check out their Image Reference Library - all the photos are copyright free (but do give the artist their props if you use their photo for a painting).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

AWS - Last Days

Jerry and I visited the Middletown Arts Center today to see the American Watercolor Society travelling show. Very much worth the trip and we spent quite a while looking, walking around once and then looking again and then finally choosing our favorites.

I purchased one of the catalogs so I'll have the paintings to view at my leisure at home.

And which were favorites?

My favorite was by Yachiyo Beck, entitled Pomegranates, Deco. I, a painting that drew me in for its rich color and depth as well as the textures Ms. Beck used to give the eye plenty of interest. This 22" x 30" painting won the Margery Soroka Memorial Award with $500 check given. I think I would have ranked it higher but that's just my opinion.

Jerry's favorite was also one of my top 3 picks: Spirit of the White House by Lynn McLain, AWS. This 22" x 28" painting was done with masterly strokes and had such a soothing and pleasing look in its muted coloring. This painting also won the Winsor & Newton Award with $1,000.

And these next two I loved for the pure watercolor look of them: fresh, clean, lovely, something that can't be achieved with any other medium. These two artists know their stuff!

Whispering Smith by Ted Nuttall, AWS:
(Mr. Nuttall's portrait won the Edgar Whitney
Memorial Award with $500)


Blanca by Anne F. Fallin, AWS:
(Ms. Fallin's painting won the Louis Kaep
Award with $500)

I really enjoyed seeing all the paintings and, seeing the catalog, there are a few that I didn't get to see (not in the travelling show) that I would have liked to see.
If you want to view these paintings do it now!! The show ends Saturday and the MAC is closed Friday :( so only ONE MORE DAY before it is gone from our area.

If you can't visit them here or in their next venue (Tullahoma, Tennessee), then you can view the award winners on the AWS site here:
You have to click each individual artist's name to view that painting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

NKU Art Galleries

Today Jerry and I made a short visit to the Art Galleries in the Fine Arts Building on the Northern Kentucky University campus. They are having the 2nd of two fine arts alumni shows in one gallery, the other is ceramics from someone whose name I've already forgotten - sorry. Anyhoooo...the larger of the galleries has everything from found objects, printing, drawing, painting, and photography. There were some visually interesting, appealing, and thought provoking things. There were also some things that made me go, "Huh?" And then when I checked the logbook to find the prices, I went, "WHAT???" The best thing was the acrylic paintings (2) by Michael Maydak. They were big, bright, colorful, whimsical and I could have looked at them for much longer without being bored with them. They looked good close up and they looked good across the room taking one more look back. Mike is an illustrator of many many children's books and a comic book creator.

The campus was crowded with students and the air was full of boom-box music blaring from corners here and there. The sun was shining and it was a good trip.

Tomorrow we're going to the Middletown Art Center to see the American Watercolor Society travelling show before it ends this week (thanks to Sandy Maudlin for reminding me that this is the last week).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Artistic Angst

"An artist is someone who is constantly searching for something he never achieves."
--- Philip Jamison

Is that true? It seems so. Perhaps I need to lower my expectations and just "don't worry, be happy." :) Bet you have that song running in your head now...

Don't worry
Be Happy

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hot Off the Vine - Revised

Revised a bit with some darks and softer lights.

And next stage of the Apple Baskets - I don't know, it may be time to declare defeat on this one and forget about it. There are just some things I cannot paint no matter how many times I try and maybe it's like the Bengals this season and winning :( just can't do it!

Hot Off the Vine

From the photo at WetCanvas by madmum - one hot pepper. 1/8 sheet Arches 140# coldpress. I think it needs more dark in places still...

And more work on the poured painting of the basket of apples. Next step, remove the misket and put in the darks around the apples and the shadow shapes, trying to maintain the lights and pale yellows.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Java, Jazz 'n Art in New Richmond

I'm going to make time today - it's a glorious day for a drive down by the river - to see the artwork in the "Java, Jazz and Art" show in New Richmond, OH. Do come on by and have a cuppa and see some good art. Whether you can afford to buy now or not, take a nice drive and support our local artists.

I'm going because I know Marilyn Bishop (the founder of the Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society) has several paintings/prints for show and sale and she always has interesting and innovative stuff.

All day today 11 am - 6 pm.
Jerry and I did go - lovely drive and million dollar view of the river, so calm it was like looking at blue glass. Marilyn Bishop and Ginny Hall (both members of GCWS) had paintings in the show and in the Freedom House Gallery, as did Rob Coomer and Vicki Jones (both members of TriState Photo Society). Well worth a day out with a stop at Front Street Cafe for something good to eat and drink.

Friday, October 10, 2008


The monthly project painting theme at WatercolorWorkshop is Harvest - whatever is still coming from your garden. I don't garden - I have the blackest of black thumbs, which is why I paint my flowers and vegetables. But I saw this wonderful photo from Wet Canvas (props go to "madmum" for her photo!) and I had to try it. But I didn't want the background to be white so...using the Carol Carter technique of 2 colors blending wet-in-wet, I used a dark green and a dark warm red for the background.

When that dried, I wet the shadow shape and wet in there with the same mix of darks, using the redder color closest to the pepper - that will be bright red (if I get it right).

This is only 1/8 sheet (seems I'm more comfortable right now with smaller work so I'm going with it) Arches 140# coldpress.

And I'm also slowly working on the poured painting of the Apple Basket, darkening the colors in stages. This one is 1/4 sheet so it might work, might not - can't ever say I'm overenthusiastic or unrealistic about my chances for success! ha ha

Because of the pour, it has a nice glow about it - I just need to decide where I want to direct the next pour that will darken some areas a bit.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My SWAP Painting to Gina

Now that Gina, my SWAP Partner, has received her gift from me in the mail, I can share him here with you. I was proud of the way I left the whites on this to make him shine and that he looks soft. So maybe I don't suck afterall as a painter (which is what is running through my mind today!).

Gina paints wonderful pet portraits of dogs and horses so I knew I didn't want to paint that - too much pressure - so painted an animal that is cute, cuddly, fuzzy, and has a handsome face. I knew she'd like it if I could do a good job on the painting. This is one of the male alpacas we visited at Blue Stone Alpaca Farm in Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island. Loved those things - they came right up to you as if to say, "Hey, thanks for visiting? What's your name? What do you have there? Have any food? Want to take my picture?"

I ruined the apples in the basket and have started over with a pouring technique. Now, if I can just be patient enough to wait between each stage of pouring...and not touch it until then.

I've also begun a painting of a simple red pepper with a dramatic dark shadow (from WetCanvas' Image Library). I'll share it soon.

Apples below (this will be a poured painting - no brushwork until the darkest darks have to go in, if then). Using 1 yellow, 1 red, and 1 blue - for now. Will keep darkening using the same colors until I can't get what I want and then will add another color or two.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tuesday's Class Work - More on the Apple Basket

We had a very extensive show-and-tell and critique session Tuesday morning in class since we had not been together as a class for 3-4 weeks due to travelling (Sandy was in Italy and came back with several gorgeous small paintings - those she didn't sell right on the spot while there). I do hope she shares them all on her blog (hint hint, Sandy!)

We have a new person in class and a returning person who was in, then out, now in for now. So we're getting filled up at the long table again. Almost everyone had painted (our "homework" was to paint 2 paintings while we were apart for the month) 1 or more paintings like good little students. And, of course, you already saw all the ones I worked on during September.

So back to the basket of apples today (a group project for WatercolorWorkshop). This painting needs me to STOP being so timid with the darks and the shadow shapes on the apples and just DO IT! Or mask out all the whites and lights and then pour that paint on, letting it blend and mingle without mud...which way should I go?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pen and Ink Added + New Monthly Project Painting

I did add some pen and ink to the "Hobbit" House and it looks better but still not great.

The alpaca painting I tore up and threw in the round file. No saving it. Sometimes you just know there's no hope and no reason to spend another minute on it.

I did begin the latest Monthly Project at WatercolorWorkshop - photo by Gina Hall. I'll be doing some glazing wet-in-wet for this one to get the apples right - and I removed a few of the apples.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Two Unsuccessful Paintings - Now What?

Well, I'm not pleased with either of these little ones (both 1/8 sheet Arches 140# coldpress). Both are overworked, plus I made a big mistake on the alpaca by drawing him first in a Sketch-n-Wash pencil in a dark value (this pencil blends and bleeds when you wet it so it made a nice mess when I put the wet pigment on). Yuck!

Maybe I'll go back in with some pen and ink and work a bit on both of them so I like them better. Right now they both look fuzzy and unfinished - can you have a painting that is both overworked and unfinished?
They all can't be winners!

From browsing some of my favorite blogs, I've discovered other favorites - for now. Check out the blogs of Annelein Beukenkamp and a blog that has weekly paint-alongs using the same photo, created by Karin Jurick (love those white pumpkins!), and how about some photography from suzanne49?

Okay, I admit it. I'm just playing with the link button on blogger and learning how to use it! But these are good sites to visit when you have some time.

Now I need to get to my art room and paint or draw or do something...

October = Breast Cancer Awareness Month

If you haven't yet, women/girls/ladies, go get a mammogram this month. Take control of your health and get your check-ups as needed. I admit, mine was a few months past the time my wellness center told me I was due - hated that procedure! But they've improved it - now it's NOT painful AT ALL and the image goes right to a computer screen where they can see it and save it and send it to your physician almost immediately! About time.

Put a touch of pink in all your paintings this month to honor those women who have survived breast cancer. I know several, don't you?

October = Breast Cancer Awareness month. Go to the American Cancer Society website for more information.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Datura Finished + Chemainus Hobbit Cottage Started

Finished the datura painting from Butchart Gardens. Or did I? I think it may need darker darks in the ceiling of the thing to really make it pop - I don't want much green showing and it seems to show more than I want right now. May have to glaze over it again and go around those whites and lights.

And here's where I am on the "hobbit" cottage we found in Chemainus, BC. It was so tiny and you wanted to enter and see who lived there - but you couldn't - so just your imagination to fill in the little couple who live there and maybe a tiny tiny little cat or dog as a pet :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Small Paintings Finished + Another Started

Finished the paintings (1/8 sheet Arches 140# coldpress) from earlier in the week:

1. At Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, they have a Japanese garden area that starts as you walk through this gate.

2. Susan's Willow Cottage with windowbox still full of pink and red geraniums.

I also started 2 others - here's one of the datura's you see as you first come into Butchart Gardens. I loved the light and dark in this one so am trying to capture that.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Well, at least we...

With the state of the US economy and all that has been going on recently, including hurricane aftermath and cleanup, I am reminded of a quote from the Buddha:

Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick,
at least we didn’t die;
so, let us be thankful.

Maybe it's hard for us to be thankful for anything right now. Maybe we are worried, have such anxiety that we aren't sleeping well - if at all. I do hope you can find one small thing to enjoy today, whether it's the last blooming of a flower in your garden or the gorgeous arrangement of clouds in the sky.

No painting today - catch you tomorrow!